DJ Fannie Mae Sneaker Files Interview
There are so many women causing heat waves in the sneaker community. Representation is at an all-time high and sneakHerheads are continuing to unleash their power! We are so happy to be part of this multifaceted community and K&F will always push for inclusivity in the sneaker space. For many of us, kicks are more than fashion and comfort—they’re a part of our identity.
Who is Fannie Mae?
Melissa Carnegie: Thank you so much for joining us for Sneaker Files Live!
DJ Fannie Mae: Absolutely. Thanks for having me for sure.
Melissa: So, who is Fannie Mae?
Fannie: Okay, you know I gotta say the whole spiel.
I’m DJ Fannie Mae, I’m from the South so you better watch your mouth, ya dig.
Of course, I said I’m from the South. I'm a North Carolina native, born in North Carolina, and raised in the church. Raised around music. I moved to Charlotte around 10 years ago after starting my DJ career in Japan. And I’ve been really really grinding, hustling and going hard to be a full-time artist and wake up and do what I love every day. It’s been a 10-year-long journey. This month (September) actually makes it 10 years to be exact. I feel so blessed.
Melissa: If you can make it after year five, you’re rolling. That's amazing. You’re killing it. I love everything that you're doing here in North Carolina and Charlotte. I'm a country girl from South Carolina. So, we’re like neighbors – born and raised.
Sneakers and Style
Melissa: I know you have a love for sneakers and a dope a** collection, too. I see it all the time... So where does your love for sneakers come from?
Fannie: I gotta attribute that to my aunt. Shout out to my aunt Greta! When I was younger, she gave me my first pair of Jordans. She worked at Footlocker and I thought that was the coolest job ever. She had all the latest shoes, and she would give me her shoes. That was the inception of my love for sneakers… she definitely planted that seed and it's just grown.
Melissa: That’s dope. I love hearing everybody's stories. When I was young, my dad and my brother kept me in the wave of sneakers. So it's always cool to hear how people first fell in love with kicks or when they got their first pair.
How would you describe your style? And how has it evolved through the years?
Fannie: Well, it’s been such an evolution, girl. I don’t even know where to start! But I like to be comfortable - comfy chic. That’s the main thing about the way I dress and fashion – it’s for me to be comfortable. I'm often on my feet for a long time - outside, inside, and in all different types of weather, so I either take something off or put something on depending on the venue and area. That's very important to me – I need to feel good and look good. Sometimes you can be comfortable and look a hot mess. So comfortable chic. You know I’m wearing it because it’s comfortable.
Melissa: I like that. Comfort is key. I always tell people that if you're not comfortable in it, you can’t be miserable.
Fannie: I’m a church kid so, I’m not going to say that wearing dresses and heels isn’t beautiful. If there's an occasion that calls for me to do it, I would do it of course. But preferably, no…heels hurt! They’re uncomfortable, let's be honest. Some of them can be comfortable but if you have to tug on that thing one too many times, girl…go home. It's not cute anymore.
Melissa: Your style is always so breathable and versatile. Your layering is always on point.
To complete your outfit, what's an absolute must?
Fannie: I love a good heavyweight t-shirt that just lays right. I think that's probably my favorite. But I don't feel like my outfit is done until I have all my jewelry on. That's when I know I'm done. Sometimes my lady will be like “Nah, you gotta put some accessories on and then you will feel it better.” Then I'll accessorize and then I'm like, “All right, cool.” So, between t-shirts, shades, grills and accessories to add the icing on the cake, that makes the outfit come together and gives me that little edge.
I always say even if it's a basic outfit, what is going to separate this basic outfit from anybody else being able to put this on? I ask myself, am I giving average?
Melissa: If someone wanted advice on building their closet or finding their style, but they don't know where to start, what would you tell them?
Fannie: Where I am right now and how I look at life, I would just tell them to go for basic and clean. Don't do too much; make it look clean and let everything lay. Another thing for me is when you wear pants, it's how your pants lay on your shoes. So make sure you pay attention to certain things like that. Always go monochromatic, that always looks amazing even if it’s different shades of the same color. It’s such a chic look every time.
