This summer we collaborated with DJ Shawna (aka Shawna Nicols) from Milwaukee, WI on a few photo campaigns for the Koss Pro4S Studio Headphones and BT540i Wireless Bluetooth Headphones.
DJ Shawna has made her presence felt on a national and international scale performing at events and festivals around the World. She is also the DJ for the NCAAWBB, Marquette Women's Basketball, and Milwaukee Bucks and most recently the official DJ for the Wisconsin Badgers. We recently sat down with Shawna to discuss her career, her motivation and her future.
1. Tell us about yourself.
Born with a basketball in my hands. Quickly learned that basketball, music, and fashion all go together and feed off one another. Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; went on to receive my Masters in Communication from the University of Bellarmine. Continued my basketball career as a professional in Europe and found DJing as another adrenaline rush. As someone that has never drank alcohol or done drugs, music has always been my best friend. Here I am, now 12 years into the profession and I could not be happier.
2. How did you get involved with Koss?
Milwaukee love!!! I am extremely fortunate to be part of a networking group that linked me with the Content Developer for Koss, Martin Moore. I had an opportunity to hear his story of his hustle, and I was hooked. We quickly because friends and I am grateful to have such a hard working, inspiring, and intelligent friend in Martin, that also has given me this opportunity to partner with Koss. 3.
What do you love most about being a DJ? I
love being able to make people smile, sing, and dance while being part of creating a memorable experience, no matter what the event is.
Photo Credit: Karen Olivia
4. If you weren't a DJ, what else would you be doing?
I would definitely be a full-time superhero. Right now, I only moonlight as one, so as to fly under the radar.
5. What is your favorite thing about Milwaukee?
Milwaukee is truly moving forward, every day. I have lived all over the globe and continued to find my way back here. Not only for family but to be part of the growth and development. I want to do my small part in continue to help Milwaukee blossom.
6. What has been your biggest hurdle?
Being patient. I think with social media being such a huge part of most people’s lives, we are often apt to think dreams and goals happen overnight. I’m a firm believer in the 10,000 hour theory for many reasons: There is no such thing as overnight success, only overnight recognition.
7. What has been your biggest triumph?
Every day has been a win, to be honest. I continue to wake up healthy, happy, and loved while getting booked to do something I am beyond passionate about and truly love. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is definitely worth it, and I am continually grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way.
8. What is one thing most people don't know about you?
Recently, I have set a goal to produce a song. Admitting it out loud, and even writing this, makes me feel extremely vulnerable and scared. I am excited to have this dream and look forward to sharing whatever comes of this process with you as soon as I can! 9. How has music shaped who you are?
Wow. Honestly, I have a tattoo on me that says: “Music is what feelings sound like”. I have so many memories with music throughout my life that stand out; whether it has been falling in love, going through a break-up, trying to get one more rep on my squat, running one more sprint, singing one more song in my car, driving for hours, or mourning the loss of a dear, loved one.
Music continues to fill gaps for me, where I struggle to find the right words. There are so many feelings and emotions in a song that evoke so much in those 3-4 minutes.
10. You recently wrote a book about your dog Bob. Tell us more!
Bob is actually my Mom’s dog, and Bob is a girl! My step-dad passed away from Cancer unexpectedly about a year ago, and after he died I took over the responsibility of taking care of Bob for her afternoon walks.
Our walks together turned into adventures throughout Milwaukee and I documented this by taking photos everywhere we went. As true projects happen, this one snowballed and I had no idea we would actually produce a book. After about 7 months of working, I surprised my Mom with The Adventures of Bob and Downtown Milwaukee, a kid’s book about Bob and our adventures to share with the world. All of the proceeds go towards Key To Change, a non-profit in Milwaukee to help chronically homeless individuals and families in my Mom’s and late step-dad, Joe Weirick’s, name.
11. Finally, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Great question. I would love to continue to be able to inspire those around me through Music, my Monday Motivation videos and my clothing line #DareToBe while continuing to be open minded to whatever opportunities that may arise along the way. I believe the sky is the limit and I can do anything I put my mind to…I promise to keep you posted as this adventure continues!