Val Garcia is a Neptunes baby.
When she was young, the production duo of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams introduced her to a new sound and culture that was different from her predominantly Spanish upbringing.
“When I lived in Mexico, my sister and I watched music videos on MTV,” says the Mexico City native. “That’s where I fell in love with music and hip-hop, just hearing Nelly and Britney Spears on The Neptunes production.”
Garcia moved to Dallas in the second grade. She learned the city’s hip-hop culture through the radio. She credits those early childhood experiences with broadening her musical tastes and inspiring her creativity at a young age. Right before her high school graduation in 2014, Garcia, who goes by DJ VRYWVY, purchased her first DJ controller. She searched for beginner DJ videos on YouTube and never looked back.
Now, the Dallas DJ is producing events to increase the city’s stature in music well beyond North Texas. On May 29, VRYWVY launches Que Calor, a Saturday night party “for DJs, by DJs.” Garcia wants to expose Dallasites to DJs from across the country. But she also wants those out-of-town DJs to leave with a new appreciation for the Dallas scene.
Meanwhile, in the first four months of 2021, she has released a merchandise line, sold out back to back events, and was verified on Soundcloud, the highly popular social media platform for artists and musicians.
The self-taught DJ has worked with brands like Netflix and Under Armour. She even did work for Pharrell Williams’ i am OTHER brand, connecting creatively with the artist that first exposed her to a new sound. She quantifies success not by brand partnerships but by the outreach and love from young Latinx girls and women, who are inspired by her career in a male-dominated industry. VRYWVY pays no attention to misogynistic remarks from people who say, “She’s good for a female DJ.” She is aware of her ability to compete against any of her counterparts. And she is doing it herself.
VRYWVY has her own standards. In addition to DJing, there is her production company, VRYWVY Productions, which hosts her events: VRYLatin and Que Calor, the upcoming in-person party on May 29.
VRYLatin, “a party to celebrate us and our culture,” is different from your typical Latin night where the “main thing is trying to get girls to shake their ass,” she says. With a woman DJ leading the night, her events prioritize the safety of the women in the crowd. And at VRYLatin, Latinx culture is celebrated authentically.
Fewer than 10 years into her career, VRYWVY has worked to be in a position of creative and financial independence. She is tenacious; her long-term plans including building her brand to help Dallas leave its mark on influencer marketing, licensing, production, and event booking. VRYWVY wants to develop not only as a creative, but as a business person whose acumen can provide opportunities to local artists like her.
She describes Que Calor as “the first event of its kind in Dallas,” an open night where VRYWVY brings out fire DJs—various friends she’s met from gigs across the country—to play without restrictions.
“When you tell a DJ, ‘Yo! Do your thing, play whatever you want to play,’ 10 times out of 10 it’s a fire-ass set,” she says. “It’s them being themselves. I really wanted to bring that to Dallas for people who have never seen this scene, to bring themselves and make something fun and special.”
Que Calor debuts Saturday at Ruins in Deep Ellum. VRYWVY plays the inaugural four-hour set in the venue’s back room. When asked about future collaborators, VRYWVY gracefully avoided the question. But just look to the success of her previous events; they’re an indicator of her prowess. More DJs are surely on the way to share their turntables with VRYWVY.
VRYLatin and Que Calor are baby steps for the multi-hyphenate artist, who aspires to curate bigger events and festivals through her own production company.
“We really want to bring shows, curate festivals, and bring those dollars to Dallas,” says VRYWVY. “To bring those economic resources to uplift Black, Hispanic, and undervalued communities. If we’re going to be putting into someone’s pocket, it should be their own.”