A Lot of You Have Been Asking
When you're a DJ, your lifeline is feeling the vibes of the crowd, connecting with one another through music and community. When the world suddenly came to a halt in March of 2020, work and social life for many moved on virtually, something that simply didn't sit right with New York City-based model and DJ Odalys, who found that she couldn't quite connect.
But now, almost a year after the start of the pandemic, Odalys has brought herself back into the spotlight with a brand new compilation project with record label, extratwopercentRECORDS.
Titled (321) 430-0707, the new project features various up-and-coming East coast artists like Nessly, 27 Delly, Swoosh God, amongst others, and of course, Odalys. The goal of the 15-track EP is "to serve as a snapshot of what this generation of artists and creatives can bring to the table," Chicquelo Smith, aka Qwehlo, founder of extratwopercentRECORDS said in an official statement. "The music, augmented reality, merchandise, sneakers, and film are just some of the touch points we hit on during the formulation of the project," he continued.
"I’ve definitely been taking a step back," Odalys shared with NYLON. "I’ve been taking a step back from social media to come now, and hit y’all with a boom." After just moving into her new house — without even the wifi quite set up — we we're able to chat with the rising talent over Zoom to hear all about her skincare routine, how she's copping with the pandemic, and most of all what it was like to be apart of the latest EP that is sure to make your speakers boom.
How have you learned to adjust and adapt over the course of the pandemic?
I honestly do not like these live streams. I feel like what I love as a DJ was being able to connect with people. I feed off of people and their energy and that’s how I get to play the music that I know I have to play because it’s what they want. So luckily enough, I have projects like this one where I’m working as a producer, not just a DJ anymore. I’m working with other artists, I’m learning what it’s like to get into the studio and deal with artists, studio etiquette, there’s so much that goes into it. Learning how to work with an engineer—finding that engineer. I’m starting to learn that [the right engineer is] all that matters now a days. I feel like they don’t get enough credit.
Can you share about the new music you have coming out and the project you’re working on?
Within this project, I’m introducing some of my artists that I’m working with on the side and bringing it in with extratwopercent. I’m so excited that they gave me the option to work with whoever and not just certain artists and bring it in. I really feel like this project is really about to be crazy. I can’t wait for you guys to hear some of the music coming!
I know this project is about to be a banger, and I’m super excited for everyone to hear it and be a part of it, and just get to see what extratwopercent is doing, and what Qwehlo is doing. I think he's is a genius putting all these people together. When I got that call I was like "what?! This sounds crazy," I definitely was like "yes, yes I’m doing it!" I’m just grateful for the opportunity.
How has this time changed your craft, and how you approach it specifically?
This time definitely made me realize how important streaming is and always will be no matter what. So I’ve definitely been taking a step back. I’ve been taking a step back from social media to come now and hit y’all with a boom. I’ve really just been strategizing how I want to brand myself, how I want to look, just working more on my brand in every sense, whether it’s music or fashion. I’m very on my RiRi, you know what I’m saying? I’m just really trying to make Odalys a whole brand. So I’m super excited.
You're from New York. What do you miss most about the city?
I miss people, I miss energy, I miss events. I miss having fun with my friends. It sucks, because even now, you can’t really be around with your friends because they have their own lives. They’re around other people and you just don’t want to risk that in any shape or form because of the sake of your family. So a lot of people have a lot of things to think about and take care of and I think these times really suck. The disconnect is weird, social media is weird, everything is just so off.
You seem like a very extroverted person. What have you been clinging through during this time to get by?
At first, I was like, “This is good, I have time to get into new things, I have time to actually produce music and sit down and focus.” Girl, it’s about to be a year—just no! I tell my manager all the time, “Oh my God, not having an event. I have to wear a mask, I just want to see people, HELP!” haha it sucks man. I can’t, I’m slowly losing my mind and keeping it together by doing projects like this one.
Thanks to Qwehlo, he saved me. Extratwopercent, they saved me, we took a little trip to Miami and caught a breeze, got away from New York, got to work on some music, and to be honest spending some time with them was super fun. I got to see my friends, meet new artists, and work on this project which I was super excited about.
What was your relationship like with beauty growing up?
My whole life, I was watching America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway, like I was always that little girl. But weird enough if I wasn’t watching modeling, I was watching like CSI, or something like that. I always wanted to be either a lawyer or a model.
Because I like love Tyra Banks, I really always thought I would be a model. Then I grew up and got to get in the world and I was like “Ehh, I don’t know if I like it.” It’s fun, I do it from here to there and I don’t mind it. But do I love the world of being in it, not that much. I still love clothes more than anything, but modeling is a whole different story. To me, at least.
Can you walk us through your skincare routine?
Oh, girl you know we got that Tata Harper—all natural products. As long as it’s all natural and there’s nothing in it, I’ll use it honestly. And it’s great for my skin.
What other products do you like to use?
Milk makeup, I love Milk Makeup. Oh my God, I love Milk Makeup. They’re so good, all their makeup stuff, their little Hydro Grip Primer is crazy. I use it all the time. And I never break out, I usually break out when I put makeup on and stuff, but every time I use their primer I just look good, girl. Besides their primer I love using their lip scrub, face stamps & blushes.
I also love Laura Mercier and Nars foundations and Too Faced concealer.
If and when things ever get back to “normal” what are you looking forward to doing this year?
A festival! Like, I have to. I want to see that many people, I wanna rage that hard, and I want to go crazy! I’ve been dying to really feel that amount of fun and energy for so long now. I feel like a festival would be crazy right now, especially in New York City, that would be sick! I wonder what would that look like, and what artists would be willing to do that festival if that was the case.
This interview has been edited and condescend for clarity.