Syreeta wants to use music to express her love for life. Over the past few years, the house and techno DJ has been tearing up the decks across the underground house scene. With her chunky basslines and melodic, old-school groove, it’s no wonder the blooming artist is finding an emphatic rise to fame.
Growing up in Birmingham, England, Syreeta spent her youth training for the Olympics. She hoped to one day represent her country on the track field as a talented sprinter. One day, a tragic injury swiftly ended her athletic career. With her dreams swept out from under her, Syreeta began to find her salvation through music. Eventually she moved to London, her current stomping grounds for live music and dancing.
Syreeta’s musical stylings are just like her, authentic, joyous and inclusive. Pulling from a rich palette of house and techno, her sets are high energy, but call back to the “old school” days of disco and house parties. As a proud queer black woman, Syreeta says she wants to inspire a new generation of performers while also bringing back “the vibe of years gone by.” The HE.SHE.THEY. resident also works to amplify queer, black voices in the modern music scene. Here Pride 2020 set for Beatport also acted as a fundraiser to support organizations serving the LGBTQIA+ community.
Her infectious sets have taken over dancefloors in Ibiza, Amsterdam, London and beyond. And during lockdown, she offered some groovy sets to MixMag, DJ Mag and BBC Radio 1. In a pre and post-pandemic world, Syreeta is tearing up festival stages at Lost Village, Creamfields, Reading Festival, and tons more.
Her growing fanbase cites her uncanny ability to ready the energy of her crowd, and for Syreeta, direct interaction with her dancefloor companions is the most important.
The word “authentic” comes up often in a conversation about music with SYREETA. It is by being her most expressive and uninhibited self that so many doors have begun to open for her, after all. Far be it from her to abandon an approach that’s clearly working. “It really has treated me well,” SYREETA says of the time since lockdowns lifted and nightlife resumed across the globe. “I've mainly been playing in Ibiza, Italy, and Croatia, but I've literally been back and forth every other week.” She’s become a familiar face at event brands like Pyramid, Paradise, elrow, and Circoloco. It’s a far cry from where she stood only a few short years ago. “Music has always been a huge part of my life,” she says of her upbringing. “I've always associated it with fun times.” She and her mother used to dance around the house on the weekends while doing chores. Her father used to run blues dances in Birmingham that weren’t all that different from underground raves. SYREETA initially dreamed of becoming an athlete, running the 400-meter race for England. That all changed when she was sidelined by injuries. She underwent three operations on her knees and then suffered an Achilles tendon injury on top of that. “I realized it was not going to go down well unless I quit while I was ahead. It was devastating because that was all I wanted to do,” she says. “So the fact that I found my career in music—because that's where I went to for my happy times, to feel better—I feel like it was just meant to be.” She first learned to play records at a house party and soon afterward bought DJ gear so she could practice on her own time. A month later, she was invited to open the room at the grand opening of 512 London in the Dalston area of the city. More and more gigs would follow as time went by. A major turning point came when SYREETA met BBC Radio 1 presenter Jaguar after they were both tapped to perform for Mixmag and Smirnoff’s Equalising Music initiative. "Jaguar is an absolute babe," SYREETA says. "I love her to bits." At the time, Jaguar was hosting a show on Reprezent Radio and brought SYREETA on to deliver a guest mix. "After she invited me onto her Reprezent show, I invited her to play at a party that I was putting on, and our relationship just blossomed," SYREETA says. "We've just become closer and closer—I think I can say we are really good friends." Two years later, Jaguar invited her to International Music Summit in Ibiza, where she attended a panel by Steven Braines and Sophia Kearney of the queer party event brand, record label, and fashion label HE.SHE.THEY. SYREETA spoke to Steven and Sophia after the talk and they hit it off immediately. “We were chatting for about 45 minutes and Braines invited me to HE.SHE.THEY’s party that same weekend, their first birthday at fabric,” she says. “And yeah, I got the memo and I came all HE.SHE.THEYed out—I came in chaps—and I think that that was the start of a blossoming relationship!” HE.SHE.THEY actively champion artists from marginalized communities, taking great pride in creating safe spaces for clubbers from all walks of life. As a queer, female musician of color, this struck a deep chord with SYREETA. Before long she became a resident of the collective, performing at HE.SHE.THEY events at superclubs like Watergate in Berlin and fabric in London. "These are clubs where I wouldn't have played at that stage in my career," SYREETA says. "So I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity." Truly, though, SYREETA’s skills as a selector speak for themselves. She digs deep to only play records with which she connects strongly, carving out a niche defined by high-energy cuts packed to the brim with danceable grooves. As house music sees a period of renewed mainstream interest, it is this authentic and decidedly underground attitude that makes her stand out among the rest of the DJs.