Sunday, 12 August 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
Thursday, 19 July 2012
Hey Mr. D.J. , Thank You For Putting The Record On!
(Musings About My Musical Influences)
Whenever an artist is interviewed, the interviewer never fails to ask –“Who / what were your musical influences?” Since my passion for music endures (and I think will go on for eternity), I dared to ask myself that question too.
Where and how did my love for music start? Ever since I could remember, I feel it has been with me ever since I was born! Just like any other toddler, my mom used to tell me that I would love to move and dance whenever I hear rhythm. As a kid, I would mimic singers and dancers on TV. I studied ballet and dabbled into playing different kinds of music instruments. I do play the guitar, actually.
My teenage years were actually the time of my blooming love affair with music. I was glued to the radio, constantly looking forward to what new song the radio DJ would play next. I knew every single hit song that was on the radio. I had a big LP collection. I was giddy about my music heroes like Information Society, Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, Kylie Minogue, Phil Collins, Duran Duran, A-Ha… I also loved hanging out with friends at dance clubs where new wave and electronic music was so much in vogue. I think these were my early exposures to DJ-ing.
Then getting into college, and eventually getting into law school, then being a lawyer by profession and a model, were great career experiences for me. Yet, in the midst of it all, music was calling me. Sometime in 2005, my music preference evolved into dance and electronica, and I can say that my early DJ heroes were David Guetta and Fatboy Slim. I also happened to come across a DJane, Monica Kruse, who is said to be one of Germany’s most successful techno-DJ. Though I really do not know much about her work, but it gave me a thought bubble – ‘why not be a DJane?!’ Well, the hands of fate must’ve orchestrated it all… In 2008, I had a friend who had some DJ equipment where I had a chance to dabble and play around with. From then on, I got myself some equipment and started DJ-ing as a hobby. At friends’ parties, I would oblige to be their party DJ. Then I was invited to present in a corporate party, which I could say, was my first official gig as a DJ. And the rest, as they say, is history….
The next questions that artists usually get from the press –
“What/who is your dream collaboration?” : I’d say Martin Solveig. He is a
French DJ and his most recent production work is Madonna’s MDNA album.
French DJ and his most recent production work is Madonna’s MDNA album.
“What is the song that you wished you had written?” : “The World Is Mine” by David Guetta. I really wish I could do something like that; amazing beyond words…
“What is your dream concert / gig destination?”: Singapore. Never been or played there, but I hear it has one of the hottest club and dance scenes.
There are certain moments in my life as a DJ where I feel like I, myself, is like a record spinning round and round. I go from one gig to the next, I produce songs, I teach DJ-ing…I’m really swamped with work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. I really feel blessed that this career path that I’ve chosen has been fruitful and fulfilling. Though, I must admit, it has not always been a bed of roses; but every victory, every pitfall is a product of my enduring passion for music. With this, I say…thank you for the music, thank you for spinning those records, Mr. D.J.!
Saturday, 9 June 2012
Hey Soldier! Last Night, A DJane Saved My Life…
First of all, my apologies for not being able to post on this blog for quite some time. Again, my profession as a DJ has taken me to another part of the globe, which I shall share to you as you read on… I’m sorry if I kept you waiting, but just sit tight because I’ll fill you in on my most recent adventure…
31st March 2012: I was at Brandon, a small town in the English county of Suffolk, England. It is still considered a rural town with a little more than 8,000 population. Perhaps in the back of your minds, you’re wondering – ‘is there a dance club in that small town?’ Well, yes, but not quite. Within that small town is a village called Lakenheath, which hosts the largest US Air Force base in the United Kingdom. And there I was, a Djane tasked to play music inside the US military base. Say whut???!! I couldn’t believe it myself either. It felt like a tall order. My audience was not your typical club night owls. They are soldiers. How could I make these men in uniform dance the night away? Extra challenge indeed.
Entering the military facility was quite a stark contrast to it’s rural locale. There was this city within the base that walked, talked, and breathed all-American. Perhaps this is what they say about stepping inside a twilight zone; it was a completely different world inside. It was like Las Vegas, New York, and California all rolled into one. And as I was brought to the club where I’m supposed to play --- I felt my eyes lit up. Ultra-hip and modern from the interiors down to the DJ equipment and facilities. When my gig started, with majority of solidiers, along with their family members walking-in, I already had a sense of what type of music to play…oh yeah, who could go wrong with hip-hop music with a crowd like this?! And as the party closed at 2 AM, I was greeted by well wishers who said that they never seen these soldiers dance like this before.
These soldiers put their lives on the line for the love of country, the security of fellowmen. As a DJane that night, I felt that I owe these men and women a night to celebrate life -- the lives that they are willing to give up in order to save others. A DJane like me may not be able to literally save lives, but I hope the music that I played gave these soldiers a reason to savor the joy of life…
With this I can proudly say, mission accomplished!
