Where does one go from here?

Everything was all well and fine when I was simply the “techno cheerleader”; the girl in the front row of every show screaming and cheering for you, but now that I’m out here doing more than just being the cute black girl at the party folks acting uncomfortable.

Leaving Detroit feeling equally inspired, accomplished and frustrated. I initially planned on chronicling my weekend experiences at the festival, as well as the parties, (and I still plan it, kinda) yet have decided to focus this post on the successes and struggles I faced this past weekend being a DJ for the first time in my hometown Detroit. Coming into this I was beyond excited, I mean, it was going to be my first time really DJing in Detroit. As expected, the highlights for me were playing the Discwoman party, as well as the Day/Night Party with Omar S. and DJ Stingray…these were magical moments that I will cherish forever. Yes, I was nervous, yes, I survived, and yes, I was happy with both of my sets. It felt good to make people dance, and I had lots of people approach me with kind words after my sets.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to every single person who gave me words of encouragement this weekend. I want to say thank you to those who came to support my sets. I want to say thank you to everyone who said they’ve listened to my mixes and enjoyed them. I want to say thank you to everyone who said they’ve read my blog. I want to say thank you to everyone who believed in me enough to book me. I want to say thank you to everyone who said they like what I’m doing and want to see more. I even want to to say thank you to the non-believers because you inspire me the most at times.

I know I’m new to this shit, and I realize that there’s people out there who don’t think I deserve success, people who think I’m not good enough, people who think I haven’t worked hard enough, people who think I haven’t been doing it long enough, etc. They may not say it to my face but I can feel it, and their lack of words and acknowledgment say it all. Men in the industry claim they want to see more female representation, but I’m starting to feel like thats all bullshit. Everything was all well and fine when I was simply the “techno cheerleader”; the girl in the front row of every show screaming and cheering for you, but now that I’m out here doing more than just being the cute black girl at the party folks acting uncomfortable. How dare a new DJ and Black woman play cooler parties than them and get legitimate praise…right?

DJ Stingray recently asked the question of is Black women’s current successes due to “nature or nurture”, in response to a FB post of mine and I never got the chance to respond. When I ran into him at El Club before my set we sat down to chat and he asked me again, …”nature or nurture”? I told him I couldn’t  speak for all of us, but in terms of myself, I can attribute my successes to both nature and nurture. Nature because by nature I know good music, by nature I’m intelligent, by nature I’m capable to achieving anything I put my mind to, by nature I’m strong, by nature I’m from Detroit, by nature because I come from a history and family of successful black people. I can also attribute nurture, because yes, I admit, without my relationships and connections in the industry I most definitely wouldn’t be where I am today. That being said, nature definitely outweighs nurture, so don’t get it twisted, anything I’ve ever achieved in life is because I was more than capable.

All I ask is that you give people a chance, give me a chance. Don’t write off what I’m doing if you haven’t even taken the time to listen to one of my sets or mixes, or gotten to know my history in this music; my meaning, my purpose. This shit is so much bigger to me than “being a DJ” . This is a movement and I need people to realize that and start taking it seriously.  I’m not out here to get attention or to be cute… I’m here to represent my culture on a scene thats seeing less and less of us. I’m here to keep black faces relevant in dance music, I’m here to prove to other women that we can play with best of male DJ’s. How many other young black women you see perform this weekend? I’ll wait……………Oh, and men, please stop standing behind me or close to the booth when I first hit the decks thinking I’m gonna need your help with something. I know what I’m doing…step aside.

If I didn’t know what I was doing I wouldn’t be doing it, if I didn’t deserve the gigs I got I wouldn’t have gotten them, and if I sucked the people who booked me wouldn’t have done so, so stop being ignorant and realize that I’m out here, and that I’m not going anywhere, and I don’t care how many men that makes feel uncomfortable in the process. I got enough people on my team to know theres no way I can’t or won’t succeed. Shout out to Delano Smith, Keith Worthy, Raybone Jones, Patrice Scott, Dwayne Jensen, Scott Ashley, Bruce Bailey, Rick Wilhite, and the many other people who reached out to me over the weekend with words of belief and encouragement, it means a lot, and truly keeps me going. Also, thank you to Frankie, Joey, and Bruce for making things happen for me this weekend, I am humbled and grateful that you saw through the stereotypes and saw me for me, and what I do.

