We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Timakov and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
“No days off” seems to be the motto of this generation and I couldn’t disagree more. As a recovering workaholic, I strongly believe in taking time off not only for rest, but for a sense of inspiration and joy. As entrepreneurs in these fast pace times, sometimes we get caught up in the loop of feeling like if we’re not constantly creating and sharing ourselves with the world, we’ll be forgotten. But in order to share parts of yourself in a genuine way, no matter what your passion is, you have to find balance between work and just existing as a human outside of the things you create. Self care at its finest is listening to yourself when your mind, body and soul are asking for a moment to just be. Don’t feel pressured by the world to feel like you can’t take a break. You put out your best when you feel your best.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Putting my love for people first above all has been my driving force throughout my career as a DJ and small business owner. During my DJ sets, I never miss a chance to leave the DJ booth to dance with people on the dance floor, hug someone and reciprocate the energy they give me to fuel my set. I truly believe if you’re not connected to people. it’s impossible to get your love across through your art and that is what has constantly set me apart. I’m confident in who I am as a DJ, in the music I love and making sure I keep that at the forefront of each set. I love what I love in music and make sure that’s not tarnished by any club or bar standards which has shaken things up for me along the way. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, to maintain my own personal integrity and the values I possess with what I deeply love. Lessons i’ve learned along the way is to make sure that when you are making connections with people, that your spiritual values align or things will always come crashing down. It’s really important to me to keep my values over a check, the check will always come when you do what’s genuine to you. Personally, that is what continues to keep me blessed in my journey as a DJ.
Getting to this point wasn’t easy by any means, I lost a lot and gained a lot. Lost a parent along the way but I know without his guidance, I probably wouldn’t be as strong willed as I am today. A lot of life is abstract, but i’ve taken it all in and made something beautiful out of it. Regardless of the challenges, I encourage everyone to never give up on the things that give you life. And if you haven’t found it yet, give yourself space to discover. It’s life changing and I believe we are all connected, so when we’re connected to the things we are most passionate about and go through with materializing our dreams, we give the next person the opportunity to do the same.
When it comes to my brand and my story, I hope to always convey that this is really me. I started off as a little Russian girl singing and dancing and spending late nights with my mom in Russian restaurants watching her sing to then being a youngin in middle and high school making mix CD’s with unknown MySpace artists and the lesser known Neptunes beats for fun. I didn’t know that would mean I would grow up to be a DJ and do what I love most with music for a living. I love everything in music, from 70s funk/disco to 80s soul to 90s hip-hop/r&b to 2000s hip-hop, all intertwined with house music from the past and now. I live for nostalgia (which is sometimes painful) and the way it makes the crowds move. I exist in this time now but I know from the way music makes me feel, that i’ve been here before. I can place myself in any given time and choose the best music from that time, I believe that is my superpower.
Every set I play is genuinely an extension of myself, I take pride in giving my love to people in that way. Although I have burnt some bridges along the way, I am confident in having always stuck to my gut with spaces on whether or not our morals and values align. I love being a woman in a male driven industry and most of all, I love being myself within it. I strive to create parties and moments within DJing that are memorable, themed, and made a big deal in shining light on deserving artists and really great music in general. That’s the goal, to spread love through music in a way people won’t forget and will keep coming back for.
I recently also started a tea company, which integrates organic loose leaf tea with music. Each tea blend comes with it’s own curated playlist to create memorable moments while drinking your tea no matter the time of the day. I grew up drinking tea as a form of self care all throughout the day and that’s something i’ve always wanted to share. Drinking tea has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I named it Blended Tea Co., because each tea blend and playlist are blended carefully to capture a moment in its essence and make that feeling travel through time. I’m still cultivating my tea baby but I am very proud of it now and what it can grow to be. Stay tuned for more of Blended Tea Co.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I believe in balance and experiencing a little bit of everything in life to get a good understanding of people and their cultures/way of life.
I would start with The Last Page for dinner, a restaurant that gives you a New York/LA feel with crafted cocktails, a handcrafted menu and probably my favorite atmosphere in Cleveland (currently sitting here answering these questions and I DJ here every Tuesday). The next day I would visit the Cleveland Museum of Art, MoCa or the Botanical Gardens (if you’re me…all of them) and finish off with drinks at Azure, one of our most prized rooftops and end with dinner at Luxe. I strongly recommend a nightcap at The Velvet Tango Room where you might wait 10 minutes for a sidecar but it’ll be the best one of your life. On Thursday, you’re tagging along with me to All Saints, a very special bar I DJ at every other Thursday, alongside my best friend, LaRiches.
You have to visit The Flats while in Cleveland so I would recommend Goodnight John Boy for a fun disco dancing night and Lago for late night food. Two must stops are re:bar and Rumor, one is a bar with consistent themed nights and one is a poppin nightclub but both are downtown Cleveland staples. If you are looking to stay on the east side, first start at Brittany’s Record Shop, a woman owned local record shop then The Grog Shop for a show and B Side after to party…all some of my fav go-to’s. Tremont is one of Cleveland’s hot spots, where you can visit Coda for live music, Ginko for amazing sushi, Edison’s for some of the best pizza and Loop if you’re looking for a place to buy records. Let’s end with a bomb Sunday brunch at Summer House followed by a drive down MLK Blvd. where you can explore our cultural gardens and end at the Fairmount in Cleveland Heights for a couple cocktails. End the day on the lake as the sun sets and you’re good to go with hopefully a super memorable week in Cleveland. It’s a small city but the places that have an identity here, have a special very place in my heart.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Confidently, I have to dedicate my shoutout to my city, Cleveland, Ohio. More specifically, the people that Cleveland breeds. We come from a small city but we raise giants, disrupters of the norm, exceptionally great artists and character that you can’t shake. Which is why when people from Cleveland move away, they inspire every soul and city they touch. I thank God daily for the MidWest grit we possess, the fact that we have the ability to see straight through the fake and we go directly after what we know we deserve. The music and art scene in Cleveland has changed my life, full of artists that dance to the drum of their own beats. From my friends that rap, sing, paint, design, DJ, curate events, everyone does it their way and it’s constantly inspiring. I tell them every chance I get, but people like LaRiches, Trav Hen, WesWill, UnderCTRL Studio, DJ Misses, The Session Ohio, Swah, Joey Aich, Chelsea Pastel, Jaz Woods, Terry Urban, NPi Ent., DJ Meel, Amber Juelle, D’Asia Simone, Nuke Franklin, Sted Lee, Kipp Stone, Sunda, Antwoine Washington, Starbeing, Glen Infante, MidWest Kids…that’s just a fraction of the people that impact my daily life. I can’t thank them all enough for their unwavering support of my journey, even when its indirect. From the beginning of my DJ career to launching a tea business, I couldn’t do it without their support and being moved by their efforts in bettering themselves as people and creators every day. I’m grateful for the community and tribe of greatness i’ve attracted, for believing in themselves and in each other.
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