The techno D.J. Carla Frayman—better known by her alias, “Carlita”—travels so much that she feels at home on planes. “You travel between space and time when you’re in a plane,” she says. “I really like that.”
In mid-December, Frayman, 27, called me from Athens, where she was relaxing for a few days before a hectic end of the year. “I’m just going to chill. I want to be away from everything.” Two weeks later, she D.J’d for a night in Qatar, two nights in Jidda, and over a weekend in her native Turkey. On Monday, she’s playing at the Day Zero music festival, in Tulum. Next weekend, she’ll be headlining a party in Phuket.
Frayman has been steadily stacking up high-profile shows since last year. In April, long before Tesla’s stock price tanked, she inaugurated the company’s Gigafactory near Austin, Texas, with a D.J. set at the grand-opening party. From it, she posted an Instagram of herself standing under a suspended Tesla while wearing her signature accessory: a bucket hat. In September, she performed at Burning Man on a flaming art car—one of the mutant vehicles that circle around the festival—above thousands of dusty revelers. In November, she traveled to Dubai, where she played for the fashion set at the Louis Vuitton Cruise show dressed in head-to-toe branded leather.
She also runs her own party collective, Senza Fine, which encompasses fashion collaborations, art installations, and a perfume brand. “The perfume and the party are connected because all our parties smell the same,” Frayman explains. The parties, which take place all over the world, are in venues with multiple rooms, each one with different lighting and music. She’s usually one of the main acts.
Their last event, in September at the party venue 99 Scott, in Brooklyn, counted 1,300 attendees. The musician and designer Heron Preston played behind the decks to a crowd that went wild. Their next party will be on February 9 at an undisclosed location in Williamsburg, timed to New York Fashion Week.
Although many D.J.’s can’t be considered artists, Frayman can. She has extensive musical knowledge that informs her sets. “I started with classical before house music,” she explains. As a child in Istanbul, Frayman learned to play piano by age three. At age eight, she switched to the cello and earned a spot at London’s prestigious Royal Academy. But “once I graduated, I had to take a break from music.”
Her parents pushed for her to study entrepreneurship, and she enrolled in Northeastern University, in Boston, in 2012. At college, she found other ways to work on music. “I started doing playlists all the time, just for my friends.”
During her sophomore year, she started D.J.-ing at Bijou, Boston’s swankiest nightclub. When she graduated from college, in 2017, she decided to give a music career a real chance. “I’m like, O.K., if I fail, I’m going to fail when I’m 21,” Frayman explains.
By 2020, just as the coronavirus killed nightlife, she started gaining notoriety. “All the music-social-media accounts kept posting this set from Turkey I did that year, and it got, like, one billion views on Instagram.”
Her encounter with her idol and now manager, the legendary Manfredi Romano—known as “Dj Tennis”—has cemented her rise. In October 2021, at Frayman’s birthday party at a club in Lisbon, Romano approached her unexpectedly. “He came up to me and said, ‘Can I play back-to-back with you?’ We ended up playing together for 13 hours.” They’ve collaborated ever since.
Despite the constant intercontinental flights, the perpetual jet lag, and the difficult, sometimes lonely lifestyle, Frayman still loves playing a set at sunrise. “When you move around a lot, you realize there’s two stable things during the day—the sunset and the sunrise. I’m very attached to sunrise, because it’s the beginning,” she says. “It’s a spiritual time.”
Elena Clavarino is the Senior Editor for AIR MAIL