There were two reasons I wanted to join Fuse Academy. First, I wanted to learn how to DJ in an environment where your individual skills are evaluated and enhanced. Plus I wanted to improve without being faced with the hostility that women are sometimes treated in areas of sound of technology.
Secondly, I am so inspired by DJ Zinhle, the co-owner of the school, that I figured the closer I am to hearing her teachings first hand, the more I can get my life together. I’m not getting any younger and my dreams aren’t getting any smaller.
So after my third lesson (at which I was starting to feel sorry for myself, to be honest), all the students had a meet and greet with the co-owner. I was so hype afterwards, I even went to gym. On a Saturday afternoon, nogal. Here are ten things I learnt from that sit-down.
- People believe what you tell them about yourself.
Don’t highlight your weaknesses in your first encounter with someone. Zinhle says “describing yourself as shy was cute in your teens.” But if that’s what people will remember about you, what would make them want to call you for anything?
- When a woman is about to play, people stop dancing and they watch to see if she can mix.
Whatever your craft is, you have to practice it enough to not let your gender be a hindrance. “It’s not good enough to say you don’t know how to use a particular piece of equipment.” Precision is key to not only avoiding the gawking stares from the dancefloor but also, just to be a damn good DJ.
- “Opportunities don’t get up in the morning, get dressed and come to you.”
You have to be plugged into the culture enough to see where you can squeeze yourself in. If you don’t get up in the morning, get dressed and chase those dreams, you won’t get further than mixing in your bedroom.
- “Make a vision board.”
Basically, surround yourself with the things that you want for yourself. If you see what you visualise for yourself every day, it’s easy to not be swayed by opportunities that may temporarily sound good but won’t be good for the long run. Stick to the vision.
- Don’t be the girl who is just driving and we don’t know where you are going.
Be specific about what you want. What are your dreams? “If someone says meet in Soweto, you will waste your time and theirs trying to wait at a place only to find out they are expecting you elsewhere. If you say let’s meet at Chaf’Pozi, it’s specific, it saves time and it enforces what you want. […] Having a plan will guide your efforts.”