DJ Yo Yolie has become a regular at hot spots all over Las Vegas

Yo Yolie
Vohn Verez / Courtesy

Yo Yolie never expected to fall in love. Nor did she anticipate it would last this long. But Las Vegas has captivated the Bay Area DJ in a way she never saw coming.

“It’s like when you’re single, and you’re like, ‘I don’t want a boyfriend.’ But then you start to fall in love. All of a sudden, you’re in a relationship,” she says, “and you just have the funnest time, and time goes by so fast.”

Her Vegas romance is getting serious. When she isn’t showering crowds in spuming Champagne with Lil Jon at Hakkasan, Yolie is spinning at Omnia’s Deseo Latin Sundays, one of the hottest Latin nightlife parties on the Strip. Or she’s headlining gigs at Jewel at Aria, the Dorsey at Venetian, On the Record at Park MGM, Chateau at Paris and elsewhere.

“It’s gonna be around eight years that I’ve been here in Vegas, and I’m finally getting my shine,” she says.

It’s debatable whether Yolie even needed that shine. A known name in her home city, she still regularly plays clubs in San Francisco and works on-air for iHeartRadio’s Wild 94.9 and Pitbull’s Globalization station on Sirius XM. But Vegas still couldn’t lose her number.

In her early 20s, Yolie traveled to Vegas often to perform at Downtown’s Insert Coin(s). She’d been conflicted about moving until she met Jonathan Shecter, co-founder of The Source magazine and former director of programming at Wynn Nightlife venues.

Shecter imparted his wisdom over dinner at the former Andrea’s at Encore, Yolie remembers. “He was like, ‘If you want your master’s—if you want your doctorate in nightlife—you need to get here.”

She worked her way into an initial residency at Chateau before expanding her presence. Yolie still makes time to visit her old Downtown stomping grounds, playing venues like Oddfellows and Lucky Day. “It gives me the feeling of San Francisco again,” she says. “These venues are not Top 40. Everybody there is extremely open-minded.”

She experiments with different genres more frequently at those Downtown spots, and if the sounds are well-received, incorporates them into her Strip sets.

She might have found success, but she isn’t taking any of these DJ privileges lightly. She says she thinks about her role model, DJ AM, often.

“His quote was, ‘Feed the soul, starve the ego,’ and that has never been more real to me than coming back from a pandemic,” Yolie says. She has used her influence to uplift other DJs while serving as music director at Area15’s Emporium Arcade Bar, where she also spins regularly. “Whenever I hire DJs over there, I’m like, ‘I’m hiring you because I trust you. I trust in what you play. Do you. And they love that sh*t.”

Everyone has to start somewhere, as Yo Yolie knows and has taken great care to remember. “I just want people to look at the Yolie brand and be like, that’s a dope example of somebody that worked their ass off.”

YO YOLIE January 31, 9 p.m., no cover. Emporium Arcade Bar, emporiumlv.com.

Tags: Nightlife, DJ
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Amber Sampson

Amber Sampson is a Staff Writer for Las Vegas Weekly. She got her start in journalism as an intern at ...

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