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DJ Mia Moretti Curates Your Holiday Playlist

Mia Moretti With holiday parties, you set the table and then you set the mood—that calls for a different kind of platter. For some, it’s the 1960 jazz classic Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas; for others, it’s Mariah’s chart-shattering and enduring Merry Christmas. For DJ Mia Moretti, it’s a little vintage here (Betty Wright, Elvis), a bit of bleeding edge there (Florence + the Machine, Elle King), a few crate-digger rarities (Margo Guryan, The Twistin’ Kings) and even some surf rock (The Invaders) that gets the atmosphere primed for a party.

Moretti grew up a precocious Los Angeles youngster encouraged to follow her interests, which have taken her around the globe in artistic pursuit. Now she’s an on-demand DJ, opening for artists like Stevie Wonder and Katy Perry, playing festivals and industry parties and curating runway soundtracks for emerging NY designers such as Jonathan Simkhai and Timo Weiland. Each season she performs alongside violinist Margot as The Dolls for Alice + Olivia. As the New York City-based artist took a breather from Paris Fashion Week, we snagged a specially curated holiday playlist and her thoughts on music, creativity and style. Oh, and Mimi made the cut, too.

For starters, how was Fashion Week and what can we expect to see you wearing Spring 2016?

Milan and Paris fashion week were both incredible. It’s always very inspiring to see the clothes come to life on the runway the way the designer envisions them. The Philosophy show by Lorenzo Serafini was one of the collections I could see myself stepping into every piece of. It’s feminine and playful, with just the right touches of sexy. 

Can you tell me about how you chose and sequenced this playlist for The Thread?
Speaking of playful, I wanted to have a little fun with this holiday playlist. I started the set with one of my favorite Betty Wright tracks of all time, “Tonight Is The Night”. You have to listen to it for yourself, but I’ll tell you, it’s not the night before Christmas she’s singing about. This track sets the tone for the rest of the set, which is a mix of my favorite Christmas renditions by the likes of Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey and the Jackson 5, and new releases such as Florence + The Machine’s “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”—not a traditional Christmas song, but a beautiful track with massive emotional range—just like the holidays.

You’ve led such a creative life.  How would you most like to be described—as a designer/creator/multimedia artist/DJ/producer or all of the above?

I’ve been lucky to work in so many creative fields, from designing a collection for NY contemporary designer Pencey, to doing a line with MAC Cosmetics, but I am first and foremost a DJ. Music is my passion; at the end of the day, it always comes back to the music.

What gives you the confidence to make your creative dreams come true?

If you have a strong enough passion for something, nothing will get in your way. I don’t think anything gives me the confidence to make my dreams come true, but what makes them come true is moving in the direction of them every chance you can.

How do you prepare for a party—as a guest, as a host, as an entertainer?

I always prepare for a party by starting with a theme! Everything needs a theme. Even my outfits have themes, the rooms in my house have themes, my playlists have themes, and so my parties most certainly have themes too!

Describe how you gauge the vibe of a room when DJing.

It’s really just a matter of keeping your eyes and ears open. You can feel when energy in a room starts to change. I always trust my intuition, and I’m never scared to drop something that’s not working and start fresh. If you tie yourself to one track or one bpm too tightly, you will get suffocated. I like to have a lot of room to breathe.

What happened at the most fun party you’ve ever played?

At the most fun party I ever played, everyone danced, they forgot about whatever worry they had going into the room and they left feeling recharged.

How do you head off a party disaster?

Head off a party disaster, hmm…play good music!

What’s the best thing about your job?

The opportunity to see the whole world.

What do you love most about the intersection of music and fashion?

Creativity, to me, is one thing. I like to see them live in unison. I think there is not an intersection, but music and fashion are both creative outputs on the same road.

Do you have a signature style detail or piece?

I love a classic red lip. It was the signature piece in my MAC Collection, and I named it after my grandmother, Maria Moretti, because she was woman that taught me glamour was bold but effortless.

You’re making an entrance. What song is playing?

“Because The Night” by Patti Smith.

—Rachel Shimp