We had the good fortune of connecting with Shammy Dee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shammy, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
For better or for worse, I’ve always leaned way more on the “work” end of work-life balance – even during the pandemic! Maybe it comes from the idea that “you got to give it all you got to be successful.” I remember reading Russell Simmons’ answer to a similar question and he said he had none, but it got (a little) better once he achieved success. Ultimately I think it comes down to “What do you want?” and what are you willing to do to get there.
Basically, I’m still working on it.
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’m what Emilie Wapnick would call a “multipotentialite.” People primarily know me as a DJ, but my interests move me to other creative places. Music is my first love – I’m also an artist and producer. I’ve released my own material and produce and perform with other artists. I’ve had a fun acting run! Check me out on How I Met Your Mother (S4:E3 – you can’t miss me.) or Sam & Cat (S1:E1). I’m also a director and filmmaker. Toward the end of last year, I directed, performed, and created the music for a project in collaboration with the La Jolla Playhouse called “Spittin’ Truth To Power While Light Leaping For The People.” I’ve also worked in theater as a composer and music director.
Recently, I’ve been coaching DJs in building better businesses for themselves. I helped one of my DJs make over 100K during the pandemic!
As you see, I’ve had my hand in a few pots. But I think what sets me apart is my work ethic (see Question 1) and my taste. As a creative, you are known for your choices and people seem to like what I’ve done. I’m grateful for that. I’m still doing it, so I think my choices have been alright!
I don’t think it’s easy at all to be a creative. You are constantly solving problems. If you are a full-time artist, you have to figure out how to make a living. If you are growing as an artist, you have to overcome your own insecurities about how your work will be received. The friction of art and commerce makes for difficult choices. All that said, I think the creative juice is worth the squeeze.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, which I think is also a huge secret to creative and personal success, is your own mind. I’ve seen it get in the way of a lot of people’s success and I’ve seen be the driving force behind other people’s success. If you know how to direct that power in your favor, you’ll have a lot going for you.
But, if you want to be a great creative, I think you need to do two things to be great. One, make a deliberate choice to be great. Two, spend the time it takes to be become great.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh man! I wish I went out more! (Again: Question 1.)
Here are some places I like to check out.
I think LACMA and The Broad being are great places to check out art. Basquiat fan over here!
Gold Line in Highland Park is a great spot with great DJs/music.
Biking along Santa Monica Beach is a great way to spend an afternoon. And then you can walk along 3rd Street Promenade and get something to eat.
Of course, beaches. Gotta hit those up.
Guisado’s has some great tacos.
Larchmont is a cool place to get lunch/dinner. The Burger Lounge with Salt & Straw is a winning combo in my book.
You can hit up Runyon for a cool hike. (Pro Tip: It gets busy, so go early.)
I think that’s all I got for now…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout Mike Monday, a mentor and a friend of mine. He’s coached and encouraged me a lot personally and artistically. I appreciate you, Mike!
Studio Photo: Maathew James Photos Green Screen shot: Unknown Outdoor DJ photo: Eric Heimsoth Other outdoor photo: Scooter Davis