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Sorry Papi crowd

Sorry Papi is the world’s largest touring all-girl reggaeton party. They’ll be in Grant Park this weekend for Sueños Music Festival.

Courtesy of Sorry Papi

At Sueños, this set is for the girls — thanks to an all-women DJ party started in Chicago

Chicago DJ Miriam Paz went from being the only woman DJ at Sueños three years ago to throwing a giant “girls only” party at this year’s festival.

In 2021, Miriam Paz was the only female DJ performing at the first Sueños Music Festival. This weekend she’s returning for the festival’s third year — she’s one of the event’s “official” DJs — and presiding over a lineup that spotlights more female performers than ever.

Returning to Grant Park on May 25 and 26, Sueños Music Festival is Chicago’s largest event highlighting Latin music, with headliners Rauw Alejandro, Peso Pluma and Maluma. The lineup includes more than 25 other Latin artists and DJs, including Paz’s all-female traveling DJ party Sorry Papi, which will play a Saturday afternoon festival set.

Billed as the world’s largest touring all-girl reggaeton party, Sorry Papi aims to create a safe and feel-good environment for women. In October, a Chicago event brought thousands of women to the sold-out Aragon Ballroom for a night of DJ sets and dancing.

Paz, whose stage name is DJ Miriam, sat down in advance of the fest with Nudia Hernandez, a host of WBEZ’s sister station Vocalo, to discuss 2024’s sellout Sueños, the genesis of her popular all-female DJ group and why women can feel safer partying with other women.

Miriam Paz

Miriam Paz helms Sorry Papi, an all-girl reggaeton party.

Photo courtesy of Sorry Papi

Vocalo: All the heartthrobs are on the Sueños lineup. Rauw Alejandro. Maluma. Peso Pluma, who is one of the biggest Latin artists out right now. This park is gonna get shut down. We are gonna shut it down.

Paz: Chicago! I mean, I don’t know. I’m so excited. It’s the first year that Sueños has sold out. Well, that it sold out this quickly. It sold out, what, months ago? People have been asking me constantly, ‘Do you know anybody who’s selling tickets?’ Just the demand is insane. I personally think that Peso Pluma and Rauw Alejandro sold it out, alone.

Of course. And then the other additions. The female artists have completely doubled. Young Miko, Bad Gyal and Sorry Papi will be there. You are part of Sorry Papi as well. You’ve been with them since the inception, right?

Yes. I was a part of the creative process as well, and I’m actually one of the founders.

What was the vision behind it?

I’ve been in the industry for quite some time. Like many women who indulge in the nightlife and just want to go out, have fun with their girls or whoever they decide to go out with, there’s always that constant struggle of feeling safe. Even with our upbringing, our parents are super protective. They say make sure [to] keep your eyes peeled, don’t leave your drinks laying around. As much as you want to have fun and just let loose, you have to be super aware.

That’s kind of how we were brought up and taught, as a woman, growing up as a woman. But it was an idea that sparked before COVID, actually. Again, I’ve worked in nightlife for a very long time with a company called V5 Group, [which] specializes in Latin events. Our niche, you can say, is reggaeton.

We were just thinking one day, before COVID, ‘What if we throw an all-girls reggaeton party?’ It was just an idea that sparked, and then this was also around the time that Yo Perreo Sola [by Bad Bunny] came out. Then we saw, obviously, how crazy Yo Perreo Sala went and just the feeling that song gives you, the message behind it, the music video. I’m sure you’ve seen the music video.

Sueños

At last year’s Sueños Music Festival, Sorry Papi’s tent offered free hair styling and makeup.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I mean, yeah, and then all the girls wanted to perreo, right? All the girls wanted to!

It literally means, ‘Yo perreo sola,’ ‘I dance alone.’ It was just around that whole time, and then COVID happened, so it never happened. Well … we put a pause on it. Which I feel like was a …

…was a blessing in disguise?

Yes, it was a blessing in disguise because it really gave us time to really marinate on the idea. Within that, we used that time to really brainstorm some more and make what was literally just an idea that was supposed to be a one-off into a big thing.

Yeah, it’s like a brand now.

We didn’t even have the name back then; we were going to call the party ‘Yo Perreo Sola.’ And then a bunch of other people started throwing ‘Yo Perreo Sola,’ and so we’re like, ‘Well, we can’t do that.’ And so, again, once everything started opening up and V5 started to kick back full force again, we brought the idea back with a larger creative team this time. Jackie [Terrazas] was there. And we decided to put it in motion, and obviously the conversation of what should we call it came about, and Jackie actually came up with the name. She was like, ‘What if …’

Who came up with the name Sorry Papi?

She snapped. She really did snap with that one. And, you know, Bad Bunny, that’s another Bad Bunny song. She was like, ‘What if we call it Sorry Papi?’ And everybody had … it was like that, ‘Ooh, wow’ moment, you know? So she really did snap with that one. Jackie is also one of the founders as well. So yeah, everything just came about.

Sorry Papi

Along with reggaeton, Sorry Papi offers its audience pop hits and girl anthems.

Photo courtesy of Sorry Papi

It started as a reggaeton party, but you do branch off when you’re playing into other genres.

We started off initially as a perreo party, and then we did decide to sprinkle some girl anthems here and there. I mean, growing up, we would listen to Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, all those poppy hits. Even going back in time, I feel like those songs really resonate with what we’re going through, and they’re nostalgic, which I feel like … they’re crowd pleasers. We love to be able to sing along with the crowd and just create that vibe.

We [also] started to notice how diverse our audience was. So that is also our way of trying to be inclusive. Not everybody in the crowd is Latina, you see people of all different backgrounds and colors and shapes and sizes. You know what I mean? It’s different, and that was our way of being able to tap in with all girls, not just people who enjoy reggaeton.

How does that party, how is that gonna translate to the stage at Sueños?

It’s a little difficult because it’s a bigger stage. And we have a very limited amount of time, as opposed to having a full five-, six-hour show. I believe our set’s going to be anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.

OK, that’s fast. Even just for one DJ, that’s pretty quick.

iYeah, so it’s going to be a back-to-back set with King [Inesse] and I. We are going to, obviously, play some reggaeton and dembo, and then we are also going to play some girl anthems. We’re gonna play some English girl anthems and we also want to play some girl hip-hop, because the girl hip-hop scene right now is killing it.

Sorry Papi is currently touring and will be doing another stop back in Chicago soon, right?

Yes, in July. We’re gonna get the Ramova this year, which is a smaller venue than the Aragon. Still really, really dope.

If you go: Sorry Papi takes the stage Saturday afternoon at the Sueños Music Festival in Grant Park, 337 E. Grant Park, and throws an “All-Girl Rodeo” on July 6 at the Ramova Theatre, 3520 S. Halsted St.

Nudia Hernandez is the host of Nudia In the Afternoons at Vocalo. Follow her @nudiaonair. Morgan Ciocca is the digital producer for Vocalo. Abigail Harrison is a digital engagement intern for Vocalo.

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