Staying Afloat

My first introductions to this music had nothing to do with the artist, articles, or features, and was more so about a love for the music; how it sounded, how it made me feel…I want to get back to those roots.

Hello.

Remember me?

Its been a bit longer than I expected, and I hate to use “being busy” as an excuse for not getting things done, but things have definitely picked up quite a bit since the new year. I have a few things to talk about, and I hope to not make this all about me, but if it ends up being that way, I’ll try not to bore you.

So its about two months into 2018, and I suppose things are going well. One major thing that has happened recently is that I’m no longer working my 9-5 job; they fired me two months before I planned to leave…(lol) go figure. People’s typical reaction to someone losing their job/ getting fired is pity, but to be honest, I don’t need it. I walked out of there with my head high; equally nervous and excited for the next chapter in my life. What I’m most proud of is the fact that I didn’t let it break me. Its never fun losing a job, especially by termination, but I wasn’t going to let that place steal my joy.  I couldn’t be upset about it or take it personal anyway, I wasn’t happy in the first place. Of course there were aspects of my job that were cool, but the mere routine of  sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days week, is simply not for me…I’ve had to learn that the hard way many times, and this time I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. Its perfect timing if you ask me…now I have more time to focus on MY dream.

(And more time to live my damn life for that matter…)

As some of you know, I’m heading to Berlin for a couple gigs next month, and am keeping my fingers crossed about a couple other pending shows in Europe while I’m there. Its all quite frightening though…I mean, I took it upon myself to plan this “tour”, if you will, and with representation or not, its not guaranteed that people will actually want to book you. The whole process is eye opening and humbling because it makes you realize that no matter how good/great you think you are, not everyone will agree with that. Not everyone wants to book a new comer, not everyone wants to book a woman, hell, not everyone wants to book a black woman. I’m attempting to keep my spirits high, and I remain grateful for all of the good things that have happened thus far. It is a constant battle though, because I want so much more. I do realize that some of the things I want often take years to accomplish, so patience and commitment is important in this industry…I’ve been realizing that more and more. Sometimes I have to sit back and think about what I’ve accomplished in only a year and a half of DJing professionally, and just congratulate myself, sometimes I need that boost. And hey, perhaps some of my success was luck/good timing, but I also know that I am a force….even when I get down on myself.

What’s been on my mind lately is that I want to spend less time “online”, and more time perfecting my craft and studying music. As of late, I feel as if dance music is being oversaturated with content, and its impossible for me to keep up… (not that I even try). Everyone’s got a mix coming out, everybody’s got an interview coming out, everybody’s got a radio show coming out, shit…EVEN ME…I have all those things coming out too, so I get it…but sometimes I just wanna be in my own world to focus on the music itself and not be distracted by the overload of PR and shit being put on the internet that involves this music or the scene. My first introductions to this music had nothing to do with the artist, articles, and features, and was more so about a love for the music…how it sounded, how it made me feel…I want to get back to those roots.

Another thing thats been on my mind lately is the whole “guest mix” trend. If I told you how many guest mixes I’ve had to turn down the past couple months you may not believe me. (And if you asked me for one and are reading this, this is not directed towards anyone directly, so please don’t take offense)…Where I’m at with it right now is that I rather have someone book me than request a guest mix. I’ve done so many of them that I’m beginning to bore myself. I get that releasing mixes can sometimes help with bookings, but what I don’t want is to be the girl putting out mixes for any/everybody…I’d like a keep a little mystery about myself, ya know…like do that shit in waves. Why do you think people like Moodymann and UR are so revered and respected…? Because they don’t work just with any old person that inquires. (Btw, I know I ain’t Moodymann, but hell, a girl can take notes.) Its okay to not jump onto every single opportunity thats presented to you, just do what works for you, and don’t overwhelm yourself. There’s definitely never going to be a shortage of mixes in this day and age, so I figure I can focus on something else for a bit…(ie: This Blog) Oh, and if you do happen to be interested in booking me or requesting a mix, please do it because you truly enjoy the music I play, and like what I’m about. I am not a “trend” or a commodity and only want to work with other people who are truly supportive of the real roots and meaning of this music. That being said, I have a couple more previously committed to mixes to finish then will be taking a break to focus on my NTS radio show. I now have my own platform, and would like to spend more time pushing my own movement. I really want to be smart about the moves I make…this music stuff is business too, don’t forget that.

All in all, I feel good, and as I mentioned before, these next few months I’m ready to start taking my craft to the next level. I had a nice ride this first year being the new kid, but I’m starting to get “real” bookings now, and I want my shit to be all the way on point. I’ll never be that girl that was “all hype”, I’m going to be that one that blows your mind…no matter how long it takes me to get there. I don’t know about some of these other cats, but I’ve been dedicated to this music half my life. I’ve been studying this music before I realized I was even studying it, and it has put me in the position to do/create great things. I will forever be appreciative for all of the influence and inspiration that I received over the years of being a kid/teen in Detroit, all the way to being the girl in the front row of countless shows in Atlanta…it was all preparation for whats happening right now, and for what’s to come.

That’s it for now I think, and special shout out to all of the other Artist’s and DJ’s out there doing what they love and simply trying to make it. Its not easy out here, but it is possible with hard work and dedication (for some of us)…just keep doing you, keep shining…

Stay afloat.

-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.