DJ Susan Esthera ’Hearts’ Fridays @ Club Cafe
Back in the day DJ Susan Esthera landed her first professional gig as L’il Sue when she opened for DJ Felix at Cat Club Fridays at the Roxy in Boston. From there she went on to stints throughout New England - from clubs in Hartford, Springfield and Providence to summer resorts Ogunquit and (of course) Provincetown.
And as her career thrived, she continued to evolve as a DJ, so much so that in 2001 she changed her name to DJ Susan Esthera and began to take guests spots and residencies in mainstream clubs.
When told that Boston would be impossible to break into, Esthera wouldn’t listen, and her perseverance paid off. She got a spot at Axis on Lansdowne St on Monday nights. Susan won the gig. Not long after came a gig next door at Glamorous Life Thursdays at Embassy and then, monthly resident for Sundays at Avalon. She worked at each venue until they all closed their doors in 2008.
Next came a partnership with Kristen Porter and Dyke Night Productions playing at Toast in Somerville, MA, which ranked high in popularity and earned several "Best Of" awards.
Always up for learning new technology, Susan added mixing and editing music videos to her repertoire in 2010 which landed her at her current DJ home, Club Cafe on Columbus Ave., a staple in Boston Nightlife Entertainment for three decades.
Next year she celebrates twenty years as a professional DJ. This week she begins DJing on Friday nights at Club Café with a night she’s called "I Heart Fridays."
Focus on divas and anthems
EDGE: The name seems a natural - ever wonder why no one came up with it before?
Susan Esthera: I did, actually. I almost didn’t come up with it myself! Clubs name their nights for advertisement purposes. I was planning to just call it Fridays at Club Cafe but then I kept thinking about the vibe I hope the night will have and it just came to me. I heart Fridays! Who doesn’t ’heart’ Fridays?
EDGE: You have said that your focus will be on anthems and pop originals from the 1990s to today. Is there something that makes that music extra-special?
Susan Esthera: I’ve been DJ’ing for around 20 years and feel that the music around 7-13 years ago was the peak of emotional and fun sing-alongs -- from diva anthems to pop originals. I’ve been pulling out the dance hits from over the years. I cannot wait to see the crowd reaction to some of them.
EDGE: Do you have any faves?
Susan Esthera: Wow, so many classics to choose from. I love a lot of them! But artists that stick out in my brain right now would be En Vogue, Deborah Cox, The Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, and when Britney Spears first started out.
EDGE: Pop music today is defined by dance music. Why do you think that is?
Susan Esthera: I think David Guetta had a lot to do with that. About 4 years ago he incorporated artists like Akon and The Black Eyed Peas into house music beats and started a massive trend, making hip hop almost non-existent. But I believe that trend is nearing an end and we will start to hear more R&B and old school style hip-hop back in top 40. This is one of the reasons why I think it’s a great time for I Heart Fridays.
EDGE: You also have said that the night will also feature drag celebrity appearances. Can you mention any names?
Susan Esthera: You’ll have to wait and see! :)
EDGE: Will there be live musical performers in the offing?
Susan Esthera: It’s something I am working on. I’d love to bring in some artists from back in the day.
EDGE: Club Café is the only video bar in town aimed at the LGBT community. How do you think this adds to fun on a Friday or Saturday night?
Susan Esthera: I think the videos are a big part of what makes Club Cafe so amazing. Adding lighting visuals to a dance club is a given. But adding video visuals makes it that much better. I actually prefer to DJ with videos than without. People really love it.
EDGE: And CC is the one of the city’s LGBT institutions. What accounts for its longevity?
Susan Esthera: I’ve worked in many nightclubs and lounges over the years. Club Cafe is my absolute favorite. To me, Club Cafe is family. And I think a lot of its patrons feel the same way. Half of its staff has been there for over 15 years and there’s a reason why. Its loyalty to its staff and patrons. I am honored to work for such an establishment. And now that I am one of its managers I’m excited and looking forward to being a big part of its future longevity.
EDGE: Do you take requests?
Susan Esthera: I leave a notepad out for people to leave requests. If what they have suggested is something that will fit with what I am doing and it’s something that won’t hurt the dance floor vibe I work hard to create then I will gladly play it.
EDGE: What’s been the most unusual request you’ve had?
Susan Esthera: "My friend is breast feeding, and her boobs are getting really hard, but she won’t leave until she hears LMFAO. So can you play it... Like, NOW?" I’m totally serious. Weirdest request EVER!
EDGE: What do you say to people that say Boston nightlife is dead?
Susan Esthera: I say come out to Club Cafe. It’s far from dead! It’s alive and thriving!
I Heart Fridays begins this Friday, March 1, 2013 at Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA. Admission $10.00 after 11pm.