Perhaps more than any other genre, electronic dance music spent the 20th century dominated by male DJs and producers, with only the occasional vocalist such as Björk or Tracey Thorn attaining any sort of notoriety. Consider Sandra Collins the first female DJ to reach superstar status in the late-'90s electronic dance music explosion. By being one of the first American DJs to champion the traditionally Eurocentric sound of trance, she quickly rose to stardom. Her beginnings on the West Coast at rave parties and at clubs led to her eventual entry into the popular Tranceport album series along with a March 2000 cover story for the important New York publication, Mixer.
After an early interest in industrial-flavored techno, it wasn't long before Collins was spinning at the West Coast's infamous desert parties in the early '90s. There her musical style become increasingly melodic and ethereal, influenced by the spiritual desert surroundings. By the mid- to late '90s, she began moving toward the sounds of progressive house and eventually the more epic sounds of trance, much in the style of mid-'90s Sasha and Taylor. By the late '90s, once the elitist class of European trance DJs rose to superstar levels, Collins began moving away from the anthemic sounds that filled the crates of these European DJs and began looking for a more American sound, characterized by West Coast producers such as Deepsky. So on the one hand, she spun trance, a very European sound removed from America, but on the other hand, she favored the handful of American producers in the genre, resulting in a unique sound. This unique sound coupled with Collins' rarity status as a woman garnered her plenty of attention, catapulting her to notoriety seemingly overnight. Many have criticized that she might never have reached such levels of stardom had she been a man. Yet despite this criticism, she was awarded the coveted opportunities to first spin at Woodstock and to mix the third entry in the extremely popular Tranceport series. ~ Jason Birchmeier