Sydney based DJ/Producer Beth Yen partners up with angelic vocalist The Baroness to hit #1 on the ARIA Club Charts with her new house anthem Ocean – making her the first woman in seven years to rise to the top of the Club Charts!
Hailing from Nottingham in England, Yen moved to Sydney all the way back in 2008 to ignite her own career as a DJ. By pioneering a unique blend of Indie Dance and Deep House, her UK influences have been exposing the Sydney House Scene to a worldwide audience for a very long time. She’s also no stranger to the limelight having played festivals alongside fellow DJ’s Carl Cox, Benny Benassi, Afrojack, Skrillex, Diplo & Gorgon City.
It was a pleasure to get such an authentic and engaging response from Beth – her answers are below!
What inspired you to pursue music as a career?
I knew that music was my portal into a world of communication that placed me on a level playing field with others, that gave me a common bond with people. All my life I loved music. Growing up, music was a form of escapism, and I found comfort in it. I grew up listening to Motown, soul, funk & disco. It was when I heard dance music for the very first time on Pete Tong’s essential mix on BBC Radio 1 that I truly fell in love with dance music and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to enter the clubs to hear it being played live. The first time I walked into a club I knew I felt something special which I hadn’t ever before and that I wanted to be part of it. During my Uni years, I spent more time in the clubs than in my studies and eventually realised that the one thing that made me happy and feels good was when I was listening or playing music. I finally took up DJing, and it went from a hobby to a part-time gig and making enough to live on to having the courage to give up my day job to give it a good go as a career. Music production happened organically several years later. Music matters to me and is my creative outlet, it gives me the freedom to express myself artistically and authentically.
Besides making music, what have you done to get to where you are?
DJing across Australia and overseas has played a large part and also gaining a scholarship from SAE Electronic Music Course really helped set me on the right track. But to be honest, the most important aspect is just rolling up my sleeves and hustling every day! Getting to know the right people in the industry and being part of the dance music community. When I’m not playing, I always try and support dance events particularly now with the lockout laws in Sydney and the shutting down of festivals. I believe in supporting my peers and know that this is crucial to create a community we can thrive in as artists. Another key factor is surrounding yourself with supportive people and building the right team for your projects or single. Be open to change and feedback and just keep pushing on.
How do you approach developing timelines for your career?
Timelines are useful, and it keeps me focused. I aim to release 3-4 singles per year and a handful of remixes in between to keep things fresh and exciting. Planning in advance is essential so I like to work with my booking agent to make sure we have one cohesive timeline for any roll out, and so they can book tours around the release of my singles.
If you need help creating a release timeline check out Your Music Release Timeline
What is the most significant challenge you have conquered in your career?
As an independent & unsigned artist, I bear the responsibility for how my career pans out, and it’s not always an easy burden to bear. I have no choice but to wear many hats. Action has to come within as it’s not coming from anywhere else. I’ve had to learn to keep my energy levels up and stay focus, and not be discouraged by the many obstacles we face. It’s often easy to fall into a kind of existential anxiety. And at times I’ve found myself wondering, “Why am I doing this?” and “Is what I do valuable?”. Simply getting to the point where I can financially support myself through DJing and music requires a lot of hard work, determination and patience. Having the right mindset and drive to me is the biggest challenge of all and probably the one that really matters.
Need some advice on making it in the industry? Check out Dream Small, Act Big: How To Make It In The Music Industry
What will musicians discover from touring and how should they prepare for it?
Panadol, dark sunnies, a liver that loves a chuckle and a healthy will to live! … oh and make sure you take a backup USB or a have a ‘phone a friend’ stand by… thanks, Mum!
How should people educate themselves on current industry issues?
On the one hand, I believe ..The horse that races with blinkers on, wins. Balance of life will keep you grounded and focused. On the other hand as a woman in the music industry, some issues need to be addressed and conversations to be had with other artists and industry folks. Though on face value, it may seem that the music industry is filled with inspiring and prolific women, it remains embarrassingly lopsided when it comes to gender parity. There have been recent studies done on this issue, and they found that women entering the music industry in Australia are at a disadvantage and only represent a third of employed musicians in Australia. So there is still so much work to be done in terms of fighting for women of all ages to be embraced and championed by this industry, both in front and behind the scenes. We need to promote the women who are doing well so that the next generation feel that music is a viable career option and open to everyone.
How have you integrated modern technology into your content process?
I start with the art and then work backwards. The content writes itself. Be organic, even if it means scheduling your posts from the loo.
You can listen to her #1 single Ocean below!
If you’d like to see Beth Yen live on the decks you can check out her upcoming events here!