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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

DJ Ray On The Lessons She Learned From Her First Gig And Backstage Experiences

  • IWB Post
  •  July 9, 2019

Not sure what to do this weekend? Well, if you are a music fanatic (just like all of us at IWB), you will not be wrong if you find out where DJ Ray is performing next.

Uber cool, vivacious, and oh so spontaneous, DJ Ray is sure to catch your attention, first by her music, then by her cool DJ avatar, and most importantly, with everything that she has to say. In a recent interaction that she had with IWB, DJ Ray shared with us the memories and lessons from her first gig, the good that comes out of all the backstage commotion, and how Sunburn has been playing a vital role in making DJing more inclusive in India:

Here are the excerpts:

To begin with, take us back to your first gig. How do you remember it and tell us the biggest lesson that you learned from it?

The first formal commercial performance that I did was VH1 Supersonic campus gig at Delhi Technical University in February 2016. I had like 3000-4000 people in front of me and since it was my first gig so I was anyway losing my wits (laughs).

So, what happened was I wore pretty high heels to the gig and my biggest lesson was that pick comfortable fashion and it has stayed with me throughout. When you are doing a gig, the major part of your show involves crowd interaction and when you aren’t comfortable in what you are wearing then it’s a disaster. So, no high heels and comfortable fashion.

Wow, that’s one practical advice right there! 

Yeah! Also, I learned to prepare but not over prepare. I did prepare, I remember, but I also thought that I will go with the flow and it helped. Spontaneity, I think, has its own charm and I think it always works.

Recently, as the #MeToo movement unfurled in the country, it also made its presence felt in the music industry. How do you think it has impacted the industry?

I think #MeToo has really evolved from a movement to a phenomenon. I would say it has been like a stand in solidarity for all those who have been hurt or abused. It has really given out the message that the survivors and those who have suffered are not alone and that the shame is not theirs in the first place and thus, they should not be embarrassed to talk about it. From what I see, I can say that this movement has really inspired people to take a stand against any behavior that objectifies women.

Let us look at backstage experiences to define your journey as a DJ in India. Give us a sneak peek into what it’s really like.

There are no two ways that backstage is an incredible experience in itself, sometimes far more exciting and enriching than being on stage. When you are doing big shows like Sunburn, it is the place to meet other artists where you can discuss music, share ideas, and even collaborate. It is the place where you have those crazy nerve-wracking conversations, it is the place where you make last minute performance strategies, have conversations with your photographers, videographers, and it is the place where you celebrate your show’s success. So most of it happens really at the backstage. Also, it is the backstage where you get showered with so much love from your fans and audience. Backstage, I would say, is very precious to me.

Sunburn being Asia’s largest music festival can contribute immensely to how female DJs are approached and received in the country. How do you think it is working in that direction? Has it become more inclusive (in terms of the performing DJs) over the years?

Well as you just said, Sunburn is the biggest and the most reputed music festival around Asia. So, obviously for everyone who gets associated with it, its a feeling of empowerment.

The greatest factor here is that the qualifying factor to perform at a stage like Sunburn is your music and your performance skills. Whether you are male or female has nothing to do with your selection. Thus, talent is the only demarcation here, which I think is the greatest degree of achievement in an industry which is generally considered male-dominated. It is a place where music is celebrated along with the spirit of togetherness. Being a part of Sunburn makes you feel so much like the part of a phenomenon where you feel like you belong, which makes it an incredible platform.

Can you curate an impromptu playlist for a weekend party that would instantly get our readers grooving?

Well why not! So, first I think would be Taki Taki, DJ Snake. Then there would be something like God’s Plan. Then we can maybe mix some Cardi B. Then there has to be some Post Malone, followed by something from Bryan Adams or Linkin Park and a celebrated artist like Avicii for sure. So basically it has to be like a mix of new, pop, and old.

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