Meet DJ Gabrielle Kwarteng
Gabrielle can be found at Soho Grand spinning a very special collection of curated vinyl. As one of the hotel’s resident deejays, we wanted to share a little more about who she is and what inspires her flair for sound.
New York City native, Gabrielle Kwarteng has always taken the role as a music curator for as long as she can remember. As a child, she began building her sonic taste buds with her parents’ cassette collection of Ghanaian highlife, Nigerian Afrobeat, American disco, soul, and jazz just to name a few. She enjoyed controlling the room through these musical waves, which eventually transpired into her DJ career. Having also lived in two other artistic capitals, London and Paris, and traveled to a lot more, Gabrielle has amassed a music collection – vinyl and digitally – that stems globally.
Her DJ sets are rarely one note, as she seamlessly weaves in the most obscure genres, including Japanese disco, Brazilian funk, Ethiopian jazz, with music’s most recognizable disco, funk, and soul hits.
What’s on your current playlist?
GK: My current playlist is pretty eclectic and ranges from psychedelic instrumental rock like Khruangbin’s Como Me Quieres to Ethel Beatty’s soulful I Know You Care to Peggy Gou’s latest house track Shero. I’d say that it’s close to impossible to find just one type of genre on my playlist.
Your Soho Grand playlist?
GK: I have a few records that I tend to pack almost religiously for my Soho Grand sets, and they include Deee-Lite’s What Is Love, Lucas Arruda’s Melt The Night, Marta Acuna’s Dance Dance Dance (which is probably one of my favorite songs ever), and Jo Bisso’s Love Somebody (Danny Krivit edit).
Tell us about your relationship with Soho Grand?
GK: One of my favorite things about DJing at the Soho Grand is the energy that fills the room once I crank the music up, which I find to be a way to announce to the patrons that I’m there to get the party started. Grand Bar and Lounge is one of the most beautiful spaces that I’ve ever DJed in and it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of the space just by creating an ambiance through musical vibrations.
What’s your personal soundtrack to NYC?
GK: I’d say it’d have to be between Meli’sa Morgan’s Still In Love With You (House Version) and Khruangbin’s second album, Con Todo El Mundo. I’m a native New Yorker and I’ve always found the city’s chaos and non-stop upbeat energy to be a part of my personality and nature and house music, in my opinion, perfectly encapsulates this. Still In Love With You (House Version) is sort of like my catwalk track because NYC is definitely one long catwalk. On the other hand, I also need to balance out this perpetual chaos with tranquility and a slower pace, and Khruangbin’s latest melodic album does that for me. It’s one of the most meditative projects I’ve ever heard.
What’s your favorite album?
GK: I just have too many and I’d be here for hours trying to decide.
When you’re not spinning vinyl at the hotel, what are you doing?
GK: Listening to records at home, record shopping, working out, trying new vegan restaurants and dishes, and reading.