Courtesy of Corey Nguyen

Vna — also known as Annie Nguyen ’25 — incorporates different genres into her sets in hopes of exposing people to new styles of music. 

Nguyen started her journey as a DJ last year. After seeing some DJ sets in New York during fall break, she felt a spark of inspiration. Rather than letting this spark die, she decided to act on her newfound interest in the DJ-ing world. She said that her close friend and DJ, Justin Li ’25, encouraged her and helped her find her footing. What started as a niche interest has since developed into a weekly DJ set at BAR, with a mission of diversifying the music scene at Yale.

“I want to be able to introduce music that people probably wouldn’t have heard on social media,” said Nguyen. “I really do try my best to source music from all around the world, from smaller artists [and] from less well-known areas because I feel like that’s one of a DJ’s jobs.” 

Her sets include music from all over the world, including — but not limited to — Korea, Puerto Rico and Brazil. 

She said she finds that the best way to expose herself to new genres and develop her skills as a DJ is to talk with professionals. 

“At each club, I went up to the DJ and introduced myself,” said Nguyen. She explained to the DJs that she was interested in learning “different track ideas” and “different techniques” and asked if she could stand behind the DJ table and watch their sets. “Every time I asked that question they let me in,” she said. 

This has also helped Nguyen grow her network and connections to the DJ community outside of Yale. Through these contacts, she said, she has received exclusive access to tracks and mixes that have helped expose her to new music and techniques. 

Outside of being a DJ, Nguyen is a member of a Yale investing group, an ESL tutor and president of the Southeast Asian Movement at Yale. 

“She is a really driven person and she really carries a lot of the spirit behind the scenes,” said Owen Setiewan ’27, events chair of SEAM, about Nguyen. “[She] ensures that the Southeast Asian communities represent a network of students who can have a space to have a shared identity.”

Nguyen’s DJ name — Vna — is connected to her Vietnamese identity. 

In Vietnamese, the prefix Vina signifies Vietnamese origin. She said that her name plays on this and symbolizes her upbringing and culture with a “modern touch of contemporary expression.” She brings this same energy to her sets.

As a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen said that she has struggled with the lack of representation in the DJ industry. 

“It is kind of difficult navigating just because you don’t have people that look like you,” said Nguyen. “It’s hard to gain the confidence.” 

However, she added that the welcoming nature of the Yale DJ community has helped to give her the confidence she needs to pursue her love for DJ-ing.

Several students told the News that her presence in the DJ community at Yale has had a profound impact on the students who listen to her sets.

“I think a really big message behind her music is that music is very universal,” said Bella Le ’27 Fundraiser Chair of SEAM. “Also being able to hear just a mixture of melodies that is coming from another Vietnamese person is really refreshing because that was never something that I grew up seeing or hearing. It’s something so empowering.”

She is also in the running to be an opening act at this year’s Spring Fling, and her submission can be found on the committee’s platform. 

Nguyen holds a residency at BAR Pizza, where she is the front house DJ every Friday night.

Luciana Varkevisser covers theater and performances. She is a freshman in Saybrook College planning on majoring in history and psychology.