Free spirit at heart, art teacher by day and vinyl DJ by night meet Catina Robinson, known as DJ Queen B. Mom of two teenage girls, and Visual Arts Educator for Chicago Public high schools her ability to create a vibe on the decks is a passion she’s carried for some time. Her main focus is within House Music. We were lucky to have the opportunity to showcase her skills at our pop up in Chicago this year.
In her free time she says, “I have an artistic gift for interior redesigns, I enjoy painting and photography. I like spending time outside in nature and by the lake. I also enjoy attending events with friends within my House Music Community“.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
I love music and I love to dance. My love of music came at an early age, my older brother and mom would always have music playing in our home while growing up. My twenties were spent on the dance floor of many clubs in Chicago. As I began my family and career I was still able to be social on the House Music scene. I appreciate good music and the deliverance of that good music. This is what has led me into the industry of spinning vinyl. I have an ear for what I believe sounds “good”. It has been an exciting adventure thus far. Sharing my collection with the public began with an open turntable event that use to take place once a month (pre-Covid) at the Stony Island Arts Bank on the southside of Chicago. And the rest is my living Herstory.
What is a day in the life like?
I am a High School Art Teacher by day Monday through Friday. My evenings are at times filled in with my daughters sporting events, free art or music related happenings around the city, spending time behind the turntables crafting my skills and enjoying time outside (bike ride, stroll by the lake). And when I must cook dinner, I will.
In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
The coolest thing that I’ve been apart of this year would have to be my participation in the 5 Year Anniversary of Women in Vinyl celebration.
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
One of the most difficult parts of being a DJ for me has been, being active on the various social media platforms. It’s one thing to land a gig and perform it well, it’s another to capture video coverage, record a live set and then in that moment post on social media.
Another difficult part of being a DJ here in Chicago is that “everyone” is a DJ. It’s a challenge to gain any kind of recognition on the House music scene, which is okay because I don’t consider myself an House exclusive DJ. However, its been difficult to gain acknowledged as a legit DJ amongst my peers. Spinning only vinyl helps to set me apart in some ways but here in Chicago we are spoiled with some of the best DJ’s out there.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
As I continue to grow in my craft I would say, be open to advice from those that you trust or admire in the industry. Practice is the best way to improve your craft. Finally, don’t be afraid to GO FOR IT!
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I think I should say YES to this question. I kind of have to collect in order to grow my collection to share with the public when given the opportunity. I’ve personally hand picked 90% of my collection thus far.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I am excited that vinyl has made its return to the mainstream and that many establishments are honoring the craft. On a personal level I’m worried about the value placed on how many “followers” one has on social media in order to be recognized.
Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry?
There are a handful of Chicago based DJ’s on the scene that stand out to me. These DJ’s in particular have demonstrated that their love of good music does not have to sound like every other “House Music” DJ in the city. In a sense it gives me the freedom to curate some enjoyable aesthetic vibes outside of the norm. Early on in my DJ-ing exploration, Vinyl Cypher Association (a collective DJ group) has shown me support and has nurtured my passion and skills.
Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you’re listening to:
My favorite genre of music for social enjoyment and dancing would be rooted in Chicago’s House Music. However when it comes to live performances a couple of my favorite musicians are Meshell Ndegeocello and Neil Frances.