drum-n-bass diva dj rap was born charissa saverio in singapore. throughout her youth, saverio traveled with her fathera manager of luxury hotelsand mother to such exotic locales as indonesia, malta, africa and shangri la. growing up in a multitude of cultures, however, was no problem for saverio who, herself, enjoys an irish/malaysian/italian ethnic heritage. as a child, saverio excelled at both the arts and athletics, spending her time between playing the piano and horseback riding, sometimes spending as much as six hours a day practicing the former. having been raised listening to and performing classical music, it wasn't until the family relocated, yet again, to southampton, england, in her early teens, that she discovered pop music. when she finished with school, saverio modeled for a stint, earning enough to allow her to spend a while travelling throughout europe.
when saverio returned to englandthis time to londonshe began to buckle down and establish a more traditional lifestyle. she landed a receptionist job at a law firm that lead to a position as a solicitor and was in a respectable, if less than perfect, relationship. this apparent normalcy all came crashing down around her, one night, when her roommates took her to her first rave. enraptured by the lights, the music and the energy that fueled london raves, saverio quit her job and her boyfriend and made a new start. "I was in heaven," she recalls, "every single day. for three or four years, it was comlete bliss and i was really happy." then, like it has with so many accidental divasmacy gray, salt-n-pepa, astrud gilberto, etc.fate stepped in and gave saverio the push she needed to become dj rap.
"i started buying records and thought about djing, but it was just a thought in my head not serious," saverio explains, but that dream became reality when she met up-and-coming producer jeff b, with whom she produced her debut cut "ambiencethe adored". the saverio-penned tune featured strong beats embellished with etherial synthesizers, making it a suprise hit in the rave scene. seizing the opportunity presented to her, dj rap (as saverio came to be known) dilligently promoted the album on local and pirate radio stations. dj rap's skills grew as she practiced and received instruction from the likes of jungle music founding father coolhand flex, resulting in live appearances at small venues. her first big break came when, one evening at the astoria, dj rap was asked to fill in for an absent fabio and she managed to wow both the club owner and the crowd with a combination of bravado and beats.
having established herself as possessing excellent production skills, dj rap became sought after in the studio, remixing songs for dance compilations. after turning out some very impressive work, however, she decided it was necessary to focus her energy on advancing her reputation as a dj. quickly, she became the first woman to conquer all of london's major ravesworld dance, dreamscape, lydd airport and rezerectionas well as being a regularly featured dj at the paradise, quest and the eclipse. as the jungle scene swelled, so too did dj rap's popularity. with the release of the suburban base twelve-inches "vertigo", "jeopardy" and "spiritual aura", it became apparent that dj rap was a driving force, as well as an innovator. capitalizing on her growing status as a dj, saverio founded her own record label, proper talent, in 1993, and its subsidary, low key recordings, in 1995.
while england is definitely the birthplace of great dance music, it was not long before news of dj rap had spread to the four corners. appearances in the united states, australia, japan, canada and throughout europe have, perhaps, made dj rap the most well-known female dj to date. with her first full-length commercial release, intelligence, on her own proper talent label, dj rap further demonastrates her range as an entertainer, adding vocalist to her writing and producing credits. in 1997, she signed a deal with higher ground records, in hopes of reaching a larger audience with her second release, learning curve. the album, which contains enough driving dance rhythms to appease hardcore enthusiasts while managing to still be accessible to drum-n-bass novices, has acheived the desired result, garnering widespread notariety and commercial success for the turntable diva.
aside from her role as an innovator of dance music, dj rap, like so many women in the music industry, makes a profound statement merely through her existance. though a reputed breeding ground for creativity, the sexism has long sought to keep women from behind the turntables, preferring them, instead, to inhabit the stage or go-go cages. however, like her sister djs1.8.7, spinderella, kemistry & storm and dj anne savagecharissa saviero is planting a flag in the ground that not only proclaims women's rightful place in all areas of music, but also her own place as a diva.