It's no small feat coming up in the cut-throat international DJ game, much less if you're a woman. But Sydney Blu didn't only defy those odds by becoming one of the biggest-selling artists in EDM. She also became the veritable queen of South Beach clubland by landing herself a highly coveted residency at Mansion in 2010.
Even being signed to Deadmau5's prestigious Mau5trap label wasn't enough to contain Blu's globe-spanning ambition, which is why she's also launched her own Blu Music imprint, aiming for nothing short of complete world domination.
We caught up with Sydney Blu ahead of her new Live From Mansion compilation album on Nervous Records, out on June 7.
Crossfade: How did you first get drawn to electronic music and when did you start DJing and producing yourself?
Sydney Blu: I was drawn to it by seeing my first DJ live in an underground club in Ottawa, Canada called Atomic. Was incredible experience and definitely was inspired by the music and the DJ. I knew i wanted to do it instantly. It only took a couple years after that to start DJing and then once I was a DJ, I knew I had to produce music. I went to school for audio engineers and then spent countless hours in the studio learning.
How did you first hook up with Deadmau5 and what did he impart to you professionally?
Deadmau5 is from Toronto like myself. We were friends and started writing music together. It was very inspiring to work with him -- definitely helped and inspired my career.
The Toronto EDM scene seems to be hotter than ever right now. What can you tell us about your experiences working there?
It's very hot right now. Toronto has got a crazy scene. I mean, arguably the best in North America. You gotta be good if you wanna DJ in that city, and then also the producers coming out of there right now are on fire. I know most of them quite well and have DJed with them all for years, e.g. Art Department and Carlo Lio, and so many more. It's amazing how everyone is getting so recognized on an international level and we've all known each other for so long -- it's really cool.
What prompted you to move to Miami last year? And what are your impressions of the scene here?
Carlos Correal who ran Opium Group convinced me to move down and do a residency at Mansion. I knew it was a party scene here. I had played here a bunch of times before I moved and I loved it. I was super happy to get out of the cold weather.
How does a woman get to where you've gotten professionally in the male-dominated EDM game? Do you think women are on their way to making a bigger impact on the scene?
I think I have gotten where I have gotten as a women because I never looked at myself as a woman and I never played that card. If you work hard, people will take you seriously. I don't know if women are about to make a big impact on the scene. I just know where I am and I definitely am aiming for that. I hope that maybe some women will follow in my footsteps and get in the studio. It's not about DJing anymore, it's about writing music. I wish more girls would get into that. I think slowly but surely they are.
What are the pros and cons of being an international star DJ?
Pros: you get to see the world. Cons: it's exhausting.
You launched Blu Music a while back. How's it going so far and what do you have in store for the label next?
Blu Music has been amazing because it's putting my brand on the map which is another huge goal of mine. Up and coming will be much more amazing music, as well as more Blu parties. I definitely want to take the label to an international level with the parties. Our party this year at Mokai for Miami Music Week was insane. The talent was incredible -- we had John Dahlback, Thomas Gold, Kim Fai , Tommy Lee and Aero with SOFI live. It was never-ending talent and I plan to make every year even bigger.
How did Live From Mansion come about and how did you go about selecting the material?
Well 80% of it is my own material, which was also the goal with this album. I wrote this music all last year, finished it and then licensed just a few of my favorite tunes from my favorite artists. We also thought it would be appropriate to do a Mansion compilation since I moved down here to work with the club and to represent my past year in Miami.
What do you have going on for the rest of 2011?
Touring the world and just releasing a ton of music on several different labels as well as my own. This album is going to be a big tour for the next few months and then as soon it's over I'm going to start working on another artist compilation.