From the boardroom to the stage, DJ Dowager has a dominating presence, having gone from the Highest Club in Singapore, 1Altitude, to touring the Philippines with the hottest Race Queens in the world, Dowager has been called the Queen of Console by Jagermeister and dubbed the Empress of the Decks.
Having just ranked 4th in Asia by DJane Mag, we got to sit down with the Empress herself to ask her about how she got to where she is today.
ADM: So how and when did you start DJing?
DD: In the early 2010s, one of my friends, Emilio, who was a DJ at the time had suggested that I should give DJing a try. After a few months of training he felt that I had a talent for it and since I’ve already made my name as a blogger at that time, it would be good for us to work on a brand together.
Eventually, he went on to be an instructor in a DJ academy and I was scouted by an entertainment company after participating in a pageant.
With another year of training under a few industry veterans after joining the company, I made my debut in Pangea in 2012.
ADM: So after your debut what was the most memorable show you’ve ever played?
DD: The Hot Import Nights Tour in the Philippines! I was the special guest DJ selected to tour with some of the hottest car show models from the USA.
It was a unique experience at that time since it wasn't what I was used to. The crowd was totally sober and there for the cars, it wasn't easy but I was lucky enough to get them going and everyone has a great time.
My favourite part was that we had bodyguards with guns. Even when we went out shopping the guards would help us get through the crowds easily and we felt super safe.
The other thing I loved about the tour was the food. I had a good time giving Balut a try and all the models were having a good time watching me eat it for the first time.
ADM: Could you tell us how you got your title from Jagermeister?
DD: During my debut at Pangea I was spotted by the brand and they decided to give me that title.
Afterwards, they did a feature on me that I feel it added up to everything else that I had at the time which helped jump start my career, giving me a boost to get ahead at the time.
ADM: What would you say was the toughest thing you’ve faced in the Industry?
DD: When I first started, the toughest challenge was something as simple as being accepted as a female DJ.
Some of the male DJs felt that female DJs didn't deserve to have space in the industry at the time. There wasn't really anything else to do but to work through the criticism and the stereotypes that they held for us.
It didn't help that some of the female DJs at the time were caught using mixtapes and copied playlists during the time.
As for right now, I feel the biggest difficulty I'm facing is the heavy saturation of female DJs who have just started. I don't see it as a problem but I treat it as a sign for me to start evolving my position in the industry to become someone who should mentor younger DJs and make room for up and coming DJs. That way I can keep working at something I love while helping the industry grow and pushing up young talents who deserve a spot.
ADM: Why do you think it’s tougher for female DJ’s to be taken seriously over their male counterparts?
DD: DJing itself is a rather technical discipline so it's normal for people to immediately assume that Males are better at DJing than we are. Sure enough, when I started there was a lot of technology and DJing aids that helped me at the beginning.
At the same time that was also the rise of the model DJ and with the influx of female DJs after the lowering of the barrier of entry due to technology, that's a reason why I feel female DJs might not be taken as seriously as their male counterparts.
ADM: What then would you think could be done to make the industry a more balanced playing field for the future DJ’s?
DD: For myself, I think it's extremely important that DJs become more united and inclusive. There are a lot of interesting shows and concepts out there that could be pushed out to create a better audience experience!
With so many niche genres around I know it's not easy for every genre to get it's 15 minutes of fame but by working together DJs can help bring more of these underground genres to light.
One thing I feel that could help make the industry would be for everyone to allow DJs to evolve and better their playing.
Most DJs are open-minded and flexible with their music and that's a great thing but there are situations where DJs are forced into a concept that might not be the fit for the audience at the moment.
It'll be great if there was more breathing space for DJs to do their thing and move with the audience, that way we're able to help push out more music as well as help create new and better experiences for the people attending.
Lastly, I know that in time more female DJs will definitely show that we have equal standing in the industry through our perseverance and professionalism.
ADM: Is there a specific show or location that you would love to play?
The atmosphere and ambience is something that appeals to me!
I'm a person who likes vibing with the crowd, so the energy of the place will definitely be something I enjoy!
They've also been really instrumental in pushing out Bass Music which is something I'm a really big fan of.
ADM: What would you like to say to any up and coming female DJs out there?
DD: I think it’s important to build your foundation and look at your goals in the long-term.
Always remember that reputation is the key in the industry. Keep believing in yourself and fight through the criticism to earn your spot in the industry.
I hope more female DJs will continuously come in to prove that we have an equal claim to our spot in the industry.
You can find DJ Dowager at her social media below