Last week the DJ saved my lunch. Which, in turn, probably saved my life from a lifetime of bad burgers. On my typical nine-to-five, I duck out for a salad and promptly return to glue myself to a computer chair. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up to interview my favorite DJ, Samantha Duenas, better known as SoSuperSam, at Shake Shack to experience the ultimate lunch break experience. Sam gave me some food for thought on what DJing is all about, which coast has the better burger, and reinventing the wheel. Yeah, it got pretty intellectual.
Sam is truly super in that girl of all trades way. She went to college in California and came out with a degree in economics, which she promptly used to go into Public Relations...wait, what? "I know!" Sam said, "I did it wrong! But I was always doing something creative. I was in a hip hop dance group in college, and I knew I always wanted to do something with music. Then I sang in a band for a while, and it was great. When we went separate ways I bought my DJ equipment from one of the guys, and I've been DJing for a few years now."
But don't let her do-it-all lifestyle fool you into thinking she's scatterbrained. In fact, she's quite the opposite. In just a few years of DJing, she's managed to put out three stellar mixtapes, tour with up and coming rapper Childish Gambino, and end up moving to New York to DJ full-time. If you didn't think that being a DJ was a serious career choice for anyone but Deadmau5, Sam will have you singing, or listening to a different tune.
(Artwork Credit: Pierre Botardo)
One of her favorite parts about being a DJ? "Introducing people to new music. I've opened my mind so much since I started. I had this idea of what I liked and I was like, okay, I'm going to play this. But then my thing became finding new artists as much as it was playing what I already loved. . . like someone who is really into hip hop like Lil Wayne will tell me they love the sound of Kilo Kish or another indie artist."
Then there's the downfall of people judging her just before she plays simply for being a her. When I asked her if it seems like guys have a different attitude towards female DJs, she said "absolutely. A lot of people don't, but so many dudes have been like, if there's a problem or something 'oh, it's not our equipment.' Basically saying 'you don't know what you're doing.' Like you're just there for no reason." Her advice for anyone, girl or not, who wants to DJ: "learn the basics. Start from square one and learn it until you're absolutely confident before you go digital."
So how can someone with so much skill deal with that kind of preconceived backlash? By being the opposite of what they expect and doing their own thing. I've never seen Sam stray from an absolutely dynamic set that was all her own during a show. Instead of trying to do something for the sake of doing it, she sticks to sharing her own stuff: "Sometimes I get intimidated by this idea about having to reinvent the wheel. But sometimes it's not about reinventing the wheel, rather just sharing what your interpretation of the wheel means to you."
While you're busy putting that on your quote board, listen to Sam's mixtapes and get your own wheels rolling. If there's one lesson we can learn from SoSuperSam, it's that if you do your own authentic thing that you love and you do it right, super success is what you get.
(Photo Credit Rony's Photobooth)