Pursuing a career in such a male dominated field has its challenges, the KISS FRESH presenter and well known House Music DJ AmyElle points out. Sitting down with Student Pages, she explains how these either manifest themselves through sexist comments about skill or just being made to feel inferior. Recalling her first ever DJ set, where she walked in with her friend (who was male) and everyone assumed she was his girlfriend; or that he was there to keep her in check when djing.
“It is intimidating sometimes but I’m always so motivated to push the boundaries and I’m here try to make the gender balance as close to 50/50 as possible, change the perception of a female dj, and to inspire females to step forward and get into the scene!”
We caught up with Amy following the release of her latest single “Need You Now”. A track the artist explains she was keen to retain “peak time” use; whilst at the same time offering a more emotional melodic record that could tug on the heart strings. A track about appreciating the important things in life, from family through to close friends and places of sentimental purpose. The DJ keen to see her music stand the test of time and hit the audience in a very genuine and authentic way, whilst simultaneously pushing her creative boundaries past their limits.
She remembers how the first time she picked up her cousin’s guitar at a young age, she was instantly hooked. Recalling how she was luckily enough to get lessons in guitar and piano, which subsequently led to singing and songwriting soon after. “I just knew I wanted to do music and my parents would always have all sorts of records blaring about the house”. Going onto study music at LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts), allowing her to the opportunity to get herself involved within dance music as well as music production.
AmyElle loves each of her releases for different reasons, she explains. This being said, she references ‘Feel The Heat’ as having a very special place in her heart as it was her first track to hit 1million streams on Spotify. In addition to the enjoyment she gets from playing this track live. Euphoria!, she explains is the penultimate emotion she wants her listeners to feel through her music. To get lost in her sets and take them on a journey through all different emotions by dipping from more heavy records to more melodic sounds.
Not one to grow up around raves and house music; AmyElle explains how she collected every ‘Now CD’ and started listening and writing music similar to artists like Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua. She remembers how back at her days at LIPA; electronic music was starting to blow up in the charts and she was obsessed with finding the new sounds and trends.
“I was singing to electronic backing tracks but just never got a buzz and one day I bought some decks off eBay and from there got into the world of house.. I then tried to go to as many raves as possible just to teach myself the world.. never looked back since!”
She explains that the music industry as a whole is so closely connected even though it seems massive, especially the dance music industry. Constantly surprised at how you end up knowing everyone. “As a DJ, I want to play other djs tunes – either supporting on my radio shows or in my DJ sets, that’s the nature of the job and there’s so much more joy playing a record when I know the person behind it”. The DJ is keen to see more females and other minority groups gaining the confidence to pursue a career in the electronic music industry. With special mention to Spotify who she feels are doing an incredible job with supporting females, with great labels like HE.SHE.THEY, and organisations starting up like Jaguars Future 1000 program.
Getting connected on social media, being active and staying one step ahead of what is happening, identifying new ways to get noticed and being your authentic self is key to making it as an artist/DJ, she explains. Knowing your industry and the tastemakers, in addition to other musicians as well. To seek collaborations at every juncture, and support others! To work hard and belive in yourself, and accept that things do not need to be perfect. Highlighting that you learn a lot more with doing than simply planning.
Amy opens up about being lucky enough to not have crossed any big challenges so far, apart from silly sexist comments which only fuel her to do more! “I think switching off is a problem for me. I find it hard to just stop work for a second and focus on myself”. She is currently working on a lot of club music in addition to more melodic vocal driven tracks. “I’m getting in the studio with all sorts of people and collaborating which is so amazing. I’m just writing everything I want right now, pushing boundaries and seeing where it ends up”.
2022 is scheduled to be her first full year of touring. With some shows that she can’t announce just yet that are big bucket list moments for her. “I’d also like to plan a tour in America and party more with the crazy Scottish crowds!! In terms of music, I’m sitting on some releases I’m really happy with and I hope you bloody love it!” #watchthisspace