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My life as an international DJ
10:00pm Tuesday 15th February 2011 in Features
JOLIE Boyle, 33, aka DJ Jolie, from Hatfield Peverel, has played all over the world, including in India, Thailand and Kuwait. She speaks about her life:
It’s rare for a woman to earn a living being a DJ and a lot of women I know in the industry have to have another job to make ends meet.
You have to know the countries that pay well. I find middle eastern countries are generous.
I played in Kuwait after a friend set up a private party and it was incredible. The party stopped at 6am when I was told the crowd had to pray.
Music is worldwide now with the internet. Nothing stops someone in another country getting into any type of music.
I travel all over the world, where people have different customs, and it is important to know about the country you play in, but I don’t let a lot stop me from going to places.
The only time I cancelled a job was in Beirut, because it turned out it was going to be too dangerous.
Growing up, I had no choice but to get into music because my mum and dad had the most amazing record collection of Motown. We always had great parties and it was always a case of ‘go on Jolie, put another record on’. I became the family DJ.
From records, they went on to have an amazing CD collection and I continued to get into music myself.
To this day, I am still inspired by Motown. There is so much soul in it and a lot of the music I play is house music, which has a lot of funk and soul.
At 16, I would play music on college radio. I played records, but was too scared to speak. Then a friend of a friend was selling turntables and I borrowed the money from my parents and taught myself to mix. My first paid gig was aged 18.
From local gigs, I went to Austria in 1999 and then got a residency in Germany in 2000. In Germany they like their music a lot tougher and you have to cater to what the people want.
I went to Bangalore in India and was playing to crowds of over 5,000. It was incredible – they dance with their whole bodies.
I now work in Essex and London and all over the world.
An average working night for me would mean leaving the house at 10pm to get to the club for 11pm, giving me time to suss out the vibe of the place before my set. Usually I’ll get around an hour to DJ in a club, but it’s not really long enough. In other countries I’ll get three hours and you can really take the crowds on a journey.
Then I will do my set and, depending on whether it’s a London club, I can be out by 5am or 6am. Then I will drive home and wind down and have a bit of a lie-in the next day.
Strange as it sounds, I am actually more of a morning person. I like to get up early and exercise on days when I haven’t worked the night before.
I feel I have sacrificed some things for my choice of career, like having a boyfriend. I find that the novelty wears off for boyfriends, who find going out with a female DJ is cool until I am away quite a bit. I think I am looking for someone who is very understanding.
Jolie was talking to Louise Mackenzie.