Meet DJ Jazzy, Fringe Face for 2019 and a Passionate Advocate for Fun
When one hears the phrase ‘dance party’ it typically conjures pictures of late night dancing in dimly lit clubs reserved only for those above a certain age. In this way the act of communal dancing for leisure is something many people would subconsciously associate with adulthood. But the benefits of dancing are well documented and they transcend age and gender, so why then should adults get to have all the fun? This is the question asked by DJ Jazzy, a producer, singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer and filmmaker from Sydney.
For over five years she has been making dance music and performing live shows that are catered specifically for children. Like any other club she spins the decks to get the kids up and dancing, but the music has been lovingly written to spread positive, uplifting messages for the kids, helping them build confidence and a sense of community. She has toured her shows across the country, featured on kids’ TV, and even brings her ethos and expertise to local councils and youth groups to help foster healthy habits and mental wellbeing in children everywhere. Her tunes are pumping, her lyrics are inspired, and above all she is a passionate advocate for the simple act of having fun.
We spoke to DJ Jazzy, one of our 2019 Fringe Faces, about making music for children and the enduring power of dancing for the human soul.
You come from a very musical family, when did you know you wanted to make a career of it yourself?
There was never a point in my life where I had that ‘light bulb’ moment where I said to myself “this is what I want to do for a career”. Music, dance, singing and creating is just something I was born to do and I always knew I was going to be doing this for my entire life!
You’ve got a very distinct look as a performer and you make many of your own costumes. Can you walk us through your visual style?
Ever since I was younger, I have been obsessed with being different. I love wearing things that stand out and are expressive! I think my favourite items that are a must with every outfit I wear are my crazy shoes, sunglasses, lots of accessories and a really cool jacket!
You write and produce all your music for a young audience; at its best what can music do for kids?
Music is important for everyone. As I write uplifting / party music, it’s all about taking kids to a happy place. Making them feel inspired, feel positive and especially feel like they want to get up and dance. Everything I write revolves around these thoughts; how people will dance to this? What are the dance moves I’m going to do when I sing it? What can I get the audience to do?
Traditionally DJs tend to work in quite adult spaces like nightclubs and festivals. What do you think we can take from those spaces for younger audiences?
Nearly everyone loves to get up a dance with their friends to some great music. Young people love dancing just as much as adults do, and they love shows even more! When you are young you are full of energy, full of passion and ready to just burst out with some awesome dance moves. The thing that I love about my audience is that all they need is themselves. They stand in the crowd and they are ready to get up, jump and dance. They make new friends in the audience and we all really connect with each other. Adults have so many options to go out and have “fun”, there are shows, nightclubs and the list goes on… There aren’t actually enough events that families can go to where they can let the kids have fun and dance.
Tell us about your dance crew, The Day Dreamers and the inspiration behind this program?
I am very passionate about creating platforms for young people and sharing my platform with other young performers. There are not enough performance opportunities for young people and I feel so blessed to be able to give opportunities to creative talented children. The Day Dreamers is a not for profit development program for dancers. This program is aimed at giving kids from all different walks of life the opportunity to follow their dreams and to be mentored by myself and also industry professionals in a safe and positive environment. I created The Day Dreamers so I can train young performers and their parents in all areas of the industry. I work with The Day Dreamers weekly where they are trained and supported in a non-competitive environment. The Day Dreamers are then given the opportunity to perform alongside me at live performances to help build confidence and gain live experience that most young performers would not have access to at such a high level.
Part of your brand is focussed on kids’ overall wellbeing. What in your view makes for a balanced lifestyle?
Mental Health is everything to me. I think that it is so important that from an early age a child can learn how to cope with all the feelings and issues they face. As a child you are still learning your own emotions, you are still learning about friendship, learning about yourself and to be honest it’s actually very overwhelming sometimes. I try to be the best role model I can be for young people and try to push my message across everything I do. I want young people to feel confident, to know they can be themselves, to know that they are incredible, to know that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes but then also to know what to do when you are feeling down. I think the world needs to focus more young people’s mental health even before anything else. If a child is confident and feels good about themselves then they are going to excel in everything else because they have the right state of mind to achieve incredible things.
In 2016 you released your debut album Get Whacky. What’s the story behind the title?
Getting whacky is all about being crazy, having fun, being who you are and just embracing being different. I loved the concept that we were all born to stand out and being the same as everyone else I feel is boring. In reality we are all very different, no one is the same and that’s a great thing. I also loved the concept that getting whacky tied in with a dance style called “waacking”.
You’ve toured your shows all around Australia, what’s been your favourite venue to perform in and why?
That’s a really tough question! Though I am going to have to say that it was when I preformed at Cronulla on Australia Day, purely because I am a Shire girl and Cronulla is my favourite place in the world as I love the beach... so it was so awesome to combine doing what I love and being where I love.
What does your process look like when writing your music and lyrics?
I love creating music first. I get inspired by music to write melodies. I also get inspired by quotes! So, when I’ve laid down some beats and some chords, I start looking at quotes on Pinterest and see which ones I get drawn to. Then the process just continues from there.
What do you love about Sydney?
I have lived in Sydney my entire life and to be honest I don’t think I could ever leave it. I love Sydney, the beaches and how everything is so close. I love all the people around me and It is honestly just an incredible place not to mention the most beautiful place on earth!
What does the Sydney Fringe mean to you?
It is a creative platform where Art is put up on a pedestal for everyone to come and see! I am just so excited to be a part of this year’s celebrations and even more excited because it is my city.