Local Current Blog

Jennie Lawless signs off as Local Current’s October DJ in Residence

Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR

The chance to take over the mic as Local Current DJ-in-Residence could not have come at a better time: this is the first month of the rest of my life as a full-time musician.

At the beginning of October I left a stable, unionized job—a job I loved—to pursue the unpredictable music career I’ve been dreaming of my entire life. I will miss having a job dedicated to social justice, but my dedication will not end with me leaving my post. I’m in this fight for the long haul, y’all. For now though: starving artist lifestyle, come at me.

Walking up to the MPR building and into The Current studios was a bit surreal. I’ve been listening to The Current since I first moved to Minneapolis from the Chicago area in 2012, and the Morning Show was a huge part of my daily commute. It took a lot of strength to keep my cool when I ran into Jill Riley by the water cooler on day one.

I know Minnesota is the land of 10,000 bands, but I was still floored by how many artists I encountered for the first time on my quest to fill the nearly 24 hours of local music programming this month. My favorite part was putting together sets of themed music. One highlight was “Minnesota Music I Listened to Before I Moved to Minnesota” (Prince, Bob Dylan, Low, Dark Dark Dark, Tapes N’ Tapes), and I relished in presenting a full two-hour set of music for the theme, “Minnesota Woman.”

For my final show on Oct. 30th, my theme for the noon hour is “Decentering the Narrative: Artists of Color in the Twin Cities Music Scene.” As a white woman in a very indie-dominated music scene, I think it’s extremely important to participate in a dialogue about race in commonly white spaces. By decentering the white perspective and highlighting the richness that artists of color bring to the Minnesota music scene, I hope we can start to move toward a more progressive and racially diverse arts community.

This brief introduction to working in radio was incredibly illuminating and made me truly appreciate how much work goes into the programming at a station like The Current, which supports so much local talent. I now feel much more connected to past and present Minnesota music and have come away with a mountain of new favorite artists. Thanks so much to Kelsey Brannan, David Safar, all my DJ-in-Residence predecessors, and everyone at The Current for this opportunity.

Our monthly DJ in Residence hosts our Local Current stream of Minnesota music every Friday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Jennie Lawless’s last shift will be today, Oct. 30; stay tuned for next month’s DJ in Residence, Mark Mallman.