by Matt Kalkhoff

Considered idols by many, today’s disc jockeys are virtually worshipped by
fans and often enjoy the sort of prestige and privilege once reserved solely
for the artists whose records they play. While men have traditionally held
these enviable roles, nightclub audiences are witnessing a dramatic rise in
the number of women who mix records live. Among the most talented and
popular of these femme fatales is veteran DJ Lydia Prim, whose Southern
charm and endless enthusiasm are eclipsed only by her creativity and
technical finesse.

One of the most visible female DJs on the gay party circuit, Lydia has come
a long way from washing glasses and sweeping floors at a neighborhood bar in
Montgomery, Alabama in the early 1980s. The self-described DJ groupie was a
quick study who soon graduated from fan to ambitious apprentice and later,
after moving to Pensacola, Florida, further sharpened her mixing skills
before landing her first professional DJ gig at a local party spot called
The Office.

Realizing her career aspirations exceeded whatever opportunities the small
coastal town could offer, Lydia ventured first to Atlanta and then to New
Orleans, where her reputation and popularity skyrocketed during residencies
at Southern hotspots Backstreet, Fusion and Bourbon Pub Parade. A
Billboard-reporting DJ since 1994, Lydia has since moved back to Alabama to
be closer to her family in Birmingham. But her home base almost seems
irrelevant considering she regularly traverses North America and currently
maintains monthly residencies at SBNY in New York and Coliseum in Fort

Lydia’s chockfull schedule is hectic at times but extremely satisfying for
the performer, due in large part to her love for her audiences and the
insightful guidance of manager George Dellinger. Following in the footsteps
of veteran DJs David Knapp, Manny Lehman and Billy Carroll, Lydia joined
Dellinger’s Madtizzy Productions in 2000 to help her reach her career
ambitions. Since teaming with Dellinger, Lydia’s career has soared,
reaching new audiences far beyond the Southeastern clubs and parties where
she built her early reputation. But more importantly, Lydia found in
Madtizzy a family of peers whose friendship, advice and critiques have been
integral to her own artistic evolution.

While each of her Madtizzy brethren inspires her in different ways, it is
perhaps superstar Manny Lehman who has been the greatest influence,
personally and professionally. Like the proverbial big brother, Manny has
taken Lydia under his wing and challenged her like never before.

As versatile and perceptive as any contemporary DJ could hope to be, Lydia
plays a wide range of music which she custom tailors to fit both the venue
and the type of event. Whether she’s spinning a tea dance cruise in
Provincetown or an underground after-hours party in South Beach, Lydia is
always mindful to sustain a palpable momentum throughout the night. Her
musical canvass typically embodies a soulful mélange of ethereal, lush
trance and hypnotic gospel-inflected anthems, complemented by underlying
percussion and rolling, tribal bass lines (à la DJ Abel) that simply ooze
sexuality. Known to drop in curious samples over obscure remixes during her
more playful moments, Lydia’s unique ability to blend tribal, trance and
other disparate genres have brought her even wider appeal.

Lydia’s impressive résumé abounds with highly sought-after engagements at
just about every Circuit party in North America, including, among others,
the Hotlanta River Expo, Fireball in Chicago, San Francisco’s Folsom Street
Fair, the Black & Blue Festival in Montreal, and the White Party in both
Miami and Palm Springs. As a testament to her versatility, she’s also
performed at more formal functions -- often for audiences numbering in the
thousands -- like the Empire State Pride Agenda’s Annual Tea Dance and
Toronto’s Fashion Cares annual charity event.

The power of Lydia’s live energy has been captured on two compilation CDs
thus far -- Centaur Music’s “Global Groove: Keep on Movin’” and “Party
Groove: Winter Party 2001” (the latter a double CD set performed with Manny
Lehman). Lydia is also steadily overcoming a reluctance to embrace new
technology (“I’m so drag name is ‘Anna Logg’”) as she
prepares to “dip her toe into the production pool,” experimenting on the
computer with editing and creating music.

Though her artistic expression is often loud, pounding and complex, Lydia’s
off-duty time is spent on calmer, more reflective activities. When she’s
not playing with her dogs or taking flight lessons, Lydia can be found
pursuing one of her deepest passions, fishing (“Everyone will testify about
my obsession with fishing -- I have tackle boxes, rods and reels stashed in
cities where I spin frequently”).

Up in the DJ booth, however, Lydia is anything but retiring. She finds her
true joy in moving people -- both physically and emotionally -- on the dance
floor. As her reputation grows among fans and peers, Lydia’s membership in
that elite group of DJ idols will help to break down the barriers and
stereotypes about who can and cannot spin with the best of them. Gender
doesn’t mean a thing -- it’s all about what you do with the music, and Lydia
always lets her crowds know the moment the needle nestles its first vinyl
groove that they are in for an extraordinary musical journey.

- Written by Matt Kalkhoff