Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Former college athlete is now a rising DJ
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 4171 times since Wed Jun 10, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Sandra Urquiaga started working as a DJ simply because of her lifelong love of music. She was, after all, always buying the new releases once they came out and would make tapes for friends by recording different songs from the music she had.

"As a kid, I would always try to record mixes on the radio by Bad Boy Bill, [who] was one of my favorites," Urquiaga said. "At that time, I only knew of the music I heard on the popular radio stations. As I got older and started going out to the clubs, I came across a lot of house music."

Today, Urquiaga is also known as DJ Sandra Suave, spinning a wide variety of music: hip hop, Latin, house, reggae, disco, and more. House music is her favorite to spin and also her favorite to dance to.

"The more I went out, the more I got interested in [being a] DJ," she said. "Most of the time, I would just stand in the DJ booth and watch the DJ's work, watch how they moved the crowd, the techniques they used, and just how much they enjoyed it."

About 15 years ago, she watched Bad Boy Bill and Paul Johnson spin at the Metro. She also stood about 10 feet from DJ Jazzy Jeff when he played a hip-hop set at the now-closed Crobar—and she studied every movement he made, how precise and calculated he was." I loved watching the DJs so much that I asked one of my DJ friends to help me pick out my first set of DJ equipment and began learning to DJ as a hobby," she said.

DJ Sandra Suave has opened for some of the best DJs in the city and played in some of the top local venues, such as the House of Blues, the Godfrey Hotel, the Shrine, Dolphin, Progress Bar, Evil Olive and more.

Urquiaga, 36, who lives in the Irving Park/Avondale neighborhood, is an out lesbian and "in a relationship," she said. Urquiaga is a special education teacher for CPS, and a part-time club and mobile DJ. Every Friday night, DJ Sandra Suave is at EM Lounge, 4247 W. Armitage Ave.

Urquiaga was born and raised in Chicago and attended Delaware State University on a full-tuition basketball scholarship and played for the Hornets from 1996-2000. She then returned to Chicago, continuing her sports ventures through local amateur leagues. She also competed in flag football and softball in the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

She recently graduated from Scratch Academy—"to further enhance my skills as a DJ and keep true to the art of DJing," Urquiaga said. "I was taught a variety of scratch and mixing techniques from world-renowned DJs."

She competed this year in her first DJ battle at the Center on Halsted.

"Unfortunately I didn't win, but I had a great time performing," she said.

DJ Sandra Suave made her debut in 2004 when she and two other women started an event-planning and promotions company called B.BLYSS! Productions. They produced events which catered to upscale and professional women of diverse cultures, backgrounds, sexualities and interests. They still continue to host events.

"My first night DJing was at one of our events in 2004 or 2005," Urquiaga said. "I had been DJing just as a hobby prior to that. I was the opening DJ and I was extremely nervous. I was [worried] I would mess up. Back then I used all vinyl so I was always terrified of bumping the needle off the record. Sometimes I would even have slight anxiety and couldn't stand it when people would try to talk to me while DJing. I didn't want to lose focus. At times my business partners would come up to ask me questions and I would shoo them away because I didn't want to be distracted. That's how nervous I [was]. I remember it went OK for my first time. The advantage I had was that I knew the crowd, so I knew what kind of music to play.

"Over time I got more comfortable, but only DJ'd at our events. It has only been in the past few years that I started to look at DJing as more than a hobby and decided to devote my time and effort to practicing, getting to know all the ins and outs, and started DJing outside of our events."

Urquiaga is in her 14th year as a teacher of students in grades one through four with autism. Though very challenging, she said the work also is "extremely rewarding."

"Even the smallest gains a student makes is rewarding," she said. "My first experience with autism was when I would come home from college for the summer. I worked with 3- to 5-year olds with autism. I was immediately drawn to them and wanted to help them. I also worked with high school students with autism. These kids were higher functioning and extremely knowledgeable in certain areas. I was very intrigued and saw the growth that the kids could make. After I student-taught in a 3rd-4th grade general education classroom, I realized I wasn't as a happy as I was working with autistic children.

"After I graduated, I decided I wanted to teach students with autism and this is where I've been ever since. I also coach my students in Special Olympics. We have a basketball team and a track & field team. Even though it can be stressful and challenging at times, it is what I'm most passionate about and I love doing what I do."

DJ Sandra Suave has also taken her show on the road, as she is a guest DJ for Festival At Sea, an annual chartered cruise with Carnival Cruise Line.

"The best part of being a DJ is being able to move the crowd, seeing that they are having a great time and enjoying the music I'm playing," she said.