I felt really comfortable at the Discwoman party, and really loved that people danced my entire set. Something about being apart of an event put on by such strong and inspirational women really put me in a great mind frame. When I walked into that dark ass room upstairs I knew it was time to drop the Techno…deep house wan’t about to fly in that mf! Oh, and RIP Grenadier Club….(again). El Club on the other hand….I was nervous as hell when I walked into that packed ass room and saw Omar S. killing it! I literally had to go in the bathroom and give myself a pep talk in the mirror because ya girl was about faint. That being said, Omar S. is a real ass dude, and I had met him a few times that weekend prior to my set to get aquatinted and he really made me feel comfortable…I mean, we hype up these DJ’s up so much, but at the end of the day, they’re humans just like you and me. It was actually cool to see him fuck up a couple times and look at me and laugh….we’re all human people, and no DJ in the world has a perfect set/mix every single time…thats the beauty of this shit. Nonetheless he killed it, and chopped it up with me a bit before I went on…super classy/playa type dude…make me miss being home, Detroit men really are a species of their own….LOL.

Fast forward to today, I’m back in Atlanta feeling accomplished yet artistically frustrated. Where does one go from here? I have zero gigs lined up, I can’t get an email back from the venue owner, and I’m back to my 9-5 tomorrow. This is real life shit. The post Detroit depression is real and I’m really just trying figure things out. I wanna keep throwing parties, I wanna keep DJing, and I really want to start focusing on playing records, yet sometimes I still feel like why am doing this? I mean, I know why, but sometimes I feel like I wanna give up. Its not easy having to constantly prove yourself, its not easy trying to get people to understand and appreciate your art, its not easy to come so far but have so long to go.  In the end I know I’ll be alright, this is pretty much the type of shit you run into when your trying to achieve success. I’m just gonna keep working on my craft and I hope that you continue to pay attention. I’m also going to keep being vocal about black representation in dance music because as I mentioned before I (we) aren’t going anywhere…

Oh, and wisdom to the wise, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there…I don’t have an agent, I personally reach out to promoters to let them know I’m going to be in town and available. The worst they could do is say no, and the best they could do it say yes, and there you are playing some of the dopest parties of the entire weekend in Detroit! #epic

P.S.

Yes I got paid for ALL my gigs in Detroit since people acting like they wanna know or whateva. I don’t care how new you are to the game, that free shit is for the birds. Get paid for the services you provide!

Best Moments:

Meeting Kerri Chandler outside my hotel and him telling me “he swear he knew me from somewhere”.

My friend racing Omar S. in his corvette on Davison after the Theo Parrish party.

My parents coming to my set at Mix.

Stingray giving me a pep talk before my set.

Playing an all Techno Set at Discwoman

The numerous Uber drivers who all were playing House and spitting game on Detroit history.

Leaving Texture party at Marble Bar at 11am.

My friends staying at EL Club for 6+ hours to catch my set

Kids from London running up to me after my set telling me my set was so good made them cry. ❤

Kai’s BBQ and his Mom’s food.

Best Party:

Music Gallery w/Theo Parrish- The DJ booth was literally a 10 foot wall all around so you couldn’t see the DJ, it was all about the music, the people, the dancing…there had to have been at least 200 people there when it got shut down. Was epic while it lasted……

The festival:

Was bored most of the time, overhead a chick in the bathroom say “the only people I know on the line-up are Juicy Jay, and Deadmua5 …….Yeah, prolly won’t be doing the festival next year…way to many dope parties out there now anyways.

Best Club:

EL Club hands down, lovely music venue with awesome decor, patio, sound, and lighting…really hope I can play there again!

Excuse this sporadic post, but this is how it all came out. I thank you again for reading, and I hope you continue to follow my journey in this thing called music.

-ASH ❤

Author: ashlauryn

ASH LAURYN is a DJ and party promoter hailing from Detroit, MI who is currently based in Atlanta, GA. ASH specializes in underground dance music, and says most of her influence stems from her roots back home in Detroit. As an active member of the dance music community for over a decade, ASH hosts her own event series called ORBIT, and is currently a resident DJ with Atlanta’s Deep South crew.

5 thoughts on “Where does one go from here?”

  1. ABSOLUTELY LOVED your set at M!X. I met your parents. But this Blog is EVERYTHING.. I so know the feeling. Im no DJ but, i am a blogger abd eveey word you wrote is 100% accurate! Keep banging the beats babe

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  2. Raising 3 young ladies of color in this world, I see some of this daily for them too. Support comes from the most unlikely places, as will disappointment. It all comes back to family, friends, and the music first. Do your thing!

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