Meet Carlita, The DJ Who Is Full Of Surprises

Written by Erin Cunningham

Arriving to the Coachella Valley in the all-new 2023 Toyota Prius, Carlita is on the precipice of a breakthrough. Music festival season has officially kicked off this year, and the Turkish DJ and producer is about to take the stage solo as well as alongside other notable DJs. “To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in for me,” Carlita tells NYLON of her performance. “It’s always been a dream of mine.”

Those dreams started at a very young age. She began playing the piano at three followed by the cello at eight. “I was exposed to lots of different music by my parents,” she says. “But growing up in Istanbul, I didn’t have much access to the electronic scene, so I spent time listening to other genres [like] psychedelic rock, which greatly influences both my DJ sets and also my production today.”

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After moving to New York and working briefly as a booker at Manhattan’s ultra exclusive Gospël nightclub, Carlita decided to turn her focus to DJing. “At 21, I knew I really loved DJing, and I thought to myself that if I don’t really try and pursue this now, then what would I end up doing?” she says. “When I got my first international booking in Mykonos, that was the moment I realized this is it; this is what I’m going to do.” It didn’t matter that she was a young woman entering a male-dominated industry or that it wasn’t a typical career to pursue — she chose to fearlessly break into an ultra-competitive space by staying true to herself and following what she loves most.

“that was the moment I realized this is it; this is what I’m going to do.

Today, Carlita has solidified her spot as a respected force in the electronic music world, playing B2B with some of the biggest names. And just as she continues to remix and evolve her sound and style, the all-new Toyota Prius has similarly undergone a reinvention. The always sleek, smooth, fuel-efficient hybrid is uniquely hot now.

Carlita’s DJ sets may not boast up to 196 horsepower, but they do keep fans on the edge of their seats. “I like to keep an element of surprise in my sets, explore different genres, and take people on a musical journey,” she says of her creative process. “I want people to walk away feeling surprised by what they heard, because it was something that they weren’t expecting.”

Instead of planning out the entire evening, Carlita typically prepares the first couple of tracks, reads the crowd to see what they’re reacting to, and then decides the rest of the direction from there. She often incorporates a mix of live and electronic instruments in her productions; her signature lengthy drops; and different synths, sampled instruments, and field recordings from her travels. “I want [my sets] to be something people will remember for a long time,” says Carlita. “I think music is one of the few things that can bring out certain emotions or feelings, and it inspires me to create these experiences where people can dance and come together.”

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But for Carlita, looking forward doesn’t happen without reflecting on the past. From her classical music training to her updated Y2K fashion preferences (she calls her bucket hat a piece of “armor”), her style is rooted deeply in what’s come before her. “Nostalgia is very powerful in culture, music, and fashion, as it allows people to connect with past experiences while also having a modern twist on things,” she reflects. That mentality could easily describe the all-new Toyota Prius and is also at the core of her brand, Senza Fine, which she describes as “a boundless exploration of sound, senses, sight, and soul.” Beyond hosting events across Europe, the brand will also be launching a vibrant, colorful clothing collection and fragrance. Combine that with new music (including her first album) and lots of exciting collabs and remixes, and it seems as though Carlita’s string of impactful moments is just beginning.

Photographer: Caleb Kuhl

Art Director & Designer: Allison Gore

Styling: Amanda Lim

Hair & Makeup: Megan Kelly

Talent Manager: Martha Dietsche

Production Manager: Kelsey Dimitruk

Editor: Lexi Novak