For her DJ pseudonym, Cici Ochoa combined her middle name, Ivanna, with the word that describes her point of view—that music is love.
Ivanna Love will be closing out the American Cancer Society’s 24-Hour Dance Party, during the afternoon tea-dance portion of the event on Saturday, Aug. 3.
Ochoa, who lives in La Quinta, has been DJing publicly since 2011, but she spent many years of honing her skills before she felt up to the task.
“I learned to DJ in my bedroom, and after doing that for so many years, I just was like, ‘You know what? I think I need to get out there,’” Ochoa said. “Music has always been a huge passion of mine. After a while, I knew it was something I had to pursue. The love for music is just so central to my life that I need to be able to get people to feel the rhythm that I hear. I just want to share it with everyone.”
Inspired by trance artists such as Armin Van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, ATB and Tiësto, Ochoa’s sound is energetic, funky, delightful and undoubtedly great for dancing. Ochoa said she believes that while anyone could become a DJ, only great artists can create a signature sound.
“The signature sound is what makes it unique,” said Ochoa. “…For a DJ to take you into another place is remarkable. I think it has a lot to do with the DJ having a symbolic sound to captivate the crowd.”
She admitted that it was a tedious process for her to find her own sound.
“It was nerve-racking,” Ochoa said. “You don’t know how people are going to take what it is you’re playing out there. … It really takes courage to go out there and be original.”
Her first gig outside of her bedroom was at the now-defunct Space 120 in Palm Springs, in January 2011. She’s done DJ gigs at various fashion shows, and for the International School of Beauty. An appearance at the Hue Music and Arts Festival in Coachella back in April may have been her best gig to date, she said.
“For me, being able to close the set for that, it was just inspiring, because I got to see kids just take in an amazing reaction to what I was putting out there,” Ochoa said. “I’ve always said this: Children are the future of music. I think it’s really important for them to get the vibe of Coachella and artists who stick themselves out constantly to make them feel a sensational moment of dance music.”
Joining her on the tea-dance bill will be another local DJ, All Night Shoes (Alex Harrington), and Canadian singer Angie Whitney. She is elated and has nothing but accolades for Harrington’s “Tropic Trance” sound.
“I have always been drawn to (Alex’s) style. His vocals and synths are very captivating and soothing,” Ochoa said. “I am so excited to be playing with him at the tea dance. Great energy will definitely be brought to the stage.”
When Ochoa was approached by the American Cancer Society to take part in the event, she was quick to say yes, inspired by her vision that music is love, and because she knows people who have fought cancer—including some who have lost the battle.
I had a strong instinct that this was going to be right up my alley,” Ochoa said. “Overall, I feel like a tea dance (should have) overall feel-good music. Everyone can just get together, dance and have a great time. I do want to say: Prepare yourself; just let go; be free; and go with the rhythm of the beat. It’s going to be a huge success.”
The tea-dance portion of the Relay for Life Palm Springs’ 24 Hour Dance Party begins at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Riviera Palm Springs, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive. The whole party begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Admission is $20; cancer survivors are admitted for free; attendees may re-enter. The event is an alcohol- and tobacco-free event, though cocktails will be available at other parts of the Riviera during alcohol-serving hours. To donate, create a team or receive more information, call 760-568-2691, ext. 3, or visit relayforlife.org/palmspringsca.
If you are a cancer survivor or are currently battling cancer, and need support, services or simply someone to talk to, call 800-227-2345. The line is open 24/7. You can also visit cancer.org for more information.