N.C. A&T female dj grows aggie audience


Courtesy of Instagram

Jaylen Clark, Contributor

Niya Roberts — better known as DJ Lil Niyy — is pushing boundaries in the deejay world. Formally a student at Morgan State, the junior kinesiology student hails from Woodbridge, VA.

Roberts was first introduced to the equipment when she spent time with her uncle.

“He was a DJ when I was younger, so there was always equipment around and I would just play with it,” she said. “I didn’t take it seriously though until I came to N.C. A&T.”

When discussing her journey as a campus DJ, she explained the importance of her network.

“It’s all about who you know. I would like it to be about skill and things like that, but I definitely feel that it’s about who you know. I try to just network with a lot of people,” she said.

She said her biggest inspiration was DJ Duffy, rapper French Montana’s DJ.

“She’s honestly been my biggest inspiration for some time now. She’s full of energy and fun. But, she can still handle her business and make money out of what she does.”

Roberts was transparent about being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

“It has its pros and cons,” she said. “A lot of people show love. Especially the people who haven’t been at A&T for that long. The freshmen show me the most lost love. I think it’s because they haven’t been here for long and they’re not used to seeing only men DJs.

Roberts also talked about being underestimated because of her gender.

“A lot of people don’t want to go to my parties because they’re like, ‘she’s a girl, I don’t know if her music is going to be good.’ It’s always about trying to prove yourself in a sense.”

She went on about her creative process. She said she tends to include songs many people listen to — songs that have a lot of hype but don’t get overplayed.

She recognizes N.C. A&T’s culture and the songs that are usually played at every function but tries to arrange them in a way the crowd will not expect them.

“I saw Niya when she first started her DJ career; she’s dedicated,” said Deja Smith, a junior food science student. “I’ve seen her juggling all her responsibilities, lose sleep, and work to save for equipment. She stays true to herself and it really validates her authenticity.”

Roberts remembers her very first DJ battle earlier in the semester. She said she was nervous since it was her first time.

“That was the first time I used that much sound. I had done a DJ battle previously, but I wasn’t at my best in my career, and I’m still not,” she said. “I was texting my friends like, ‘I’m really doing bad and I don’t think that I’m going to win.’”

But she admits that the DJ battle really gave her an extra push to go harder at campus events and get my name out at N.C. A&T.

She grew up hearing old school songs, but she still has a love for the new school. She describes her DJ vibe as the perfect blend of both.

Niya lends her advice to any woman interested in deejaying:

“Block out all of the extra noise. If this is what you want to do, do it. Whether it’s for yourself, for the campus, or for whatever. Do it because you love it.”

If you would like to see more of Niya Roberts, her Instagram and Twitter.