Earlier this year, I took my 7-year-old son to see a Step Afrika performance at the Deanwood Recreation Center. While the steppers shook the gymnasium with hand and foot coordination, I was much more intrigued by the rhythm of the DJ who played during breaks. Behind a laptop, headphones on, stood a bright-eyed female appeasing both the parents with old school hits and the children with the latest hip hop tracks. She even had Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander doing the latest dance craze.
Most impressively Sierra Roundtree, also known as DJ Beauty and the Beatz is just 14-years-old.
Born in Las Vegas, Roundtree became interested in DJing when she was even younger than my son. “I was probably about 5 or 6,” she says, when she began coming to parties that her parents hosted, showcasing poets and other artists. Among them all, Roundtree always gravitated to the DJs,” she says. “I really grew a liking to how they controlled the crowd and how they mixed their music.”
Beginning in first grade, she spent countless hours watching “How To” videos on YouTube until she embodied the people she once admired. “I started out using vinyl, which I got from one of my mentors, the Brass King—he gave it to me for Christmas,” she says.
Her signature style has developed into electronic dance music mixed with hip-hop, she says. And if someone requests something unfamiliar, “At that moment, I would just look it on up iTunes, download it and play it for them,” she says.
In 2011, her parents moved their family to D.C. to further their daughter’s career. In the District, Roundtree constantly meets other talent, she says. “It’s a lot of people who you can hook up with and make moves with [here].”
Today, her parents manage her career. “They help make sure I don’t get bamboozled by other people who try to book me for certain events,” she says. They also searched from Craigslist to Ebay for the equipment she uses now—Technics 1200—which is no longer in production. “If they hadn’t helped so much, I probably wouldn't be doing this right now,” she says.
Early on, Roundtree was featured in "Cry Over You," a music video by critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Yahzarah. In 2011, she DJ’d at D.C.’s Fashion Night Out. That same year, she was named Betsey Johnson’s “It Girl."
Climbing the ranks to celebrity status, she’s entertained stars from Will Smith and Jamie Foxx to Meagan Good and Big Sean.
Her most memorable was in 2014. “It was Easter Egg Roll at the White House where I performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama alongside Ariana Grande, Big Sean, Dr. Oz, Jim Carrey, and others—Doug E. Fresh was there too,” she says.
On the corporate end, she’s provided sounds for Sony, Target, Colgate, The Source Magazine, and VH1 Save the Music, among others. Barely into puberty, she’s even performed in 21-and-over clubs.
“When I'm DJing, most people think that I'm 22 so when I tell them my actual age, they're just in shock,” she says.
In reality though, “I have regular teenage problems like keeping up with homework,” she says. When she’s on the road for a gig, she sends her homework digitally. When she’s in town, she plays on the varsity basketball team at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School.
She’s definitely one to watch. “I will be DJing long-term, but I’m hoping to go into producing and also I want to be a business owner and have my own urban streetwear clothing line,” says Roundtree, who has her sights set on New York University after high school.
Let's block ads! (Why?)