To begin with, I’d like to thank Girls That Gig for this opportunity. We often get too caught up in our busy lives to appreciate what we’ve achieved and where it all began, and so it’s been wonderful to reflect back upon my career so far as a DJ and producer.
After each day during high school, I’d visit my boyfriend at the time and watch him practice mixing with only his mouse and the software Virtual DJ. Never thinking about attempting it myself, I’d sit there watching in fascination for hours until one time he turned to me and asked if I wanted to try. To our mutual surprise, I discovered that I instantly had a knack for it. It’s strange to think but perhaps if he’d never thought to ask then my life may have taken an entirely different path.
From that point onward, I decided to dedicate myself to this passion. At first, I did receive a little negative attention, but I’ve now learnt that the people who don’t support you at first are usually the ones who brag about how they’ve known you for years once things start to take off.
I know I still have a long way to go in my journey as a musician, but there’s always more to learn. Currently, I’m in the process of moving to the UK’s underground music capital, Bristol, to study Electronic Music Production at degree level. I’m consciously marking this as the beginning of the next stage in my career and I absolutely cannot wait!
In my sets and productions, I try to incorporate sounds from genres which are often forgotten about. My latest original track ‘Carnival Wubs’ uses influence from the genre Carnival, made famous by producers such as Dismantle and Farkas. Surprising an audience and seeing them give a positive reaction to unfamiliar stylings is one of my favourite things about this line of work.
The project VibeTribe is going to become an all-female DJ/Production workshop which will begin in my home town of Bradford and is organized by two wonderful women and myself. We aim to support all females within the music industry and particularly concentrate on increasing the overall number of female DJs and producers.
Gender stereotyping is an important topic of debate in my life and career and will probably continue to be. This issue is something that I am passionate about and I feel I’ve experienced its extremes. I’ve felt the positive power of female influence in the industry but also sometimes have felt deceived by women I once saw as role models. It’s a shame some females feel they must cheat in order to become successful which inevitably gives us who work years to learn this art form a bad name. I hope that one day women won’t be viewed as such a rarity within careers involving technology, and the stigma which follows it will cease. There’s plenty of girls who would love to enter a career like mine but just lack the confidence to do so, which is not helped by a lack of available resources.
In 2013, I stumbled upon DJ School UK, an ongoing not-for-profit organisation, situated in Leeds, who provide extracurricular tutoring for young people under the age of 25. I owe a lot to the amazing DJs and owners for guiding and supporting me in the early stages of my career. They provided me with so many opportunities and the chance to teach and support young DJs for which I am extremely thankful for.
My underground electronic music event, The Open Deck Night, initially began as a live DJing competition and has now become popular in my local area. Locals were informed to send in submission mixes then selected for an event line-up. Judges from different electronic music backgrounds choose the winner who would be presented with £100 from the event’s takings as a prize.
Running events has helped me gain valuable experience and insight into the gigging industry as a whole. Despite having the responsibility for the safety and satisfaction of over 200 people at once being extremely stressful, I’m proud to say I’ve done it. Upon my move to Bristol, the event will undergo a rebrand, as I intend to bring the event down south. Meanwhile I’ll keep my thinking cap on to ensure its comeback is bigger and better than before!
Learning to produce music was the most strenuous thing I’ve ever accomplished. I’ve witnessed friends give up due to lack of confidence and no matter how many times you try to convince yourself you’re an adequate producer sometimes self-comparison takes over. This is something that still very much affects me but hopefully in the years to come I believe I will be reassured. I consider myself lucky to have discovered so early on that music is what I want to dedicate my life to. Having experienced both my parents stuck in their own mental prisons as a result of their depressing office jobs, it inspired me to ensure I entered a career I enjoy.
I’m so content with the fact I have discovered my place within our society and to have been involved with such a passionate and genuine community. I’ll look forward with anticipation to what the music scene will conjure up next and to what my future will bring. Big up to everyone in this industry working with the correct motives and I hope in ten years’ time I’ll read this with plenty more accomplishments under my belt.
Image: Khayam Shah