This month, Lina Bradford celebrates twenty years spinning tasty beats behind the turntables.
Known for music that is soulful, beautiful, fun and happy, Lina regularly brightens global dance floors from New York City to Fire Island Pines and across the pond in several European cities.
It all started on a dare.
“DJs TPRO, Frankie Knuckles, Carlos Pertrus, Larry Levan, Junior Vasquez and Steve Travolta thought it would be a great idea for me to try my hand at DJing,” she recalls.
They hooked Lina up with a guest spot at the now defunct Club Life on Bleeker Street. That first night Lina threw down a tossed salad of hits from Nine Inch Nails to Murk and the crowd went wild. “I played music that spoke to me and hit my soul on every level,” she continues. “It was all very organic and spiritual. I remember after the show, someone in the crowd asking me how I managed to blend such powerful tracks from all different genres and eras. At the time, I didn’t know myself!” But Lina knows now. “The wonderful part about taste is you either have it or you don't, Sugar,” she laughs.
“I’m from the school that teaches how every artist has a story to tell,” continues Lina Bradford from her home in New York. “As DJ’s, we’re all on a journey and it’s our job to share it with the crowd from the first song to the last.”
Lina’s story starts in New York City.
She grew up across the street from the famed Carnegie Hall on the Upper West Side. Her entertainment career launched at 11 years old as a dancer, performing in several companies throughout the city. Those moves she learned on the dance stage would become a part of her signature style when she began spinning the dance floors of NYC’s gritty East Village scene. “I came in at the tale end of New York’s golden nightlife years,” she explains. “It was pre-Guilliani, before 9/11. It was a miraculous time and we knew it. What we didn’t know was that it would soon come to an end.”
The turn of the millennium was a dark time in New York, but Lina would come to rediscover her magic on the island of Fire Island Pines, embarking on a ten year residency where she created such memorable nights as Lina's Lounge and Twirlina; all with completely different sounds.
Fire Island Pines
“So many in the younger generation assume I got my start on Fire Island,” she reflects. “They have no idea about my long history in New York. I don’t mind, though, it was lovely to return every summer to that enchanted beacon of light and become a part of the island’s legacy. So many legendary artists have spun historic nights on the island. I count myself blessed to be counted among them.”
In addition to her stateside gigs, Lina has made a name for herself throughout Europe, regularly performing Sardinia, St Tropez and Paris. She has also found success in Hollywood, appearing in several movies, including Wigstock: The Movie, Always Something Better and Woo (starring Jada Pinkett Smith and Tommy Davidson).
Through the years, she has earned several career awards and including a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Glammys. “It’s hilarious to be given a lifetime achievement award when I feel like I’m just beginning to hit my stride,” she says. “I’ve never felt more sexy and solidified in my life. This is by far the most beautiful spot I've been in.”
And what a beautiful spot it is.
Lina Bradford currently hosts her own internet talk show, In The Dollhouse With Lina. The show starts filming its third season this summer, but has already welcomed such notable guests as Carson Kressley, Robert Verdi, Candis Cayne, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Additionally, Lina hosts a bi-monthly residency at the Gilded Lily. She calls it her church. “I just love all of the beautiful people that come and support and really appreciate great music and having a good time.”
There is a serious side to Lina too. She prides herself on her advocacy work. She is a board member of GMHC, the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. She is also a global ambassador at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a leading professional provider of social support and programming for LGBTQ youth.
“We live in a day and age when we don't have the luxury to not be proactive,” she explains. “We in the LGBTQ community have to speak up. We have to make sure we are heard. I urge the younger generation to continue the hard advocacy that has allowed them to live the life they live today and step up now. It’s been a blessed twenty years but we must work to ensure that our brothers and sisters twenty years from now enjoy an even better tomorrow.”
Lina Bradford will headline this summer’s Ascension Party. She will also perform guest spots at the Asbury Hotel and gigs throughout Europe.
Visit her website.