the founder of one of London’s top DJ agencies, JW DJ AGENCY, is looking to the future. The past 18 months have been devastating to the club and bar scenes around the world, not least in the UK capital, and small business owners, especially those in the night-time industries, have suffered. But not wishing to dwell on the past, Wilkins is remaining positive about the future of the industry. And she should, the return to “normality” looks set to resemble the roaring twenties of the early twentieth century, the decade after the influenza pandemic where people partied with enthusiasm after a terrible few years.
JW DJ Agency was founded in early 2016 after Wilkins, a DJ herself, gathered round her a growing stable of open format DJs to play in some of London’s most lively venues. Now a staple of Soho’s Be At One, Thirst on Greek Street and many other venues around the city, the agency was founded in order to “do nightlife better”. In a saturated market, substandard, but low price DJs were the norm, the scene suffered. At JW DJ Agency the standards are high, very high. All the DJs go through a rigorous vetting process that makes sure the agency provides London’s bars and clubs with some of the best DJs in the city. This is one of Wilkins’ proudest achievements, she tells me the agency is like a supportive family, where every member lifts the others up. The recruitment process with DJ/recruitment manager Kenny Worries is as much a mentoring session as it is an interview, with DJ/managers Jerdyah Mahal (DJ Top Klas) and Ethan Porte providing useful tips to up and coming DJs along the way.
The last year and a half haven’t been quiet for Wilkins either. She’s a bit of a workaholic and has grown the agency, despite clubs being closed. She has organised online streaming events for charity, started an academy that is already teaching the new generations of DJs how to beat match, mix in key and phrase correctly, started a house music record label (Exigo Records), with Ivan Fazio and they are a hosting a stage at The New World Fest with the agency and record label and is just about to embark on a club night (details under wraps for now). Thankfully she isn’t alone in this endeavour, not only does she have a large and supportive team around her, but long-time friend Rocky Rickard is onboard now to help out and with his impressive experience in the hospitality industry, things are set to be great in the coming years.
Of course, none of this is easy, and the pressure of the last year and a half has taken its toll. When we did our photo shoot, Wilkins tells me she didn’t stop working until well past midnight the night before, a normal occurrence apparently. She is also meticulous, and cares deeply about her clients and DJs. This is where Rickard comes in, joining the team this year, his presence will offer a welcome support, meaning Wilkins can focus on growing the business in the ambitious direction she has already set out for it. Expect great things from this team of dedicated music lovers, the roaring twenties here we come!
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