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Sol Fest DJ KHIVA Speaks on Being a Woman in the Electronic Music Space

A University of South Carolina study showed that in 2022, only 30% of artists in the EDM community were female. The Festival Babes aims to uplift and inspire women in the EDM community by giving them a platform to have a voice. By sending groups of females to festivals like Sol Fest, whose lineup has six female-identifying artists, as well as one non-binary artist, Sol Fest is able to bring feminine energy into a male dominated space.

Khiva, a female electronic DJ, will be performing her set at a Saturday pool party before the headliners take the main stage Saturday night. The Festival Babes conducted this interview to get to know her as an artist, and to hear her point of view on being a woman in the industry.

Can you tell me how you landed on the name Khiva for your stage name?

Khiva is the name of a city in Uzbekistan. To quote directly from the UNESCO World Heritage site: "As one of the ancient cities situated along the Silk Roads, Khiva has been a center of education, science, and culture, and served as a cradle of civilizations spanning millennia." I had a running list of potential names I'd been adding to for about 6 months. One day, on a flight from Istanbul to London, I was reading about Uzbekistan in an airline magazine and bam! I was like, "there it is." Interestingly, the last potential name on my list had been 'Kahve', Turkish for coffee, which I'd added a day before, so I was almost there! It's very awesome to read more about the city of Khiva if you fancy.

What does the EDM community mean to you?

Hmm, the world. Haha. But seriously. For me it truly represents innovation and creation at its core. Electronic music in our lifetime, from the inception of the first 'dub' to rave culture forging new pathways in the world of music and beyond, has always carried an ethos of breaking boundaries and pushing past perceived limitations. I am so grateful to be part of such a beautiful community.

What has been your favorite project that you have created, and why?

In the realm of Khiva, truly the ongoing creation and expression of [whatever] I'm currently working on at the moment is my favorite, and I really think it has to be that way in order for you to see a project through, it kind of has to be your favorite at the time until something else takes its place. This is a very difficult [question], kind of like picking a favorite child, but I've always felt quite proud of 'Life in the Midst of Decay' as a whole.

What artist(s) do you look up to for inspiration?

My current prominent inspirations, off the top of my head, are Jack White and Dax Riggs. Honorable mention Kevin Gates which I have said many times before, haha.

What are some challenges you faced as an artist, and how have you overcome them?

I think no matter what you're doing, staying true to yourself as you forge your own path brings some tough sh*t your way, but it also brings you strength and sets you free. Some of the things I've gone through, over the last couple years in particular, have pushed me past the edge and beyond. Even now, I'm like, “how the actual hell did I not only survive that, but become stronger from it? Through faith and connection to Self.”

What’s it like being a woman in the industry?

It's great. It's an honor to be a woman and represent women. It is such a beautiful thing for someone to share that 'me doing me' has helped or inspired them to find the power within themselves to do them.

What are some things you hope your music leaves for your audience?

My intentions aside, whatever it does for someone is what that experience is for them. I'd love to say, “I hope it resonates in a nice warm way with you.” I wish for one to have an experience of love, understanding, connection of some sort.

What does it mean to be performing at a festival like Sol Fest?

It's never not amazing to go to so many different places to perform. [It is] always an honor. It will be fun and cool to share it with some friends, and [it is] a great lineup.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Be yourself. Stay true. Love always.

Continue to follow The Festival Babes’ blog for festival updates. We’ll see you at Sol Fest in Alabama May 4th-7th.

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