By Robert Sauthoff |
Courtney Janell is more than just a pretty face and a reference in a famous Hip Hop song. A former model turned DJ, Janell is coming out of her shell and breaking her silence as she discuses her struggle in a male dominated business.
Courtney touches on her relationship with Drake, her former boyfriend who made her infamous by rapping about her in his song “From Time”
“The one that I needed was Kourtney from Hooters on Peachtree
I’ve always been feeling like she was the piece to complete me”
Rap songs and modeling are now behind her as Courtney thrives on the nightlife scene as of the industry’s hottest DJ’s.
BN: Courtney, tell us about how you started out in the entertainment business.
CJ: I got my start in the entertainment business back in 2007. I was working as a server at the infamous hooters on peachtree and there would always be this photographer that would sit at my table EVERYDAY telling me how I should let him do a photo shoot for me. Being that I was a PURE tomboy back then I wasn’t really interested lol. He was so persistent though, so I gave it a shot. We ended up doing a dope shoot. He sent my images off to a few agencies, they loved my look and I broke into the game from there as a urban model/socialite.
BN: What made you transition from your work as a model to DJ?
CJ: I’ve always been a lover of good music and wanting to be in the spotlight. I was constantly surrounding myself around the who’s who in the industry including rappers, DJ’s, club promoters, radio personalities etc. People always told me I had the personality to be a emcee. So I started there first, built up a rapport with a few OG DJ’s, they took me under their wing and transitioned me over to becoming a DJ.
BN: What has been the hardest part about breaking into a male dominated field?
CJ: The hardest part for me was being an attractive female DJ. A lot of guys don’t take female DJs serious as is, so being a bombshell doesn’t make it any better. lol. They feel as if I’m just getting paid to look pretty in the booth instead of paying attention to my craft. It’s very rare that you see a girly girl female DJ.
BN: In your line of work, you have to be out so much at parties and clubs. Do you ever feel the need to take a break and do something completely different?
CJ: Oh, most definitely. The nightlife can become very draining at times. Drinking and partying every night can take a toll on anyone. Sometimes I just want to be a housewife and sit home and bake cookies and shit. LOL. But I just remind myself of all the handwork and dedication I’ve put towards my brand and it keeps my drive on 1000.
BN: I did my research and learned you have some history with the rapper Drake. It must have been a pretty significant relationship for him to mention you in a song. Has the fame from being sometimes known as a famous celeb’s ex hurt you in any way?
CJ: Drake is a really good friend of mine, that’ll never change. He’s a really dope guy.
BN: How long were you guys together?
CJ: I plead the fifth lol.
BN: What are some of your favorite songs right now to play when you are spinning?
CJ: I would have to say I’m more of an old school hip hop lover. I love a classic 80’s/90’s tune. Cameo “Computer Love” is by far my favorite song to blend with a new school song. I’m rocking with Drake’s new banger “Hotline Bling” as well lol.
BN: Have you ever had any aspirations of being in front of the mic and rapping as well?
CJ: Believe it or not, back in high school I used to write rhymes. My rap name was sunshine lol. We used to sit in the cafeteria and freestyle until our next period. I wouldn’t mind breaking out as a artist in the near future.
BN:Who are some of your favorite artists?
CJ: Anyone who’s knows me KNOWS that Outkast is number one on my list. Pharrell Williams, Ryan Leslie, Lauryn Hill, Common. I could go on and on lol. You guys catch my drift though. I’m a lover of REAL music.
BN: I hear that you are a big EDM fan. Do you get to spin other genres other than hip hop and R&B much when you are hired for a gig?
CJ: I absolutely LOVE EDM music. It’s something about the beat of the music that gets people up and moving and that’s the energy that I love when I’m rocking out a party. I’ve done a few gigs here and there at a couple of spots that cater to that genre of music. I typically mix it into my R&B/ HIP HOP sets as well just to bring a different feel you know?
BN: Where can we find you on social media?
CJ: You guy’s can find me on Instagram @courtneyjanellthedj_ and SnapChat @CourtneyJanell1. Facebook fan page as well. Courtney Janell. Thank you guys for your time!