When Bad Bunny made a weekend-long stop in March in Chicago for his ?ltimo Tour Del Mundo, Chicago native DJ Miriam achieved one of her dreams by opening for one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
Months later, one of Chicago’s most popular Latina DJs is a featured artist at Sue?os Music Festival, the first and largest reggaeton festival to ever take place in Grant Park.
Memorial Day weekend, downtown Chicago will be filled with music from reggaeton superstars Wisin y Yandel, Ozuna, Farruko, and J Balvin.
The presence of DJ Miriam (aka Miriam Paz) at Sue?os is one that she says she never imagined when she first started deejaying in 2019. She rose to popularity online throughout the COVID pandemic, doing shows on Instagram and Twitch and posting her mixes to SoundCloud.
“I’ve always been inclined to music. And being a DJ, and being able to do what I love, and sharing that with people, is just really fulfilling,” Paz, 30, told the Sun-Times.
Since she travels a lot for work, Paz said that it’s been “interesting” to meet people, sometimes from other states, who tuned in regularly to those streams.
“I’ve got fans –like, real-life fans!,” she said. Opening for Bad Bunny — especially on his 28th birthday — was “a dream come true.”
The Allstate Arena, which has capacity for nearly 19,000 people, is the largest crowd that Paz has ever played for. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bad Bunny’s shows were postponed, and in the interim, DJ Miriam’s star power continued to rise.
Paz grew up on the North Side in the Andersonville neighborhood. She says her taste in music is “definitely” influenced by both her Guatemalan roots and Chicago upbringing.
“When I was a teenager we would all sit in my room,” Paz said. “Or, I would just sit in my car or in front of my computer and be like, ‘Guys, did you hear this song yet? Or did you hear that song? Have you seen this music video?’
“I never realized that that’s just always kind of been within me,” she said.
With Sue?os Music Festival on the horizon, Paz is helping make history at the large-scale festival as an artist with a deep, personal connection to Chicago.
“We’ve tried to integrate the city in every single touchpoint,” said Aaron Ampudia, one of the co-founders of the festival.
“We’re stoked to have DJ Miriam open … and have that experience in her town where her friends can go watch her and see her on the big stage. And hopefully, it helps her in her career to keep on pushing and progressing and maybe playing other festivals.”
Prior to the pandemic, Paz was working with V5 Group for the past 10 years doing “a bit of everything.” She worked primarily as a venue manager, booking reggaeton events in popular Lincoln Park and Wrigleyville clubs like The Apartment, Casey Moran’s and Moe’s Cantina.
“Creating a vibe, creating a night, was really cool,” Paz said of her venue-managing days. She still works with V5, based in Lyons, just on a smaller scale, as she focuses more on her deejaying gigs.
In addition to mixing tracks, Paz is now traveling the country hosting V5’s “Sorry Papi” parties, which are women-exclusive events, meant to celebrate feminine power, safety and unity.
“You want to go out, you [want to] get dolled up, and when you go to an event, women are subjected to being groped and disrespected … and it’s not OK,” Paz said. She hopes to create an environment and vibe that is positive and empowering through these women-only parties.
Sue?os, according to its organizers, hopes to attract people from all backgrounds and tastes in music to celebrate a global community that is rooted in Latin music.
“We’re bringing this color, this life, this music, to downtown Chicago,” Ampudia added about the festival, which has already sold out all of its general admission tickets. “And we’re super excited about it.”