Local DJ Finds Success Sharing Love of Music

By Lura Jackson

 

While rural Maine is not traditionally associated with the modern music scene, there are individuals within the community that are actively embodying that connection – and in doing so, they are successfully sharing their passion with others. Tanika Niles is a local resident whose interest in music and willingness to share it has earned her repeated roles at numerous events as DJ, including a recently-begun gig for three nights a week at Just South of the Border.

“Music is life,” said Niles. “It really is. It’s an art form I can relate to and so many people can relate to.” 

For Niles, growing up in Alexander, her first memory of music came from her mother singing country songs. “She would get so into it – she explained to me how the lyrics speak so much volume, and she’s right.” Niles became devoted to all kinds of music, which she describes as having “always been there for me.” From a young age she knew that she wanted to be involved in music in some capacity.

In 2012, the opportunity arose when friends opened Myxers on North Street. Niles offered her services as a DJ when she found she could rent equipment from Rent-A-Center. “I was really nervous in the beginning,” Niles recalled, though her nerves eased as she worked with the crowd. “It was fun to get out with the crowd and make them dance and to see people having a good time – to see people break out of their shells that you normally wouldn’t see. It’s fun to entertain and see what music brings to other people.”

Niles continued her work at Myxers until the bar closed in 2015. Since then, she has been steadily requested for private events including weddings, proms, and parties, as well as community events in various capacities. She worked as the DJ at the Happy Crab during the Pirate Festival, where she was so popular that the Crab kept her on until the season waned. She served as DJ at the Community Center at Pleasant Point for a children’s Monster Mash and the Harvest Festival, and was subsequently booked for their future community events. Last month she donated her time as a DJ at the University of Maine at Machias’s Rainbow Ball. “That was huge,” said Niles. “That’s a big thing for me. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that.” Niles’s enthusiasm is well evidenced by the organizers declaring that she was the best DJ the Ball has ever had. Her work is continuing to spread, with recent performances at Skywalkers in Machias and an out-of-state request to play at a wedding in Massachusetts.

A few weeks ago, Niles was contacted by Just South of the Border owner Antony Noyes. Noyes told Niles that “it’s your turn to showcase” and gave her a trial run. Niles advertised on Facebook and received an overwhelmingly positive turnout that evening, prompting Noyes to hire Niles for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. When Niles isn’t there, a new jukebox is available to provide customers with music. Noyes also invites the community to join in Happy Hour everyday from 4-6 p.m., from 4 to close on Mondays, and all day on Sundays.

It doesn’t take much talent to play songs in order – but it takes a special kind of personality to be a DJ in demand. “I get really involved with the crowd,” said Niles. “I’m always friendly. I always take as many requests as I possibly can,” she said, clarifying that she tries to avoid rejecting people. Niles knows most popular dances from across the decades, and she tries to get the crowd moving. “If I see people who are a little hesitant but want to dance, I’ll go out by myself if I have to until people come out.” Niles explained that it’s more than just choosing appropriate songs. “Sometimes, it’s not necessarily just the music, it’s the vibe you give, it’s the environment you create for them.”

Now, as an established DJ under the name DJ Enile8, Niles owns her own equipment that she and her partner can set up within a half hour’s time. The equipment is all high-end, including Pioneer turntables and a mixing board, American DJ lighting, and recently purchased 516 models of JBL speakers. Niles uses software on her laptop to mix her own music, which she aims to release in the future on SoundCloud.

While Niles offers a resoundingly popular service with top-notch equipment, her first goal is meeting the needs of the customers, including being willing to work with a client on price. “We guarantee the cheapest price,” said Niles, stating that she will match any competitor’s price. “We will tailor everything to the specific needs of our customers and their event. Their special day is supposed to be their special day – it’s supposed to be for them, and we want our client to feel that way.”

To contact Niles to request her services or express support, visit her Facebook Page at  www.facebook.com/DJENILE8, e-mail  djenile8@gmail.com or call 214-6558.