This week’s guest—and the final My First Band guest of 2020—is Shawna Nicols. Wisconsin sports fans probably know her better as “DJ Shawna,” the moniker she uses while serving as the official in-game DJ for the Milwaukee Bucks as well as the Wisconsin Badgers football team. In recent years, the accomplished Milwaukee DJ and emcee has also worked the turntables and curated the musical accompaniment at the NCAA Women’s Final Four, during University of Wisconsin men’s basketball games, at Marquette women’s basketball games, as a headliner at PrideFest Milwaukee, and as Lizzo’s opener at last year’s Summerfest. Oh yeah, she was also one of just four DJs invited to work in “The Bubble” when the NBA resumed its season/postseason in Orlando over the summer. Long before she was playing music during professional basketball games, Shawna was a pro basketball player herself.
Recently, a few days before the Bucks and Shawna were set to start another season, Shawna spoke to My First Band host Tyler Maas about the work she puts into pairing music with specific players and in-game occurrences, the experience of living and working in The Bubble, and being one of the few people in attendance when Milwaukee made the historic decision to forego playing a playoff game in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Eventually, the conversation turned to Shawna’s days as a Milwaukee high school basketball standout, a Badgers player, and a professional baller in the Netherlands. Along the way, they talked about her unconventional path to becoming a professional DJ, and how a mixture of tenacity and talent have opened exciting new doors for her in the realm of entertainment.
My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”).