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DJ RAP has been the undisputed queen of the turntables and the number one female dj in the world, simultaneously a label owner, producer, and recording artist. She has been a prime mover, the prime female mover in fact, on the jungle and drum’n’bass scenes. She has more than a decade’s worth of seminal dance classics to her credit, with several mix compilation CDs, a Sony artist album and upwards of 20 releases on her own drum’n’bass imprint, PROPER TALENT UK.
And now she is going to leave her mark on the house music scene. In 2004 DJ Rap founded a brand-new label, IMPROPER TALENT, to provide an outlet for her growing interest in house music. Despite an exhaustive touring, publicity and DJ schedule, Rap still finds time to return to her studio to work on her forthcoming artist album to be released in 2005. Four years ago her first album, Learning Curve, was released on Sony in the UK and on Columbia Records in the USA and ended up selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.
Born Charissa Saverio to an Italian father and an Irish-Malaysian mother in Singapore, Rap spent her childhood traveling the world – Indonesia, Malta and Africa were all home for a while. Her stepfather managed luxury hotels and she grew up living in the palatial surroundings of Raffles in Shangri La. As a child her two loves were playing piano and horse-riding. She’d practice the piano six hours a day and spend the rest of her time in the stables dreaming of being a pianist. When the family moved to Southampton, England in her early teens, she discovered pop music for the first time and after leaving school took time out to travel the world, backpacking through Greece, Turkey and Europe. She eventually returned to London and joined a legal firm, first as a secretary, then training to be a solicitor. Her life, for the first time in years, seemed to be following a normal, everyday course. It was from this bliss that Charissa morphed into DJ Rap. “She jacked in her job, kicked out her difficult boyfriend and discovered raves.”
Following the success of her major label debut during a show, CALVIN KLEIN approached her backstage where he personally offered her a chance to become a Calvin Klein model for the DIRTY DENIM campaign. The campaign was released in 2002 worldwide to much acclaim. This would also lead to a CATERPILLAR billboard campaign in Europe. Over the last year TWIX was getting ready to put in place an 8 million dollar campaign to reach out to a new generation. Rap was chosen to represent TWIX and not only starred, but also produced the music for the commercial, which has since been nominated at the Dancestar awards. Rap has appeared and been the cover girl for numerous national and international newspapers and magazines, including the recent national cover for the Weekly Calendar. She is experienced in front of the camera and has been involved as a host and guest on many talk shows, variety shows and award shows. Rap has appeared in five of her own music videos as well as co- starring with the artist BT in two of his music videos. Rap was also the first female artist to ever be sponsored by PLAYSTATION and has also done music for a number of their games.
This year Charissa celebrates the first ten years of her career and her foray into house music by compiling and mixing a CD of classic house tracks to form part of the double-CD compilation “Chemistry” which will be released by Armani Exchange in October 2004.
“I can remember when my biggest dream was to be on a Raindance flyer,” she closes. “Once I’d achieved that I found myself constantly on the look out for other things to stimulate and motivate me. From as far back as I can remember, my goal has been to sing songs to huge audiences but if someone would have asked me ten years ago that DJ-ing would open those doors for me – I wouldn’t have believed it. Although I really enjoy touring and singing with the band, the best part of what I do is when I get up there and play great records – I’m a DJ at heart – I just want to get the crowd moving.”