Urquiaga will return to Delaware State in mid-October for Homecoming—and DJ Sandra Suave will spring into action as she'll be working a few Homecoming weekend gigs.

"I have been fortunate, blessed to have a job I love to do, to be where I'm at today, to have a supportive family and amazing friends. I am grateful and appreciate all these things," Urquiaga said.

Urquiaga ( aka Sandra Suave ) will be among those in the "By Women For Women: Everything Old is New Again" female-DJ competition at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., on Saturday, June 13, at 5 p.m. For more information, visit .

This article shared 4171 times since Wed Jun 10, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Queer Chicago rapper Psalm One to perform Aug. 19 at Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
Psalm One—a queer rapper from Chicago—will take the stage at the annual Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest on Friday, Aug. 19, at 8:15 p.m. "I'm really, really excited to perform," she told Windy City Times. "I'm nervous, ...

Gay News

Brittney Griner appealing conviction
Russian news agencies have reported that attorneys for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drug possession, according to PBS Newshour. Griner, an eight-time all-star center with ...

Gay News

Billy Masters
"Steven Spielberg recently remade West Side Story and bent over [backward] to respect ethnicities and ended up pleasing nobody. And it's too bad, because the original musical was written by Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Leonard ...

Gay News

Taste of Greektown festival returns to Chicago Aug. 26-28
-- From a press release - CHICAGO—Greektown Chicago's Taste of Greektown festival returns for its 32nd year this summer with the city's largest celebration of Hellenic cuisine and culture on Friday-Sunday, Aug. 26-28 along Halsted Street from Adams to Van Buren. The ...

Gay News

Chicago trans rapper Lila Star releases new song
Video below - Chicago trans rapper Lila Star (most known for her guest vocals on Shea Coulee's 2017 single "Cocky") has released the music video for her latest single, "Sex Appeal," which may strike some as a tribute to ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'The L Word,' drag queens, Tanya Tucker, Wanda Sykes, David Bowie
Video below - Showtime announced that Grammy and Emmy nominee Margaret Cho, Joey Lauren Adams and Emmy nominee Joanna Cassidy will guest-star in the third season of the series The L Word: Generation Q, along with previously announced Grammy-nominated ...

Gay News

THEATER Kokandy's 'Sweeney Todd' running Sept. 8-Nov. 6
Kokandy Productions will continue its 10th-anniversary season with a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street that will run Sept. 8-Nov. 6. The production will feature music and lyrics by Sondheim, ...

Gay News

Sky lose historic game; Cubs fall; White Sox split
In what was openly lesbian WNBA legend Sue Bird's final regular-season game against the Chicago Sky (25-9), things certainly were memorable for her and the Seattle Storm (21-13). The Storm defeated the Sky 111-100 at Wintrust ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Trailblazing lesbian activist Pat Norman dies
Pat Norman, a trailblazing lesbian in San Francisco who became a "first" in some important city appointments, died Aug. 5 at an assisted living facility in Las Vegas, according to The Bay Area Reporter. Norman, born ...

Gay News

Market Days marks 40 years
The Northalsted Market Days street festival returned to the Halsted Street area for its 40th anniversary on Aug. 6 -7. Running from Belmont Avenue to Addison Street, a $15 suggested donation greeted attendees as they entered ...

Gay News

WCT co-founder Tracy Baim stepping down from The Chicago Reader
The board of directors of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), publishers of the Chicago Reader, announced that Tracy Baim (who co-founded Windy City Times in 1985) is stepping down as president and publisher at ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Singer/actress Olivia Newton-John dead at 73
Olivia Newton-John—the Australian singer who charmed generations of viewers in the 1978 blockbuster movie Grease and had such music hits as "Physical," with both garnering many LGBTQ+ fans—died Aug. 8 at age 73, according to media ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon dies at 72
Tributes have poured in following the death of Oakland-based esteemed lesbian writer/activist Elana Dykewomon, who passed away Aug. 7 at age 72, according to EuroWeekly. She received the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction in 1998 ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jane Lynch, Dwayne Johnson, 'Star Trek,' Beyonce, Shea Coulee
NBC has renewed the Jane Lynch-hosted game show Weakest Link for a third season, Variety noted. Season three will run for 20 episodes. The series is based on a British format distributed by BBC Studios that ...

Gay News

Brittney Griner found guilty, sentenced to nine years
On Aug. 4, a Russian court found out WNBA star Brittney Griner guilty of drug smuggling and possession charges—and sentenced her to nine years in prison. The widely expected verdict came after a monthlong trial ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.