“Music has healed me in so many ways, by helping me process and release emotions as well as help me be in my body more, something that’s hard for me as a trans person. When I DJ, I’m always trying to create a vibe that feels warm and safe for people to be themselves.”
DJ + Producer
Produced by Chico Chi and Soular. Lyrics by Wazi Maret and ISIS
Eli Chi aka Chico Chi (he/they) is a queer and non-binary trans masculine DJ + producer, creative, & fashionistx based in Oakland, CA. They are the co-founder of Tender Bois Club, a music & creative production house. He is also ⅓ of Hunnies & Hot Sauce, a DJ crew that creates safe(r) spaces and events that center queer and transgender people of color. Chico, which means boy in Spanish, is an ode to Chi’s trans identity and Chinese-Cuban roots. This hyphenated identity and his family’s complex diaspora is an ongoing exploration that influences his music, art, and fashion.
Eli is the child of Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. from Cuba. He was born and raised in the East Coast and grew up in the Midwest.
photo credit: Niko Storment
"I'm a creative that dabbles in both music and fashion. A lot of my creative process has a lot to do with feeling. Whether I'm curating a set for a party/event or producing music for myself or another artist, I am always wondering, "How would this make someone feel?" I can sometimes spend hours trying to pick out the right sounds or instruments for a song, but it's all part of my process of trying to figure out how to create an energy that feels good for the person listening. When it comes to fashion, I bounce between being in front of the camera as a model, as well as behind the scenes as a stylist. Much like my music, I find that with styling, my creative process is like a puzzle. Instead of sounds, I'm working with colors and clothes to create looks that make a person feel comfortable and good in their body."
The TransGEnder District
"This campaign was a joy to be part of. I feel honored to be a part of it and feel so seen by my community. The photo shoot was so much fun and felt so comfortable. I also really appreciated connecting with the other models and folks working on the shoot. Prior to working on this campaign, I had DJ'd for several of the Trans District's events. It's always been a lot of fun, especially knowing that I'd be setting the vibe for a crowd, where the majority of people are trans. That's rare! I always feel that love and magic every time I'm in their spaces, and I'm glad I could be a part of it. "
photo credit: Vivian Liang