You've heard them on air. Maybe you've seen them post on facebook. But who are they really? Staff writer Leila Srouji sits down with INHAILER's best to find out what makes them tick. It's time to Meet the DJ!
When I opened my moleskin to write about one of our DJ’s, Chanell Karr, it seemed appropriate to drop a needle on Greensky Bluegrass on my record player. Why? Well, let's take a little trip down some dirt roads and back in time to find out where Chanell came from (cue the banjos!).
Growing up on a tobacco farm in NKY surrounded by horses and cows, dirtbikes and quads, and crickets and ticks alike, bluegrass, folk, country, and rock enveloped Chanell's childhood. Her father can pick up just about any string instrument and play it near perfection. "Music has been an essential part of my life forever," she insisted.
She remembers singing Janis Joplin at the top of her lungs until she just about broke the cassette from listening over and over again, but "by middle school I discovered music on my own terms and really got into bands like Fall Out Boy," she noted. Needless to say, she hasn't really looked back since she found the pop-punk scene. "We all had that phase, I just continue to live it a little," Chanell added. Considering the variety and wholesome passion for music that she grew up with and immersed herself in, Chanell’s musical resume suitably reflects her professional and extracurricular one: impressively stacked.
Throughout high school, Chanell was always involved in school clubs and councils; on top of her busy school life, those were the years she started going to local shows. "Visiting Mad Hatter (RIP!) every weekend," she said, "and going to Southgate House, Bogart's, and more... these were my formative years that helped me get a glimpse into our amazing music community in Greater Cincinnati."
College reinforced everything Chanell what finding out about herself up to that point: that she is a go-getter, a walking music and culture encyclopedia, and incredibly capable young woman. She earned degrees in PR and Communication studies at NKU, but her specialty was booking shows on campus as part of the activities programming board. "I loved this shit. Bringing cool bands to the school and getting students excited about them,” she said.
A self-proclaimed sucker for anything antique or thrift-able, Chanell sure has a love for the past. If she isn't adoring over Molly Ringwald or John Hughes she could be caught adding more care bears, barbies, or pins and buttons for her existing collection. Maybe that's why she fits in so well at INHAILER. Radio as it used to be has shaped music’s future: soaring and full of potential and hope. Chanell is certainly keen on potential... and full of it herself. You've got to love this girl's enthusiasm for life! When you take a look at what she does for a living, and just for the sake of living, her eccentricity and eclectic nature doesn't stop short!
By day, Chanell is the event and marketing coordinator at Cincinnati CityBeat, where she helps plan and promote events. "We team up with organizations to bring fun and life into the community through events," she said, "We give back while teaming up with nonprofits, and I get to collaborate with talented musicians, artists, chefs, bartenders,volunteers, and more.” When I asked Chanell about her professional life before CityBeat, she asked if being a Kentucky Colonel counts. "It doesn’t," she answered herself, "But it sounds cool. Feel free to call me Colonel Coco."
By night, Chanell is DJ Coco. Recently, Chanell has been nostalgic for her childhood and began spinning her extensive, much-loved collection of records as a vinyl DJ part-time. She also manages Beloved Youth, a Cincinnati-based band (who you can hear right here on INHAILER!). And of course, last but certainly not least (in fact, we like to think the best), Chanell graces the interweb airwaves as an INHAILER DJ!
As Crosby, Stills, and Nash spin around my record player, I can't help but think Chanell might just be at home listening to one of her favorite records right now, too. The chances are, well, likely, but it's more of a sentimental thought. Peering through Chanell's life lens for an hour or two will do that to you, you know? If you don't, that's okay! She'll spin you her favorites when you click play on your INHAILER app and enter the riveting world Chanell sees through music’s ears!
Catch Chanell Karr, or as she's better known, DJ Coco, every Friday afternoon from 3 to 7 PM on INHAILER Radio.