One Nation Under a Groove: DJ AD

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by Joy Doss | photo by Micah Partain

Who: AD Davis b/k/a DJ AD
From: White (Black)haven!
Single or Partnered: Partnered
Day Job: Personal trainer and fitness instructor
Whatcha listening to: I’m not a newer rap fan. I’ve reverted back to my R&B roots. I need mellow stuff unless I’m working out. It’s been very soulful around here.

BUT who is the lady behind the turntables? Our friend Kevin introduced us to her parties. And, when you see her at Mollie Fontaine’s, Zebra Lounge or many of the other (pre-COVID) parties at where she’s become a staple, DJ AD is all smiles, good vibes and good music. She’s a tiny dynamo, as my Big Mama would say, with big energy. It’s contagious!

During our chat she says this, “One thing I definitely would like to make known. I’m not big on politics, religion, or anything that creates division. One of the main reasons I have such a love for music is that it is the one thing that I have found that brings people together. From my spin class to the dance floor, the one thing I always say to myself, ‘These people probably wouldn’t interact with each other in the real world.’ But when the music drops, we all become one.”

That pretty much sums it up right there! DJ AD is a unifier. But beyond that, she is a daughter who is close to her mom. She’s a woman who loves her partner of 6 years (Kristen). And she is a fitness professional with a full roster of personal training clients at Germantown Athletic Club where she also leads boot camp and teaches spin class.

Believe it or not, her spin classes were the springboard to her DJ career 6 short years ago. She’s so comfortable behind the turntables, I thought she’d been at it for years! Unbeknownst to her, she started her second career as a DJ by making her own mixes for spin class, which in fact was and is one of the most popular classes at the gym. “If it’s a jam it’s going on there!” she says. One day Kristen, who would eventually become her life partner, came to one of her spin classes and asked her who did her music. When AD told her she did her own that’s when Kristen said, “You oughta be a DJ.” And boom, DJ AD was born. “It was like an accelerated course in one year,” she says. It came so naturally to her. She got hired to play a 50th birthday party, then another party then another and she hasn’t had a single free weekend since, including corporate gigs with FedEx and St. Jude. “Word of mouth is the best marketing, better than anything I could have ever done,” she says humbly.

Fast forward to the DJ AD merch (I love my tank by the way!), which is also Kristen’s doing. I swear, this woman is 10 toes down for AD. So listen, if you can’t be my number one fan like this, then throw the whole thing away! But I digress.

So, AD was playing around one day and took a selfie with her hair picked out before going to the hair salon. She texted it to Kristen who in turn printed one out for herself. “I saw it and said, ‘is that me?’ Then Kristen wore it to the gym. Everyone at the gym wanted one. So we made a website [to keep up with the demand].” And here she is with her face and fro adorning the torsos of many-a fashionable Memphian including moi. She continues, “Everything was by accident, butIgettodothetwothingsI love.” A symphony of serendipity!

Her road to being a fitness professional was also a perfect storm of events. While she played basketball her entire life, she was overweight. When she got to high school, the coach told her she had to slim down a little bit. “I started lifting in high school and loved it!” Her friends took notice and commented on the “guns” and the thighs. And not to mention – her words- she was in fact bringing the boys to the yard. “I was A-Double-D in school!” I’m sure that didn’t hurt the cause! Regardless, she continued her fitness journey in college as she began eating healthier and working in the gym. As luck would have it her boss saw her potential and encouraged her to get certified. That was 20 years ago and she hasn’t looked back since.

Last but not least, though AD is out and proud, she’s not exactly the high key type. “I’ve always been the type of person that doesn’t scream it or wear it on my forehead but if you’re down with me, you’re gonna know. We live our lives but we don’t scream it. I kind of prefer it that way.”

So that’s who AD is! She’s basically a “I am who I am- love me or leave me” sorta gal. But you kinda gotta love her!

Follow on Instagram: @djad901
Merch: gearup901.com