When DJ Vivy is in the zone, her audience can feel it.
She’s focused, yet all smiles, with her headphones on and her small body rocking from side to side. If her hands aren’t flowing across her Numark Mixtrack Pro 3, they’re up in the air as she dances to her beats at home in Hampton Bays.
With a résumé that includes gigs at South Street Seaport and Times Square, the disc jockey has made a name for herself in her burgeoning four-year career. And while that may sound short, it actually comprises half of Vivy’s life — considering she’s only 8 years old.
“She’s really come into her own,” her mother, Erika Klein, said during a telephone interview last week. “She’s dancing and smiling and adorable — and not just because she’s my kid. She’s really so cute when she performs. She’s so good.”
Nearly 40 other fans agreed on May 1, when they joined her on her weekly Zoom disco party in partnership with The Wonder, a clubhouse that focuses on adventure, exploration and imagination in Manhattan, where the Kleins split their time.
Except this particular bash had a twist.
Leading up to what they called “Donation Disco Friday,” Vivy and her parents pledged to give $5 for every participant who logged onto the Zoom call, followed up by a “double dog dare” to match their donation from the young DJ herself.
Together, they raised a whopping $1,055 — a donation the family decided to give to the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance, much to Chief Steven Tringali’s surprise.
“It’s all kind of crazy and it’s outstanding,” the department chief said. “One, we were very surprised that she found us and she selected us, and chose to honor us and donate to us. And two, I was extremely surprised that it was coming from an 8-year-old.
“Once they were telling me the back story with her, it’s amazing everything that she’s doing at such a young age,” he continued. “I started telling everyone at the department, and they’re like, ‘Wait, how old is she?’”
Sporting a denim jacket with neon fringe, Vivy visited the ambulance department on May 5 to deliver the presentation check, which was nearly the size of her, to seven volunteers who figuratively “welcomed her with open arms,” her mother said. “She literally felt like a celebrity. Her smile was ear to ear.”
“I thought that it was really fun because I got to support the ambulance, and when I went, I got to see how they help others,” Vivy said. “I like that they help other people, so I’m gonna help them back.”
Her innate caring and kindness dates back to her youngest years, her mother recalled, from watching Vivy pull money out of her pocket to help the homeless, to being the first by a crying classmate’s side.
Her love for music was intrinsic, as well.
“I’ll probably never forget this,” Vivy said, reflecting on a memory from when she was 4. “It was my cousin’s birthday party and I was dancing up a storm, and there was a DJ there and she asked me if I wanted to be a DJ and take lessons. I said yes, and I’ve been taking DJ lessons ever since.”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, in-person lessons at the family’s apartment in New York have shifted to virtual sessions inside Vivy’s “sequined disco” in Hampton Bays. The space matches the young firecracker’s vibrant personality, as does her taste in music, which ranges from dance and party music to hip-hop and the Billboard Top 100 charts, mixed in with the occasional throwback.
“We did Biggie and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody,’” Vivy said.
“Whitney Houston,” her mom chimed in. “You have some Madonna. I’m trying to teach her some ’90s music and some music that I like.”
“My Dad’s obsessed with the Grateful Dead,” Vivy said. “It never makes its way in there. It’s too slow.”
Sheltering in place on the East End, Vivy is finding herself in the studio much more often these days, practicing on her newest mixer — an upgrade from her smaller starter mixer.
“I got this big one and I got all confused because there’s so many buttons and handles and everything, but I figured it out,” she said. “I wanted to be a DJ because I like how music sounds and I like how they sound together sometimes, but sometimes they don’t sound good. So you have to use effects and stuff. I like that I’m learning new things and making people happy — and dancing.”
Through her efforts, the $1,055 donation to the Hampton Bays Volunteer Ambulance will be used to show appreciation for the skeleton crew currently responding to calls during the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Tringali said, perhaps by purchasing prepared meals or small gift baskets.
“We went down from a staff of about 35 to about 12 right now,” he said. “We’re trying to honor and recognize the volunteers that are coming in as much as we can. We’re thinking about possibly putting the donation toward something nice for them.”
As published in the Southampton Press, with featured photo by Dana Shaw