Friday, 27 January 2012
Yes, I’m a DJ by night, but I too, just like ordinary people, have a day job – I’m a teacher, a DJ teacher. Well, DJ-ing is a big passion for me. An overflowing love for my craft has led me to this calling, that is, to share my knowledge, experience, and give encouragement and inspiration, to those who want to pursue DJ-ing as a career or even as a hobby.
I too, was once a student DJ. Back in 2009, I studied at the London’s Ministry of Sound DJ Academy. I learned so much about DJ-ing techniques, but more importantly, I learned about professionalism. I don’t mean to brag, yet may I just relate that out of 25 students, I was one of the top 3 student DJs invited by the DJ Academy to play in an event of over 3,000 people with none other than world renowned DJ Eric Morillo in the house! It was a pretty overwhelming experience for me as a ‘beginner’ DJ, yet this experience toughened me up. It gave me the confidence to pursue and the drive to always strive for excellence. Then one thing led to another... I was also entrusted by the Ministry of Sound to host the DJ Academy here in Switzerland. This workshop flies-in the best DJ instructors from the UK. If you want to experience this learning opportunity, plus the chance to get a booking in the Ministry Club in London, regularly check out my website for announcements regarding class workshop schedules.
So what does it mean for me to be a teacher? I have to take back my statement earlier – I don’t consider being a DJ teacher a job. It’s a fun time for me; I don’t feel like working at all! I love the learning exchange process. I teach my students, and I learn so much from them as well. Whenever I give them tasks, it’s such a source of wonder for me to see them develop new ideas, new methods, and really cull-in from their creative energies and produce amazing pieces of work. As a teacher, I have all the professional equipment needed to give them a simulation of a real club. I do one-on-one teaching so I’m really hands-on. I teach the techniques, but above all, I would like to impart insights from my professional experience like connecting with people, negotiating with club owners, discipline and motivation. For some, computers have taken over personal skills, which I don’t really favour. Music is heart and soul, so it should come from the person and not from the machine. Investing in knowledge is the key if one wants to grow and evolve; it’s not always about equipment and techniques.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
Proud to be a DJane! Experiences and Realizations from Doha, Qatar
Hello everyone! I am still in very high spirits as I write this. I’ve still got a new year hangover from my one of my latest gigs -- a New Year’s Eve party at the Crystal Lounge, at the W Hotel in Doha, Qatar. Saying that it was a blast, is quite an understatement. I was feeding those party people from Qatar infectious and mind-blowing music, but they reciprocated back with such oozing, vibrant energy that still flows inside of me to this day! I just couldn’t shake it off!
Well, when I first got this invitation, my first reaction was -- ‘seriously, they want a woman dj to play in a country in the Middle East?!’ I’ve never been to Qatar before, so I did my homework. I did some research in the internet so as to give me an idea on how I would make myself blend-in to their culture that is known to be religious, conservative, and protective of women.
Setting foot on Qatar, I can say, is like seeing two separate worlds unfolding right before my very eyes. On one end, the traditional local culture is so solid, yet I am also gravitated towards the grandeur and the luxury of the modern world as well. Yes, they have the best of both worlds, so to speak. In coming up with my playlist, I felt kinda lost at first because I didn’t know what the crowd’s preferences in music were. I just counted on my instincts, and started spinning songs ranging from tribal, electronica, and more commercial dance music. And at the strike of midnight, that’s when the crowd started partyin’! From midnight til about 2:30 am, it was non-stop dancing, jumping, and grooving. I was definitely moved by the vibe and the energy. What I loved about the crowd was they were so expressive and appreciative of me on how they loved the music, how I made them feel good about the songs that moved them to let their hair down and dance.
This experience of mine made me step back and look at my profession from the perspective that women DJs like me or ‘DJanes’, are just but a tiny speck compared to the male DJs who lord over this industry or profession. At times, I have my apprehensions and insecurities of measuring up to expectations or preconceptions. But my experience in Qatar taught me how to be more confident in myself, in what I am capable of doing. For a Middle East country that has very traditional and conservative views regarding women, and the mere fact that they entrusted what is predominantly ‘a man’s job’ to me --a woman, I figured I must be doing something right and something good. In a way, I am proud of myself because in my own humble way, I’m a catalyst of change. I realized that DJing is not about a battle of the sexes. It’s about building your own power from within, giving your best, honing your craft, connecting with people through great music, good vibes, and pure energy.
As they say, pictures speak a thousand words. My words really are not enough to express and illustrate the vibrant and amazing night ushering in the new year 2012 at the Crystal Lounge, W Hotel in Doha, Qatar. Check out the photos from my Facebook page: Crystal Lounge @ W Hotel in Doha, Qatar photo album
And who said pictures are enough? Now get a piece of the action by dowloading my latest set mix, made especially for this gig at the Crystal Lounge: Finest new years mix @ W Doha crystal lounge - Miss Diamond DJ
And now, go for the real thing at catch me in my upcoming gigs:
January 13, Friday 10:00pm
Friday, January 20 at 9:00pm