Mayssa Chehata always talked about wanting to be a DJ, but it was not until her friend needed last-minute tunes for an event and gave her a chance to show off her skills that she made the jump. She went in with zero clue as to what she was doing but played songs people liked, which garnered her compliments and the confidence she needed to buy her own set.
Originally from Tunisia, Chehata has worked in brand marketing and business development at Uber, NFL and SoulCycle in New York City. The human embodiment of business in the front, party in the back, at night she can be found spinning hip-hop, Afrobeat, Latin and throwback jams. We asked Chehata to share her passion and make us a personalized playlist for brightening up a rainy day.
Q: I saw that you got married recently! How did you pick the songs for your wedding?
Mayssa Chehata: My husband and I really got to know each other through music, and I think it is one of the first things we fell in love with about each other. So, there were some definite go-to’s we wanted played throughout the night. A lot of old Kanye West. We walked out to “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment (Chance the Rapper’s old crew). I was at a nightclub where the set was one banger after another, so I approached the DJ and asked him to DJ the wedding. My advice to couples is to find a DJ you trust and let them lead the playlist, but of course, let them know which songs you definitely want played.
Q: What is the hardest part for you about DJ’ing?
MC: The pressure to keep the vibe going once people start dancing. It’s simultaneously the most exciting and the most stressful part of DJ’ing. Once people are dancing, one wrong move and you can kill the whole vibe. And every room is different, so you have to be able to read the crowd to decide what is going to keep everyone dancing.
Q: How did you get to where you are?
MC: Through the love and support of my friends and colleagues. I am a big believer in peer networking: finding people at your same level and career stage and helping one another grow. This could be referring to each other for jobs, making introductions or even cheerleading one another internally within your company. These types of “peer mentors” have been huge to me moving [forward] in my career.
Q: Who is an up and coming artist that you believe will be huge?
MC: I am currently on non-stop repeat Doja Cat! Definitely keep an eye on her. All of these ladies promoting female freedom and self-love are my current favorites: Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, the list goes on…
Q: What is your favorite music genre?
MC: I listen to hip-hop most, but afrobeat is probably my favorite. I am still digesting Burna Boy’s latest album, “African Giant.”
Q: Why these songs on a rainy day?
MC: I hate bad weather! When it is raining or snowing, I love to listen to music that reminds me of summer. These songs are the ones that give me that warm feeling inside. That could be because I discovered them in the summertime, or they just have a summer feeling to them. Either way, I love getting myself into a summer mindset to forget the misery outside.
Q: How do you unwind?
MC: This year has been the year I learned what self-care means. The main form of self-care I give myself is 10-15 minutes every morning and evening that are just for me, that I never skip. And no phones allowed! I start each morning with my five-minute gratitude journal, and usually some deep breathing. Then I do my skincare, which usually consists of a cleanser and Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow oil topped with sunscreen. In the evening, the same thing. Skincare, then my gratitude journal and some breathing or meditation to calm me after the busy day.
Q: How does skincare play a role in your life?
MC: Skincare really is my self-care. I have had a long and complicated relationship with my skin. I had acne all of my teenage years and still struggle with breakouts on and off. What I have learned is that you have to go easy on yourself. Stressing out about your skin only makes it worse. What is working for me right now is reducing dairy in my diet, topical retinol, the Sunday Riley Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask once a week, and water, water, water! Oh, and a selfie to my husband, sister, or friends whenever I feel like my skin is glowing.