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Every Friday at the Swim Club you can expect a stellar lineup of female DJs behind the booth. Sophia Kennedy—aka DJ Jem—is just one of music mavens that’s regularly poolside, stirring up the sounds and kicking off the weekend with hotel guests and residents alike. We chatted with Sophia about her style, her musical inspiration and her favorite albums.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND/STYLE? Feel-good tropical disco funk! The Surfjack is one of my favorite spots to play because the groovy music I love playing blends so perfectly with the atmosphere.

HOW DID YOU START DJ-‘ING? I started DJ-‘ing in college when I joined the on-campus radio station KTUH. I had my own radio show for about two years and then started getting live gigs. I still have to pinch myself sometimes because I can’t believe my dream of becoming a DJ actually came true!

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES? As far as musical influences, I look up to a lot of the local female DJs in Honolulu—specifically Super CW. She has inspired me to fearlessly play the music I love and to let my personality shine through in my DJ sets. I also loved Gwen Stefani back in the No Doubt days (when she would cornrow her pink hair and wear bindis)! Her spunk and confidence is something I’ve always admired.

YOUR FAVORITE ALBUM IS…One of the first albums I ever bought was Songs in A Minor by Alicia Keys and it became my favorite. I was 10 years old and would listen to it on repeat on my Discman as I looked out the window in the car. I was blown away by her talent and musicality. I was adamant about seeing her live so my parents took me to see her for my very first concert experience. I still listen to the album and it hits such a special spot!

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pool photo by Sky Bruno

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