Them's the breaks

DJ Keri shoulders more than a record bag

"It's not easy,
and I won't even sit here and tell you that it is," says Keri Winkle about her double life. A DJ/singer on both the club and (gay) circuit scenes, a producer, a wife and a mother, Winkle has to juggle more than beats to keep on beat.

"When I have downtime, I'm in the role of mom. But then, each week, I have to put on another face and hit the road," she says. "I take the kids to school, and then it's my time on the computer to compose. And I'm a wife, so I have to keep not only my kids and business partners happy, but also my husband. Of course, we've been together 15 years, so I don't think I'm slacking in that respect."

Indeed, Winkle's never been busier. In recent months, the former military nurse recorded an electro-breaks CD as part of the Radikal Records' RPM (Radikal Party Mix) mix series. Then there's her sophomore album, Dream Keeper, released through Atlanta-based MDI Distribution and her own Good Pussy Records. Her husband/manager, Michael, pitches in. "Michael's got a degree in marketing, so he does really well figuring what will appeal to the masses — catch the eye of the common person," she says.

Maintaining control of her resources is important to Winkle, and she considers Dream Keeper and Good Pussy a continuation, evolution and refinement of her previous ventures. "I've done a lot of hustling and gotten offered deals in the last year, but I'm not the kind of person who gives something away I've worked so hard [for]," she says. "So I decided to start a label and show how hard I'd worked and how seriously I took what I did. It's been a real challenge, but I don't have any complaints. I thought I was so deep in the game, but I still had a lot to learn."

Such learning fuels Dream Keeper, an album spurred by personal feelings. Winkle addresses general themes of love and happiness over beats that span dance-culture genres — and which she hopes will also span generations. Featuring producers such as Trona, DJ 43, Sanjez and Nomadix, as well as perpetual engineer Harry O'Brien, Dream Keeper touches on everything from old-school electro to nu_skool breaks, pumping progressive house and radio-friendly funkiness.

"[When] I'm on the tables, or someone has put my record on, I want people to feel I'm singing to them, trying to cater to them personally," says Winkle. "I could play for myself all day long. The music being played is for them."

Winkle will embark on a tour that stretches as far as Vancouver, Italy, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia. Winkle also looks forward to possible collaborations with producers Noel Sanger and Brothers in Dub. And she is always working to promote pro-female events such as the annual "Goddess," based around the model (for lack of a better word) of a brand of female DJ who is, first and foremost, talented, and visually appealing second.

Playboy caught sight of Keri in Miami during the dance industry's annual Winter Music Conference this past March. The magazine asked her to be a spinner turned skinner. She posed nude for a pictorial featuring eight female DJs to be published in the November issue.

"The only thing I cared about was how my family would react — and they were very supportive," Winkle says. "I don't know that many 32-year-old women [who get] asked to pose nude in Playboy, so I wanted to go for it. They rented out a club and even though I was naked, I didn't feel like I was. They were very professional, sweet and kind."

Everyone has a game face, and Winkle's always ready to put hers on — to step off a plane, slip into a club and weave a crowd into her dream. Ever the community servant, Winkle is there for her audience.

"It's my job to be mindful and keep a clear head on my shoulders, so I can help other people lose theirs and get lost in the fantasy," she says, "even if just for a few hours."