Melissa: When it comes to sneakers, what’s a good starter pair for someone who is building their collection?
Fannie: Jordan 1’s. A nice colorway of Jordan 1’s can go so many different ways. And preferably the OG highs and not the mid you know. I'm very particular, but if you want to look like you got some flair on you, put those sneakers on with everything and just start off with a basic colorway like black and red or black and white and blue – something simple. Or even the gray ones that just came out. A neutral pair that you can put over all types of colors but as I said, it is always such a nice silhouette but they may not always be the most comfortable.
Melissa: Yeah, correct.
Made in Japan
Melissa: I’m so interested in learning about your journey as a DJ and how your career began in Japan.
Fannie: I've always been around music. Music has always been present and something I've always done in some capacity. I play guitar and I've always been a singer/songwriter. My dad’s a musician, mom's a dancer – my whole family is very musically inclined. So it was always there.
As I got older, I started going out to different clubs throughout Durham, NC. And one night, it was lit – it was cranking! But the next week, I went to the same club with a different DJ who was playing the same songs and realized the order in which he was playing was just not hitting. So a couple of days later I bought the most basic controllers that I could afford and a cheap laptop. And I locked myself in a room and taught myself how to DJ for about 3-4 months. Then I flew to Japan and had my first experience as a DJ.
Melissa: What process do you enjoy more? Producing a set or producing your own music?
Fannie: They evoke different emotions out of me and different parts of me. So when I DJ, it’s free-flowing, I don't plan a lot, I honestly don’t even think a lot. It's very, very impulsive. I read the crowd energy. I'm just letting in the music and energy in the space that I'm in. The people that are there, move me to move them.
Whereas making and engineering my own music requires a level of vulnerability and transparency for me to get toward my emotions and allow me to speak and for people to hear my thoughts. Because I don't always speak. I don't always talk a lot. So people don't know what I feel. When I write, that's how I look into my thoughts for people to know what I'm thinking.
Melissa: Is it easy to switch up your set if the crowd isn't feeling it? I know you said you go off of emotion, but is it easy for you to kind of switch things up and know when to?
Fannie: Yeah, absolutely.
I feel like I was gifted with that. I attribute that a lot to my dad, with him being a minister of music and how he taught music and ministered to the church. He spoke about being able to affect the atmosphere…So I take those kinds of tips and I take them into my DJing. That's why I exude positive energy, love, freedom, hope, and togetherness because that's the energy I want around me.
Energy balance cultivating — I feel like I have a responsibility because I've been given this gift. So I may not be in the church, I may not be a preacher (which I thought I was going to be, but anyway), it's my ministry. People come and they dance and they feel free — that's me ministering. That's my calling. So I do take it seriously. So, depending on the crowd, if I need to switch it up, I’ll just do it. If I play one or two songs that don't bite, on to the next one. But that's just me honestly taking years of practice and knowing a lot of music off the top of my head to get through songs quickly.
Putting Charlotte on the Map
Melissa: If you’re hosting someone who wants to have a good time in Charlotte, where are you taking them?
Fannie: I have a new residency with Bazal Nightclub Gallery. Right now, I'm doing First Friday. So preferably, they’ll land on the First Friday, so it's a party that I'm hosting because I feel like I'm the best all around. I would love to host someone at my residency. Otherwise, I'll probably take them to the same spot because I have a good relationship with the ownership and the vibe and aesthetic of the venue are amazing. They show mad love. So, I like to show love to people who get in. You know, making a circle of love.
Melissa: I need the information for the next First Friday on October 7.
Fannie: Yeah. So we pack it out. We reached capacity. This past Friday was my first. I did a little Beyonce tribute for her birthday. Charlotte really showed out. They made me feel really good. So next month, we will do the same. I have another thing coming and it's gonna be great.
Melissa: Awesome. I love your theme. I'm excited to see what the next one is!
If you’re in Charlotte, we hope ya’ll pull up!
This was a really fun conversation with so much more insight that you can catch over on IGTV.
Thanks, Fannie Mae! Stay up-to-date with her on IG @djfanniemae.