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DJ at Giants, Warriors games breaking barriers

DJ for Giants, Warriors games breaking barriers
DJ for Giants, Warriors games breaking barriers 02:58

SAN FRANCISCO – You may not know her name, or recognize her face, but if you have ever been to a local sporting event you likely heard her sound.

The sound comes from Ieanna Cruz, who once behind two turntables transforms into "DJ Umami" – a rotating DJ for the Golden State Warriors and resident DJ for the San Francisco Giants.

Cruz told KPIX 5 grew up around music as child.

"I kind of had a rough childhood, my parents got a divorce and I had to move around a lot," remembered Cruz. "And for me music was an escape."

DJ Umami performing at a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park. CBS

As she listened to R&B and eventually hip-hop, the escape began as a hobby until one day a club promoter gave her shot back in 2007.

"That was like almost being pushed into a pool, and learning how to swim," said Cruz. "It was terrible set. If I were to go back to that set and listen, I would cringe."

The turning point for DJ Umami came seven years later in 2014, when she DJ'd the starting line for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco in front of 22,000 people.

"And the energy was like insane to me… and then I was like if I could do this, I don't have to worry about being nervous about anything else," said Cruz.

Today, she perfects her skills inside a tiny Oakland studio. Where she practices mixing and scratching and even plan playlists.

"Reading the crowd is an art, sometimes you go to a party, and you have a plan, and then everything is just out the window," Cruz told KPIX 5. "But I'm most proud when I can small crowd going, there's also something to be said about having 10 people at a party and getting them all to dance."

While Cruz has become an established DJ playing sporting events, parties, and clubs, she said being a Filipina woman in a male-dominated industry still has its challenges.

"I will still show up to a gig and another DJ who I have never played with before will start messing with my levels, like I don't know you how to you know or tell me I need plug this in this way," said Cruz.

But she also knows when she on stage, behind those turntables and transforms into DJ Umami she becomes a role model for young girls and other women.

"I didn't realize stepping into this role, I would kind of have to be more of a feminist and push this narrative and work so hard to continue to inspire younger women to feel comfortable coming into roles like this," said Cruz.


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