DJ Melody Kane is SBTV’s vivacious resident disc jockey, an iLuvLive regular and is aiming to push female DJs to the top with the return of the Female DJ Takeova event. Flavour’s Catherine Ababio met her at the oh-so swanky W Hotel, in Central London, to find out what life is like for DJ Melody Kane on and off the decks.
The vibrant 27 year old is all about championing her female peers to stand out in what is still a predominantly male profession. After being asked to become SBTV’s official DJ last summer, Melody’s career has only grown stronger. With the return of her monthly event ‘Female DJ Takeova’, a twice weekly slot on Bang103.6FM, her consistently popular mixtape releases and more, the 27 year old says she isn’t even halfway to achieving her goals.
You were quite fortunate in how you came to work for SBTV, how did it happen?
Somebody was supposed to be doing that gig (SBTV website launch) and they couldn’t make it so they called me up. That’s when I met Jamal [Edwards], it was great.
Before that, had you always been that lucky or has it been a tough journey?
It was a bit of both, I spent a good two years practising at home – I did weddings, 40th birthday parties, everything because I wanted to embrace every type of music. I got to a point where I would just hammer people, Facebook, Twitter, phone them, stand outside clubs! A really big part of it [has been] that I constantly release what I would think are really good mixtapes (check out the SBTV Xmas mixtape).
Is it really as hard as people might think to be female DJ?
I’m not going to lie, it is hard. It is a lot easier to be a DJ now, there are so many, and the female side of it… Sometimes when guys automatically do things that… how can I put it? I’m trying to put it diplomatically! [Laughs]
I want to showcase up and coming female DJs – this is what we do. Take us seriously.’
We do not like diplomacy over here! [Laughs] Tell it like it is!
I think the hardest and best thing about being a female DJ is that people will always underestimate you, but I kind of love that because then you can prove them wrong.
What has been your best gig to date? Or the one you’ve enjoyed the most?
I loved the SBTV website launch party and I’m not just saying it… [Laughs]
Oh yeah…. sucking up ay?
… [Laughs] it really was! The launch party, was one of the first times I properly met Jamal and it was a completely industry event. People were so complimentary afterwards; it just gave me such a high. Another one was in Rotterdam, 10,000 people in this huge disused warehouse, it was that feeling when you get goose bumps on your skin!
You are no stranger to celebrity parties, have rubbed shoulders with some of our favourites. What made you decide to start the Female DJ Takeova?
I put [it] together because you can struggle to get booked as a female DJ unless you’re at the top of the game, I just wanted to showcase up and coming female DJs and say ‘Look, this is what we do. Take us seriously.’ It is coming back, we’ll have female DJs, emcees and PA’s. I don’t know if there is anyone out there championing us, all the page three models do their thing but I mean DJing where it doesn’t matter how you look or what you wear.
Let’s throwback to where it all began briefly. You were born in Sussex to a Jamaican mother and English father, how did your upbringing influence the musical and fashion tastes you have now?
I grew up in a completely white dominated area, so there wasn’t really that huge influence as I was growing up which was a shame. I obviously realised I was mixed race, but I didn’t really realise that I could embrace that until I was in my teenage years. My brother, who is two years older than me, was really into his heritage and introduced me to a lot of things like hip hop, De La Soul, Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff. Then I just went crazy, loud clothes, back combing the hair – I had all these years to make up for!
You definitely seem as though you’re quite a girly girl…
[Laughs] I am quite girly; I think i put on a bit of a façade, how can you tell? [Laughs] I try and really smile as much as I can, I love what I do!
Putting DJing to one side for a moment, brace yourself… [laughs], what are your other passions?
I’m a bit of a quad girl, i love roller-skating! I’m definitely a bit of a movie girl, i’m really into movie horrors, cheesy ones like ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ [laughs]…
That was made ages ago..!
Yeah, I’m showing my age! I won’t tell you how old I was when I first saw it! [Laughs] I like films that really make you think, I like world cinema. I watch a lot of foreign films and I love messed up Korean films!
Have you ever seen the South Korean film ‘Old Boy’?
Old Boy!! [Laughs] Do you remember at the end when he’s like… [Melody assumes one of Old Boy’s hilarious mangled positions]. Ah and when he finds out that he slept with his daughter?! Old Boy is amazing!
A woman like yourself must have an equally fabulous guy to cuddle up during these movies, right?
No, no. I think it’s really hard to be in a serious relationship and be really serious about your career too. I’ve got someone in my life that is very special, that is a support to me that been around for a very long time.
Sounds like a boyfriend to me….
[Laughs] I wouldn’t lie! I haven’t [laughs]. I just want this so much, so to give 100% I’ve realised that I have to be a bit selfish. It doesn’t come naturally to me because I’m definitely the sort of girl that likes to have company. When I’ve gone as hard as I can for a few years, then hopefully my heart can be open again to love.
So for now, what would you say was the mark of a great DJ?
I think the best DJ puts the crowd first. If you’re a specialist DJ and you get booked for the music that you represent then great, but DJs that only play music they love are not going to be getting paid and because I’m fulltime…
Is financial stability a worry for you?
If I don’t have a gig then I don’t eat. But as you can see, I’m not exactly starving! [Laughs] I think the thing about this industry is something can be set in stone one minute and then you turn around the next day, you get a text or a call and it has completely changed. That’s the thing about DJing, you’re easily replaceable.
When you’re playing to yourself, what do you play?
I play a lot of global house, deep house as well. I love dancehall, hip hop and I grew up clubbing in the garage era so it was my first love.
Is great to hear you so passionate aboute what you do, but what is your greatest fear?
Not being relevant, not being able to DJ and people not taking me seriously as a DJ. It’s not all I care about, but it’s a big thing.
Lastly, if you had to rate yourself, what would you say?
I’d say I’m maybe like at 40% because I feel like I’ve got such a long way to go, I really want to make Female DJ Takeova a successful monthly event, I then want to be able to take that all around the UK whilst doing more of the gigs I want.
Interview by Catherine Ababio