Boston’s DJ Saucy Lady has a background as cosmopolitan as her music, hailing from Japan and building a career as a singer/songwriter here in Boston with the help of her producer, Yukihiro “U-Key” Kanesaka. We tapped her groovy meets booty bouncing expertise for the dancefloor at our recent Hanna Beth party to mark her This Miss KL feature, launching soon! Learn about her musical influences, advice for students, and where she got the name “saucy lady.”

Your vocal and DJ genre specialties are somewhat distinct… do they intersect and if so, how?

They definitely intersect, in that I generally love to spin, sing and dance to 70s and 80s disco house, funk, 90s R&B, and some current tunes that lean toward soulful vibes.  I love singing to bossa nova and jazz too, which I don’t get to play out much, and as I’m a classically trained singer, I even love to sing arias!

Who is the single artist who has had the most influence on you?

There are so many, but I’d say Michael Jackson. I know, typical. I’ll never forget all the concerts I got to see live. He was such an integral part of my musical growth, and I learned so much about entertainment as a package, by watching him.  I’m still astonished by the quality of the musical production he’s been involved in, in the past decades – from Barry Gordy, to Quincy Jones to Teddy Riley, etc. He encompassed such a huge generation span, most of which I got to witness and experience.

How can college students interested in a music career prepare themselves for success?

Listen to music from back in the day. And I mean way back.  I was a music major in college so I analyzed Gregorian chants to 12-tone and minimalist contemporary music. Listen to music from different cultures. Always have a curious mind, and be open. Without that first step, you ain’t goin’ nowhere. Because without listening to a variety of music, and A LOT of it, you won’t know what you really like, what your taste is. What’s really cool is when you do listen to a lot of (hopefully) great music from the past, it becomes part of you.  That sound WILL be reflected in the music you create or play.

Obviously, practice your skills consistently, but also play out in public. Watch the crowd at a party or a musical venue and see how the vibe works. See how people react when certain music comes on. See how the volume of the music and the sound quality shifts the atmosphere. It’s very sixth sense. And have a business plan and forecast your finances realistically so you know what you’re really facing in the real world.

Is it hard to live so far away from your native home?

Not really, as I’m pretty independent. I’m from Yokohama, Japan, and once in a while I miss the fashion culture in Japan. Oh and definitely miss the food, and my mom’s cooking.

Are you working on any exciting projects beyond making music right now?

Absolutely! I’m starting a music production mentoring and group tutorial program with my business partner. It’s called the AC Institute, which is spawn off of a music entertainment events and promotion booking company we started called Audio Chemists.

Do you have different pre-show rituals for performing versus spinning?

I don’t have much of a ritual before DJing, other than making sure equipment is functioning. As for stage performance, I don’t perform as often as I DJ, but I usually just have a good stiff drink to ease the nerve and think happy thoughts.

What makes spinning vinyl so important to you?

I don’t spin records all the time, because of the hassle and a lot of current music I don’t own on vinyl. But when I do, it’s so much more fun to me because I don’t have to look at a computer screen. I get to use my auditory skills more, which to me feels more musical. I even have fun wiping off dust, it’s a bit nostalgic to me, since my dad has always been a huge record collector and I grew up listening to mostly records.

From where did the name “Saucy Lady” originate?

My best friend told me one day when we used to live in the same dorm room together, that I’m saucy. I didn’t know what that meant but she explained to me that even though I may seem reserved on the outside, I embody this don’t-mess-with-me attitude. She knows me pretty well, she said it was saucy.

Describe your sense of personal style.

Disco glam meets 40 oz. drinking, Cazal wearing pimp with a feminine twist.

How did you meet your producer U-Key?

I met U-Key through a mutual friend in the music industry, while he was playing keys at a spot that used to be called Vinalia.  It’s now where Petit Robert Central is.

Has it been helpful to have a buddy from a similar background as you tackle the Boston scene?

Absolutely, we both benefit a lot from what we each bring to the table musically.

What are you hoping to do next?

Launch AC Institute successfully, release my next album hopefully with a reputable label, and do a European tour!  That would be so fabulous!

Stay up: @djsaucylady!