curated | zengxrl

The beating heart of Lisbon’s nightlife lies at the decks of its hottest DJs. Rising artist ZenGxrl brings her fusion sound to the bustling scene, blending Angolan rhythms with Afrobeats, South African Amapiano, Brazilian Baile Funk and Hip Hop. Her diverse taste reflects the openness to experimentation of the scene that raised her. Ahead of her set at Home Again festival in Berlin, she reveals how began exploring DJing during the pandemic and puts together a Curated Spotify playlist that describes her best.

Hey ZenGxrl, what are you up to right now?

Hey! At the moment I’m exploring new music for sets, researching the Angolan music scene and working on some music production.

Can you share how you first got into DJing?

The seed of curiosity was always there. When I was younger, I began learned to play the guitar. Initially, [I was] self-taught through YouTube and a chord book my mum had. I later enrolled in guitar lessons. I lost touch with it since I had to focus on my studies. Then I discovered Soundcloud where I found a whole new world of producers and DJs. I started going out to parties where DJs would provide the vibes going from genre to genre. I thought that was beautiful and it was something I would like to learn however I didn’t know where to start.  A few months before the pandemic, one of my friends taught me the basics. I got my first DJ gig and I haven’t looked back.

How do you think growing around Lisbon influenced the style of music that you play?

I find the creative scene here to be very dynamic and vibrant , so it definitely influences the way I play from style to technique. It provides a safe space where artistically I have the freedom to explore and experiment without having the pressure of conforming into a single box or formula.Being surrounded by other creatives whether they’re in music, photography or even writing also makes a difference, as it sparks ideas and inevitably drives my creative flow. Inspiration can come from anything at any moment. Lisbon has so many people with different backgrounds, that also helps me to understand what makes sense to me and how I can incorporate those elements into my work, giving it my own twist.

What do you enjoy most about Berlin crowds?

Berlin crowds have a very diverse taste when it comes to music, so they are open to listening to sonorities that they don’t usually hear. Every time I play there, I end up playing tracks that I think to myself, ‘people are not gonna like this one’ and surprisingly, people enjoy it. It’s such a good feeling when that happens.

What excites you most about the upcoming summer season?

Mostly excited about playing afternoon DJ sets, as the majority of my gigs are at nightclubs. The sun being out and the weather being nice is gonna boost my creativity, so I’m excited to see what comes with it.

Describe your personal style in three words.

Fun, comfortable and me!

What is the most precious thing in your wardrobe?

A pair of floral-jacquard mules from Yume Yume that I love.

Which living person do you most admire? 

I admire many people for different reasons. In general the people I choose to surround myself with, like my family or friends.

If you could play any venue, which one would it be? 

KOKO Electronic and Dekmantel Festival. But hey, I will be playing at the same party – HomeAgain Festival – as Dekmantel Soundsystem in Berlin soon, so this is already a step towards that. 

Where are you happiest?

When the sun is out or when I’m at my childhood’s beach.

What is your comfort meal?

Right now my family’s home made lasagnas.

Who would play you in the story of your life?

As I am still young I think someone closer to my age, as they probably can relate to some thoughts I might have right now, so either Yara Shahidi or Zendaya.

This Schon! online exclusive has been produced by

photography. Pedro Leote
talent. Zengxrl
words. Shama Nasinde

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