[INTERVIEW] SYDNEY BLU

[INTERVIEW] SYDNEY BLU

(photo cred: alec donnell luna)
Sydney Blu has been building her career in dance music for over a decade - to take stock of what she’s done is to look back at her chart-topping success on Beatport, with consistent releases on renowned labels, constant touring as a DJ with appearances at major festivals and clubs globally, the Blu brand and Blu Parties, which attract massive industry talent, her label, Blu Music, her weekly radio show, and I wonder if I’m still leaving something out. We sat down to chat at Sunnyside Pavillion’s cafe patio at sunset, overlooking Lake Ontario, while the Blu Party was in full swing next door. We talked all things Blu Party, hard work, inspiration, looking back and taking time for herself (i.e. staying sane) amidst it all. Her latest release, 'Too Clean' a rolling, bass-heavy, vocal banger, came out last week on Toolroom. Enjoy this feature with insights and honesty from this prolific contributor to the underground scene!

How’s it going? How’s today for you?

It’s been a really long, exhausting day but it’s amazing. I work so hard on these shows. They’re different than obviously a regular DJ gig where I show up, I DJ, I go home or back to the hotel. It’s different. I’m involved in this event in every aspect: from the portapotties, to the DJs, to the door, to the promoters, to the local talent, to everything, the decor… Like, every single aspect of the show I’ve been involved in. So, it’s a big production and it’s been a lot of work. Just even getting here today was the biggest challenge.

Are you in Toronto these days?

I am in Toronto yeah, but I had to do a lot of running around and everything. We got here, we were setting up, you know, hanging decor and then doors open. Now we’ve been going, I DJ’d and had a great set and it was wonderful. The crowd is here now and it’s packed. And the DJs that we bring in from out of town, it’s important to me to take care of them too, and they’re having a great time, so that’s good.

How did this all happen? You’ve got your label, your brand, your party.. When you first started, did you think this is what it was going to be?

When I started to DJ, when I started my career 16 years ago, I had hopes and dreams that it would be fucking crazy, you know? I had little stepping stone dreams too. Like, I just wanted to be able to travel, and then I got to do that, and then of course you’re always wanting more. If you’re a person that’s motivated and craves success and is hardworking you always want more, and it’s hard to stop sometimes. You go, wait, I did all this already? I have an issue with [not] doing that and I should do it more. I try to stop and do that sometimes. But, when I started the Blu brand, which was 2008/09, I had a cool idea for a party. It was just for one party in Miami, and I thought it’d go good. I didn’t necessarily think, oh my god, let’s take it on the road and do this in different cities across North America! It’s been really cool to have been able to do that. I want to do everything. I’m a really hardworking person and with everything that I’m doing I want to do so much more, so… I’d love to take this to Europe, I’d love to play bigger shows, I’d like to host bigger shows and hopefully I’ll do that, you know? It’s definitely what I’m meant to do.

(photo cred: alec donnell luna)

With everything you’ve done, what does success mean to you?

Success is looking back on everything and having people come up to me and remind me that I’ve done something right. Like I said, sometimes I don’t stop and realize it. Sometimes you’re just like, what’s next, what’s next? And you don’t go wait, I did all this. So I guess having people remind me, maybe? I don’t know why it takes somebody else to remind me but..

A lot of it has to do with even coming back to Toronto after I’d been away for so long, and people going, wow, you know, you were one of the first girl DJs in the city to do something, and now there are all these girl DJs. Somebody saying that to me makes me feel good because there wasn’t a lot of girl DJs when I started, and now there are a lot. To hear they look up to me means so much. I wasn’t trying to do that, I was just trying to be really successful on my own. I wasn’t trying to be a role model or anything. So when somebody comes up and says something like that to me, which I’ve had, that means a lot. I didn’t set out to do that, but the fact that they say that is great.

What’s the most meaningful part of this whole trajectory?

Being able to do what I love and being in my element. Being here with all these people that have come to see something that I thought up in my head, you know? I have an idea and I’m like, let’s do it. I want to do it and I want to make it happen. When I can make it happen and see it happen, it’s a pretty cool feeling. I’m a daydreamer, so…

I feel like there’s a lot of power in that. What keeps you inspired and grounded?

Consistently seeing amazing things like other festivals, parties, music, DJs. Everything that I love and when I’m out and see something new and I love it - that’s what keeps me going. I love listening to music, that’s what I made my career out of, and every week there’s amazing, incredible new electronic music that comes out and I have a radio show that showcases that. So that makes me tick.

Do you have time for yourself amidst all of this? Although, it sounds like you’re in your own element all the time..

I do, I really do try to make time for myself. I do yoga, I have a dog that I love dearly, like he’s my child. I’m alone a lot in my home working. I work crazy hours, like all day, all night, everyday Monday to Friday, and the DJing is the bonus at the end of the week at this point. But the Monday to Friday, I work longer hours probaby than a person who has a 9-5 job because they end their work at 5, I don’t end my work at 5. I do yoga though, like I said, I take breaks I spend time with my dog, I walk my dog. I do what I need to do to keep sane (laughter).

What’s next for you?

I’ve been writing music like crazy lately, releasing a whole bunch of new music. I have a track coming out next week on Toolroom, I think it’s going to do really well…

What’s it called?

Too Clean

I was going to ask you about that! Love the vocals..

Yeah, Cari Golden!


You use a lot of cool vocalists.. I saw you play where Starving Yet Full sang with you in Toronto, and Lea Luna..

Yeah, yeah! This girls amazing and she’s a legendary singer, she’s done a whole bunch of work with a whole bunch of other artists and I just think this track’s going to do really well. It’s got like 6000 plays on the Toolroom Soundcloud right now, and yeah, it comes out next week. In addition to that I have a whole bunch of other new music, I’m shopping it, I’m releasing it on several different labels. I have this EP coming out on Kinetika right after that and I’m touring, going to Europe - there’s a lot going on. There’ll be more Blu parties definitely, coming up soon. I need a little break oh my god - I just did Detroit, like four weeks ago, not even, three weeks ago, I don’t even know. But Detroit was not long ago, and then I jumped right into this so I need a little Blu Party down time (laughter) and then we’ll start planning our next ones. I think we’re going to be doing a couple of them in the fall. I think there will be one in Chicago coming up, New York City is in discussions right now, and I think we’re going to be going back to Miami in March, so there’s a lot coming up.

Just to close it out here, is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans, to the people out there?

Thank you! I love you guys and thank you so much for the support I mean, I can’t keep doing what I’m doing without the support - I really appreciate it. I’m really grateful that people are here today, because I was able to bring this party here to Toronto and it’s going pretty well, so, thank you!!! (Laughter) That’s what I want to say, thank you.

Thank you for your time!

Awesome!

 

Many thanks to Sydney Blu for taking the time to talk, and also to LCPR for setting up the interview!

 


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