With 15 years of industry experience, Prerona Chatterjee, known better as DJ Donnaa, is counted in India’s top 20 female DJs. This beauty, who belongs to a family of music enthusiasts, lives and breathes music.
She has shared the stage with artists like Simon Webbe, Arno Cost, Ayushmann Khurrana, Shruti Pathak, Sonu Nigam, Deep Money, Jal – The Band, and several others.
We could connect to her for an exclusive chat session with GrooveNexus. Without much ado, let’s dive into the conversation.
Q. Your good name is Prerona and your stage name is DJ, what’s the inspiration behind it?
Donna is my nickname, easier to pronounce, and the double ‘A’ was suggested by a friend a long time ago, and I just went with it.
Q. You combine your technical and musical gifts with an infectious, passionate, and energetic personality. How did you identify the musician hidden inside you? What did you aspire to be when younger?
Music has always been something that stirred my soul. I was introduced to music as a child by my parents. Actually, music runs in my blood. My mother is a singer, she introduced me to Indian classical music, whereas dad introduced me to Western music. That’s where my taste in music grew.
When younger, I aspired to be a Marine Engineer following my father’s footsteps. But always had a plan B, if the former didn’t work out; that was to be in the creative field, either a dancer or singer. By then, I didn’t know something like the word DJ even existed. Honestly, I just wanted to be a performer!
Q. When did you finally begin your musical journey (date/year)?
For me, my musical journey began early, as a toddler, as I mentioned before. Professionally, I first touched the console in June 2004, and my first performance as a professional DJ was 31st December 2004.
Q. Everyone has an inspirational force begin with, what inspired you to be a DJ?
No force is bigger than that of music, and the power that lies within it. It has the ability to connect and heal, it is therapeutic! It had everything I needed, the love for music, stage, and of course, being a performer. I love music in all forms, doesn’t matter what language or genre, as long as I can connect to it. I have grown up listening to all kinds of music.
Life on-the-road also inspires me and has a huge influence on my music. I not only enjoy traveling but also am blessed to have a job that demands it. A crowded dance floor allows me to test new music and gives me an opportunity to educate people with the likes of my musical taste. People with happy faces, at the end of the night, give me pleasure and double my willingness to do better. Most of all, connecting to people’s lives for those few hours, it’s truly a blessing in disguise. I love what I do and aspire to become better and better at it.
Q. What according to you was the turning point in your music career? Something that shaped your music career.
Definitely, a lot of hard work has gone into it. But a turning point came after being recognized internationally and nationally. This has shaped my career. But, you know, as they say, the best is yet to come!
Q. What according to you is your biggest achievement till date?
The biggest is yet to come! But I have learned a lot, progressed, and grown over the years; that’s an achievement in itself.
Q. What are your predominant/favorite genres?
I enjoy every single genre if I connect to it. I have grown up listening to Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle, Richard Marx, John Lenon, Abba, and several other classics. Moreover, I love Hip-Hop, R& B, Reggaeton, Psychedelic, and Progressive music. Although I had heard different sounds in Calcutta, it was during my time in Goa when I literally educated myself about different genres of House music and grew my liking towards Techno. I started my career with Hip-Hop and Commercial House, and now I spin Bollywood, EDM, and Commercial music. I want to venture into and start a new project to play Underground music too.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in the industry? Whose music do you follow outside of your genre/s?
I proudly say that I have two inspirations from the industry, and both are my dear friends. One is DJ Ankytrixx,a.k.a Ankit Kocher, his journey is inspiring to me. Also, his body language behind the deck is awe-inspiring and he plays one of my favorite genres, i.e. Techno. The other is DJ NYK aka Nikhil Sahni, a trendsetter in the industry. Other than that, I follow artists like – Solomun, Boris Brejcha, Guy J, Cid Inc, Stan Kolev, Art Bat, Animalis, Astrix, Mad Maxx, Hilight Tribe, and several others.
Q. Most DJs are known for their unique styles. What is it about you that makes you different from other DJs?
My music is all about dance and happiness. I guess that is my USP.
Q. What is the one track that never gets old for you no matter how many times you hear it?
A. ‘Don’t Cry Joni’ by Conway Twitty and Joni Lee.
Q. If you wake up, one fine morning, as anyone in the world, who would that be and why?
I’d love to wake up as myself each and every day. I am blessed to be whosoever I am!
Q. Bengalis are known to be multi-talented, and now that we know that you’re a trained dancer, which dance form do you follow?
I have been an NCC Cadet as a kid and a participant in various Talent Contests during school days. Learned Kathak as a child, performed folk, modern, and classical dance forms as a professional. Presently, I do Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba. I also sing, inherently love to paint, write songs, and indulge in a lot of craftwork when I want to take my mind off work and still be creative. Professionally, I took up classical dancing in 2001.
Q. If you had to switch your career to another, what would it be and why?
Well, I do want to have my own cafe someday, and I can always include music there as well. So, I wouldn’t need to completely switch careers but just mix the two up.
Q. You have played at numerous gigs so far, which one of them was the most memorable one?
There are plenty of memorable gigs. To name a few, my first show at New Year’s Eve – The Park Vizag, my first International gig in Doha, Holi-Imagica, Ark Travels Private Party – Star Cruise, there are so many more.
Q. 2021 has begun, what are your big plans?
Have a few actually, I am working on something. Let me surprise you!
Q. Aspiring DJs on the block, a word of advice for them?
If you truly love music and wish to make a career out of it, give your heart and soul to the art, and dream big. Perseverance, patience, and hard work are the three most important things you need.
Wishing everyone the very best!
Q. Any message for your fans?
Without your love and support I am no one, so keep showering your love and support. And I wish, each and everyone the very best in their endeavors. See you real soon in one of your cities!
Q. How do you feel about your association with Groovenexus? A word or two for us?
It’s a great platform for artists and fans to connect. One without the other is incomplete and that’s where GrooveNexus comes in. A great platform for an artist to showcase their skills and I am glad to be associated with GrooveNexus. I’m looking forward to collaborating. I wish you the very best as well!
A prolific performer and a versatile artist, DJ Donna makes people dance till they drop. Catch this renaissance woman performing live in your city and experience her musical aura.