Being a DJ during a pandemic is tough. But Taylor “DJ LiXxer” Anderson has learned a few things during her decade-long DJ career. So when weddings and other events started getting canceled and clubs closed their doors, DJ LiXxer did what so many performers tried and so few managed to pull off: she took the party online.
“I was paying my bills off of Zoom parties probably for the first few months,” DJ LiXxer tells Between The Lines. Her success is no accident. There’s a reason she calls herself “your favorite damn DJ in the land.” She’s earned the title.
You can check out her performance yourself at Motor City Pride on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Emphasis on “performance.”
“You can’t be a DJ and just play music because, at that point, you’re just a playlist,” DJ LiXxer says. “It’s about creating moments.”
She even has dancers as part of her show. “My girlfriend is a professional dancer,” she says. “She’s going to be performing with me on Sunday, so that’ll be our first time performing professionally together.”
Having DJed weddings, bar mitzvahs, festivals, clubs and more, DJ LiXxer knows that her job is to help people make memories.
“I like to perform. I like to engage. I think that’s the most important thing,” she says, “making connections and creating experiences for people.”
Part of that is being able to read an audience. “I’m the type of DJ that likes to freestyle. I like to feel the mood of the crowd,” she says. At Motor City Pride, you can expect dancehall, reggae, vogue, deep house and whatever else fuels the crowd.
DJ LiXxer especially loves a queer crowd. “One thing I appreciate about the LGBT community: We are very, very nice,” she says.
“I can tell the difference between doing a straight event and a queer event. I have the most fun doing LGBT events,” she says. “We just vibe, and we have a good time, and we’re really good people, most of us.”
Speaking of queer, though DJ LiXxer identifies as a lesbian, she isn’t big on labels. People often don’t know what to make of her when they see her: “What is she? She’s beautiful, but she’s handsome.”
She’s had people ask if she’s the stud in her relationship, to which she says, “Not really, because I like to wear makeup and nice boots once in a while.”
She doesn’t feel a need to define herself for others’ comfort. “I also wear sneakers, and I can throw on the men’s jerseys but still put on lashes.”
Oh, and the DJ name LiXxer is not what people usually assume.
“A lot of people think my name is like super gay, and it’s not that at all,” she says. My original name was DJ Lady Tay,” but she found herself in a DJ group where “it was like everybody had ‘tay’ in their name.”
So her friend, producer Mark Cooper, suggested “DJ Elixir,” since an elixir is a mixture. She misheard it as DJ Lickser and thought he was poking fun. But once she thought about it, she liked the name. And DJ LiXxer was born.
While she currently lives in Inkster, DJ LiXxer grew up in Ann Arbor. She also spent plenty of time with family members who lived in Detroit, but she always had to come to them. “For some reason, all of Detroit thinks that Ann Arbor is like driving to Chicago,” she says, laughing. Once she was old enough to drive, she’d hop on I-94 and get “in all kinds of trouble” with her cousins.
Family is vitally important to her, but coming out to her parents was not easy. Actually, she didn’t come out. “I was forced out,” she says. An aunt “went snooping on my social media.”
“My aunt found my Tumblr and Twitter account and was like, “(gasp!) You’re gay!” She was given a choice: her aunt could tell her parents, or she could tell them herself.
“I had already packed up my clothes because I just knew,” she says. “My parents are Bible-thumping Christians.” She originally came out as bisexual. “I thought it would help.”
“They didn’t kick me out, but I could tell my parents were uncomfortable with my sexuality,” she says.
The pandemic changed things. “They’ve never been comfortable with it until the past year,” she says. COVID-19 hit her family especially hard. “We’ve lost so many people to the pandemic.”
This led to a conversation with her mom and dad “about reconnecting and rekindling that relationship because when I came out, that drove us kind of apart,” she says. “We hugged it out.”
Her parents live in Las Vegas now, but they’re closer than ever. “Me and my mom and my dad talk every day now,” she says. “It was more important to reconnect and re-love each other.”
And that goes for her relationship with herself, too.
“I can honestly say I think I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life, mentally for sure,” she says, attributing it to a lot of sage, cannabis (“because I gave up alcohol”) and meditation. “Learn to be nice to yourself,” she posted on Facebook recently. “Wake up with mirror manifestations, speak your sexy into existence, and be kind to others. Working on self love is one of the hardest things to do, but practicing everyday is something that is helping me become a better person, a better spirit, and even a better entertainer.”
Her philosophy of “live life and love people” comes through in her art. “I’m all about making people dance,” she says. “I just want people to have a good time.”