After supporting big international artists including Lady Gaga and Rihanna, DJ Havana Brown just released her brand new album titled “Flashing Lights”. Australia’s leading female DJ has worked tirelessly over the past year writing and producing her debut album in between shows and collaborating with hit artists and super-star producers, Pitbull, RedOne, Afrojack and R3hab. The beauty behind the decks recently chatted with us about her passion for deejaying, controversial lyrical content, and her very successful music career in both the pop world and the deejay arena. This Saturday, October 26, she’s excited to ‘Run the Night’ here at Marquee Sydney!
These past few years you have proved you are a successful singer and dancer. How did you first discover you had a passion for the art of deejaying?
Many years ago I found myself at a crossroads deciding if I should continue my love for music or if I should go back to school. While my friends were telling me I should probably go back to school, I hated that idea of pursuing something I did not have complete passion for. I found myself in London clubbing a lot. London has the most amazing party scene so I definitely delved into that. That is really where I discovered the art of the DJ and thought that would be the most amazing job. I felt it would be incredible to go out every weekend to play, entertain and make people happy through music. My time in London paved the way for what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was so passionate about it. Deejaying is something that when I started doing it, it really just clicked for me. What I love in music is performing and I feel like I get to do that as a DJ as well.
What are some of the challenges you have faced building a DJ career in a male-dominated industry?
When I first started there were not many female DJs and a lot of people were not familiar with a lot of female DJs so when I would approach them they would be filled with doubt, they definitely did not believe that I could deejay. In order to prove them all wrong I would get up on the decks and deejay for free. I always rocked out and that’s eventually how I got my first residency in London. When I first started, the challenge was definitely in convincing the promoters and club owners that I could actually play. In the beginning of my career I had to focus on clearing all their doubts and proving them wrong. Nowadays there are a lot more female DJs so it’s made coming in a bit easier but eight years ago it was definitely more of a struggle.
You have spoken on how Janet Jackson has been one of your idols and one of your biggest music inspirations. Which artists do you admire in the DJ electronic/house/techno world and who would you like to work with in the future?
R3hab is definitely one of my inspirations; he’s an amazing producer and works very hard. Zedd, Avicii and Afrojack are all great producers and I love all those guys. I respect the DJs that are out there with massive pop songs that are on the radio; the DJs that have a successful DJ career alongside a successful music career. I also really love Congo Rock’s style of production and I feel like I would love to do something with him. He’s never gone too commercial but I would love to do something where I could add a pop element to his sound.
Let’s talk “Big Banana”! It’s a great tune, very cheeky and reminiscent to 90s songs by strong, empowered women. How do you feel the song was received by audiences, did they understand the intended humour behind it?
It’s the most fun I ever had going out and releasing a song! When it first come out the audience was pretty divided, they either really loved it or they hated it. At the same time a lot of people that did not like it tend to be men. Interestingly enough if a guy plays with sexual puns in a song it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue but as soon as a woman switches up the role asking questions about big bananas all of sudden it’s a problem. I think it showcased which men were confident in themselves and which were not. The song did cause a bit of controversy but I want people to either love it or hate it, I don’t like that in between of people feeling it’s just fine. We did struggle to get on the radio here in Australia. Radio stations just didn’t want to play it; they felt it was too polarizing. At the same time it still went double platinum even without a lot of air play which proved in the end a lot of people loved it.
You are constantly on the move and remain very busy between your touring, performing, hosting a radio show and spending time in the studio. What do you finally do when you schedule in some down time, how do you relax?
I really enjoy getting into a good TV series! When I finally get a day where I do not have anything scheduled I love to get into a good television series and watch episode after episode. The last mini- marathon I did was with “American Horror Story” and I loved it. It always just takes me away, at least for that day I can think about someone else’s life, relax and distress.
Your new album “Flashing Lights” was just released in Australia, what would you say is unique/different about the sound on this one?
I definitely consider myself pop but I believe I push the boundaries of pop. I take it a little further in terms of the sound, production and lyrical content. I don’t necessarily take the generic route and play it safe. It’s definitely an album to dance to and have fun with. It’s really just full of great energy!
You can catch Havana Brown at Marquee Sydney on Saturday, October 26.
– Sophia Rayo