Nylon Nights

Jyoty's DJ Sets Are Unshazamable — And That's The Point

Her friends call her “Little Miss I Played It First” for a reason.


Introducing... Spinning Out, a recurring series in which NYLON spotlights the most exciting DJs working the circuit right now. Get to know promising upstarts and subgenre superstars — before they hit the big leagues.

Jyoty Singh calls herself a “human algorithm.” It’s an apt descriptor for the Amsterdam native’s energetic yet unpredictable DJ sets, which at any point could feature an un-Shazam-able remix of Sister Nancy’s “Bam Bam,” a Destiny’s Child deep cut, a Punjabi radio hit, or horns-filled garage. Her shows, which have whisked her from the grimy clubs of London to sold-out festival stages in Mumbai and São Paulo, are all based on her mood and one criterion: “I want people to discover,” she tells NYLON.

That desire is perhaps a remnant of her early days as a radio host on Rinse FM, where she’d play demos that’d get sent to her inbox — and even before that, her teenage years raving at underground parties in Amsterdam. Now, her heavily curated library has made her a hot commodity, allowing her to launch her own international headlining tour, coming later this summer. Ahead, we chat with Jyoty about her rise, how she discovers new music, and why her idea of a perfect night out always involves some drama.

If you had an “about me” section on your website, what would it say?

It’s so funny because there is a bio in my press kit, [and] every time I see it, I get so cringey. “She’s built up on a following around the world because of her...” I get it, but no. I would say my “about me” is just, I am a big music fan and a big music consumer. And through the trajectory of what the universe wanted, I have now become a bit of a chaotic human algorithm of putting listeners in touch with artists. That’s the best way I could put it.

You grew up in the Netherlands. What were the club, music, and nightlife scenes there like?

It was amazing. I started clubbing when I was 15, I think. [I was] in a city that is a main stop for many touring artists. We have a lot of smaller venues, and that’s how I got into clubbing. I started going to more hip-hop, rap, dancehall, R&B parties. Around 18, I fell into electronic music through U.K. garage, then fell into two-step and dubstep, and next thing you know, I was going to techno raves.

I read that you began DJing by getting a gig on Rinse FM.

No, I was already on Rinse for two years before I ever touched CDJ because I believe in old-school radio. I actually [learned how to DJ] through my friend Jamz Supernova. She threw a party and said “I want to book you.” I replied, “Jamilla, you know I don’t know how to DJ.” She goes, “You have two weeks to learn. Goodbye.” And that was my first gig. I opened, and obviously, I bombed.


What motivated you to get better?

Basically ego. I was like, “I cannot be bad at something. Everyone I know knows how to mix, and you’re telling me I can’t mix?” I think why my DJ career kicked off so quickly was because I’d established a certain sound with my radio show. Once word spread that I started mixing, the bookings came very fast because people wanted what I was doing on radio in the club.

I saw you in Morocco, and you played Ice Spice, Destiny’s Child, a bunch of Punjabi hits. How do you discover new music?

The same way I did six years ago. Because of radio, I get maybe about 100-plus songs sent to my inbox on a daily basis from people who want their songs featured on radio. And then, because I am from Amsterdam, a lot of my favorite producers come from here, and I’ve known them since I was a teenager, so I have access to demos every day. And I’m on SoundCloud every day, Bandcamp. I hear so much amazing music on TikTok. I see little snippets of people mixing in their bedrooms, and I’ll just be in the comments, “Oh, my God, what is that? Put me on.” I still do that, just on the go.

Does it still feel fun for you to find new stuff?

Every day when I find an actual new banger, [I] get a rush. My friends call me “Little Miss I Played It First.” It’s a rush seeing a crowd react to a song they’ve never heard before, and you know they’ve never heard it before because either it was sent to you or [you] found it on SoundCloud, and it only had 200 or 300 plays.

I’m glad you mentioned TikTok. What are your thoughts about DJing and how it lives on the platform?

I will very honestly say that you can blow up on TikTok, and we’re seeing that with DJs. I went viral on TikTok before I even had a TikTok account; someone posted a clip of my Boiler Room [set], and it went viral. And it’s great until it’s no longer great. Everyone films their sets now. Everyone’s playing drop after drop after drop. The groove is slowly disappearing amongst the TikTok DJs. But I think pre-going-viral, it’s a great way for DJs to experiment, to play, and to get their sound out.

What’s your DJ signature?

My signature is literally you don’t know what you’re going to get. My sets depend on what the rest of the lineup is saying. What city am I in? Who else is playing alongside me? Because I love playing a part on a night. If someone before me plays all these big bangers, then trust and believe I’m not going to do that.


What does a perfect night out look like to you?

A perfect night out is an intimate venue, I don’t really like anything over a thousand. When I’m on a night out, I will disappear at one point, and you will most likely find me with a random group of people, and I will then say, “Hey, look at the new friends I made.” Or I’m completely, “Do not talk to me all night.” No visual distractions, so too many lights going on, [and] good music, in the sense that I want to go insane thinking “Oh, my God, what is this? I must find out what it is.” I like it when people are so wildly, uncontrollably dancing that no one knows what the front or the back of the venue is. And then, I don't know if you should really put this [because] I hate any type of testosterone energy, but back in the day, an ideal night out involved witnessing some sort of escalation that you weren’t involved in.

A fight?

That’s why I said I don't know if you should put that in there, because my parties are very much a safe space and no one should ever get into any type of altercation! But if you’re going to ask me what’s a real perfect night out, someone making out with someone — doesn’t have to be me — or somebody finding someone and leaving, or witnessing an altercation. Just for the little razzle dazzle.