We had the good fortune of connecting with DJ Rap and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi DJ Rap, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have always viewed my business from the point of view of an entrepreneur. There is a simple reason for this, I enjoy the business end, I enjoy building things, and I enjoy the creative process. Basically, I enjoy all elements of the joys and challenges, I especially love overcoming challenges and adversity, it turns me on. Now, does that mean I’m in love with everything I do every second of the day? NO! many times I question my sanity, the hours and effort Vs reward, but when you have a calling, you have no choice but to answer. I do not view myself as a DJ, that is far too linear, I am an artist, but I am a brand. The two go hand in hand. Everything I do in it’s messaging points to that, from marketing, play on words artwork, and sound, it’s all multidimensional. When I moved back to England after spending the last 20 years in LA I made. conscious effort to focus on a subscription service that would allow me to flex my creative muscles in every way. It has been a dream of mine for a long time. I was tired of the confines of djing, the same formula, the same tunes, no one really doing anything different, the charts sounding like a copy of a copy of a copy. Are we sheep? Never did I imagine this would happen through a pandemic. But here we are and I was ready. When luck meets preparedness, it creates opportunity. I was streaming before the world really knew what was happening, pure vinyl sets as well as modern sets, a different genre every week, why? Because I had this amazing vinyl collection and I wanted to put it to good use and show the new audience the music they are listening today actually comes from these origins, the origins of EDM today. It was a chance, a captive audience needing to be entertained, hungry to be exposed to what a music collection sounded like, not just what you heard every DJ play in and out of every show. Turns out, they already knew and lapped it up and just wanted more. Seems to me like they were just as ready for interesting Vs predicable. Never underestimate your audience. because they will surprise you with their thirst for knowledge! I have always been an outsider in musical terms, I have always gone my own way, I have also a long history of stepping outside the lines and breaking the rules, musically, as an artist I feel it is up to me to push the envelope and create a synthesis of styles meshing them together to create something new. So, when I set up Patreon, this was at the forefront of my thinking. I created a space where fans could see all sides of my creativity. I relied heavily on my personality to carry this, meaning I catered to my strengths, not what was cool but what came from the heart. In my Patreon, I have built a community, the antidote to the pandemic, a place to hang out freely, a safe haven away from all the negativity and noise, and most importantly a chance to be part of something cool with wonderful people. I have weekly zoom hangs with my fans, private piano concerts where I sing and play, DJ streams, I create music exclusively for my patrons and share the process, and best of all, I get to know each and every one of them on a very personal level. I spend time with the best people in the world, create quizzes, and events so we can meet up and get to know each other. They are my reason to wake up every day, and I can’t wait to create new things for them to enjoy. I guess you have to be that kind of person to do this because it’s not a job for the faint-hearted or the lazy. For me, subscriptions that take you money and give you one lame thing and you never get to know the artiste is not the way to go, not if you want to build something epic. I have a 5-year plan, many goals that I have set along the way, and a vision for how I want this to look in 5 years. One mantra I say when things get tough, ‘Work hard because you are going to build something amazing in this community, and we are going to do it together. It’s going to be epic!’ My advice for anyone thinking about this is PLAN PLAN PLAN. Don’t over-promise, once you have subscribers you can’t stop, you always have to keep growing and keep it interesting, you always have to be consistent and deliver as you have a responsibility to your patrons. I took 3 months to project manage this and get it right before launch. Also, grow organically at first, make sure you can handle the workload or you may find yourself overwhelmed and burnt out. so, baby steps, you can always upgrade what you offer! In the end, it is so rewarding knowing you are affecting so many people positively daily. That is the legacy I want to leave behind. It is worth all the hard work! If you want to know more, check us out here! https://www.patreon.com/
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am most proud of my labels: Propa and Impropa Talent, within those babies, I have developed a creative direction as a full-fledged producer in many genres, D&B and house and electronica, I really get to explore everything musically that I love. This has been my main goal in life, to push the boundaries in music and break the old rules. As a female, I wanted to smash that glass ceiling and became the first female DJ to not only perform on the main stage with the guys but to get equal pay. Because I am a classically trained pianist and songwriter, my love for music has taken me through many reflections of genres and musical experiences. I get to explore the many branches the tree of music has to offer, film sync, teaching, there are so many wonderful paths this partner called music has taken me on. Over the course of my career, I have collaborated and worked with many talented and influential professionals. Such talents like BT, Hans Zimmer, Hybrid, and DJ Tydi, to name just a few. I have been lucky enough to perform and share stages with some of the greats, like the late David Bowie, Seal, Greenday and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many other stars as I was signed to Sony music and got to tour the world with a live band as well as DJ! I worked tirelessly on my production skills. This was always hard for me but I refused to give up and I put this above all other needs. I was obsessed and still am and if I’m honest I’m selfish about this, there is no time for anything else, so my personal life always suffered, I’m much more balanced now and healthy about how I handle the fact that I am a workaholic. I am addicted to creating music and all that goes with it. The reward? Having the opportunity to be part of some amazing projects like Producing music for play station, Wii, and 7 major movies. creating music scores of composed music, custom designs of musical pieces to fit the specific needs of any project. Some examples of my work outside of the world of electronica are, Twix, Mission Impossible (Tom Cruise), Isolation, Run Lola Run, Enough (J-lo), Rogue Trader (Ewan McGregor), and four documentaries to name a few. The people I have met, the friends I have made along the way, and most of all the fans! That is what I am most proud of! About 2 years ago I wrote a book called ‘Intelligent Woman’ It’s my autobiography. My life was never easy, but its a story of overcoming and winning, I wrote it to exercise many ghosts but never did I imagine so many people would email me and say it touched them in some small way. That is a beautiful thing.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a workaholic, I don’t have a life lol. But, If I was taking a day off…… I guess it depends on the country….. If was in. In LA we would go to my fav beaches like paradise cove and eat lobster and have drinks and watch the sunset. Then, we would hit the Korean spa, facials, and massages. In England, I would find the most beautiful pubs in the New Forest and drive through the countryside and just park the car, then ride my bike through forests. I love nature. Then good horror movie after a meal and some laughs would seal the deal. I know my mates love that kind of thing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I read avidly, I literally devour books. Everything by Timothy Ferris (start with Tribe of mentors) has helped me focus. Rob Moore | The Disruptive Entrepreneur -His podcasts are lifesaving. Also, go see him live, you get to see what an ‘Alive’ human looks like. Many people have helped me with my journey, They would like to remain private, but let’s say I am lucky that they saw my hidden potential and taught me how to unlock it. The people I really want to say have changed my life are my patreons. You guys, true fan but so much more, are the reason I wake up every day and want to give all that’s in my heart till it bursts. We have become friends, and I thank you for giving my life a true purpose! I literally live to create for you xxxxxxxxxx