• Tuesday, June 28, 2022

E-GUIDE

DJ Fizza is spinning her way to success

BREAKING BARRIERS: DJ Fizza

By: Manju Chandran

RISING STAR ON MAKING IT BIG IN A MALE-DOMINATED FIELD

by ASJAD NAZIR

DJING and music production have always been a male-dominated domain, but the balance is shifting and new talents are smashing glass ceilings with their explosive talent. One bright young star breaking down barriers is Toronto-based DJ Fizza. The DJ, music producer and radio host has mixed up diverse musical projects with superb solo skills on the decks. That ability to spin different genres, including hip hop, r’n’b, EDM, deep house, old school, Berlin underground, Spanish, Bollywood and everything in between has seen her entertain crowds at big venues. Eastern Eye caught up with DJ Fizza to talk about music, DJing, inspirations and smashing her way into male dominated domains like a boss.

What first connected you to music?
I come from a background of many different types of music, starting from my parents. We are a music family. I was blessed to be surrounded by lots of different music from a very young age, so I grew up with a love and passion for music.

What led you towards DJing?
I still don’t know how I had the courage to do it, Asjad. I always wanted to be a DJ growing up as a little girl, but there were so many barriers. As I got older, and would be in the nightlife scene, I would just watch and analyse DJs. Finally, I think there was a time where I was like – yep, I can totally do that. I got really lucky that some of my DJ friends took the time to jam with me and teach me the ropes when I bought my first Technics. I really just bought them as a hobby and love for music. I never thought I’d be DJing in public. Then one event led to another, and then came some club residencies and here we are.

What was the biggest challenge of establishing yourself as a DJ?
At first I used to get annoyed at people who look at me as some chick behind the decks, just dancing around with headphones on. DJing and curating an event takes a lot of time and effort, along with skill. I’m not going to lie; I’ve received a lot of slack from a lot of male ‘friends’ in my own industry who have tried to put me down for whatever reason. As always in my life, I cut out that noise and continue to do me. (Laughs) Haters gonna hate!

What is the secret of making it in a male dominated DJing domain?
Good question! I think there is a niche for everyone in this industry. Some gigs that suit me well may not suit someone else. In this day and age where we are actually trying to diminish male/female gender roles, but unfortunately in a male-dominated industry, it does exist. I think the best thing I would tell any female artist looking to get into this industry is to just do you. People will doubt you and treat you the way their ego wants to, but at the end of the day, that’s a reflection of them and not you.

Tell us about the kind of music that you play and mix?
It’s so diverse. Right now during quarantine, I did a few live streams. And every time I do a live stream, it’s a different genre. The first one I did was more hip hop/r’n’b, the next was a house music set and the following live stream was a 1990’s hip hop set. So honestly, going back to my musical background, I really have a passion for just music. All music! It just depends on my mood. And I can tell you that this skill really helps me for different events, settings and demographics, which I pride myself on.

Do you have any go-to tracks as a DJ that never fail?
Sometimes. But I try not to be that DJ who plays the ‘same set’. So I may have a go-to that works during the time or era, but I really try to make sure each event has songs that are carefully handpicked and curated to suit the event.

How big is your music collection and how do you stay on top of it?
Massive. So massive that I’ve had multiple computer crashes and many thousands of gigs on external hard drives. I try to stay on top of it by ensuring all music goes into the right genre and crate. Every DJ has their own way of organising their music in their head, so whatever works (laughs).

What has been your most memorable DJing gig?
There have been so many. I’d say  DJing the official opening party for the NBA ALL Star in Toronto was awesome. Being in the presence of some of my heroes like astronaut Chris Hadfield and Masai Ujiri was really cool. Also, all of the NBA team owners like Usher and Mark Cuban were there, along with Toronto’s own Drake. I’ll never forget that night. DJing for Fortune Magazine in the presence of our prime minister Justin Trudeau was pretty cool too. My favourite events are always fashion related though.

Where does music production fit in?
I used to produce a lot. Three of my tracks made it to the top 100 house music tracks on Beatport, which I was very proud of. However, time goes on and personal time becomes more limited, so although I love playing around with beats and production, I haven’t had time recently to actually sit down and organise something. Perhaps quarantine will give me this time.

In terms of creating music and mixes, who are your inspirations?
I find Toronto’s own Clymaxxx a huge inspiration. I love the way he DJ’s. It’s very quick, and he mixes a lot of genres in one mix. I love that. I try and echo that style, but also make it my own, which is super upbeat and fun.

What else can we expect from you?
Well, the world has literally stopped with lockdown. But God willing, inshallah, as soon as we are back up, I cannot wait to share some good news for 2021.

Do you have a master plan?
(Laughs) I hope so.

What are your passions away from music?
Family time, travel and fashion.

Why do you love music?
Music is life. It has the power to stimulate your mind, take you back in time, lift your soul and bring you down.

Visit www.djfizza.com, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Soundcloud: @DJ Fizza

Eastern Eye

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