June 09, 2018

My dad helped me find my confidence through music


I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “daddy’s girl” and that’s exactly what I am. I am close to my mom but there’s one aspect in my life that grew stronger because of my dad and that’s music.

Growing up, I would listen to the songs my parents would listen to like old-school R&B and hip-hop. My parents had me at a young age so the music I would hear were from the ’90s. They even have a fond memory of me singing along to New Edition’s “One More Day” in the car. I don’t remember doing this but I’m sure it was cute. As I got older, I still turned to my dad for music. My love for R&B and hip-hop music grew even more.  

Oh, I forgot to mention that my dad is a DJ (not full time) and has been for over 20 years. I used to watch him practice at home and even visited him at some of his gigs when I was in grade school. Don’t worry, these weren’t raves at clubs.

When my dad started DJ-ing, he used CDs. He would create different playlists and burn them on CDs. Because of his chicken scratch handwriting, my job was to write down the tracklists on small pieces of paper for each CD. During this time, I got curious as to what DJ-ing was and how it was done. Eventually he taught me how by mixing the same two songs back and forth. I was in grade school so I didn’t really pick it up after that. I wasn’t that interested.

Fast forward to college. At the end of my second year, I went through a not-so-pretty breakup. This happened around Christmas vacation. I remember being really down. I wasn’t eating or going out with my friends. Basically, I wasn’t making an effort to better myself.

After weeks of sulking I decided to get off my butt. Like many, a lot of my attention went to getting a revenge bod. I started working out like crazy and started eating really healthy. But something was missing. It wasn’t enough that I was just trying to look good. I mean, that’s really shallow. So, one day, I decided to ask my dad if he could teach me how to DJ again and he happily agreed.

Similar as to when I was in grade school, he taught me the basics first by following the beat of two tracks and mixing them back and forth until I got it right. This sounds easier said than done by the way. Because I remember trying to teach someone months after and I wasn’t very good at it. After a quick lesson with my dad, he gave me some songs to play around with. I would practice every day just for fun. I would play for hours. The time would just fly by and before I knew it, four hours had passed.

I started to feel really confident in myself again. I felt like I had found something that I was actually good at and I wanted to share that happiness. In February of 2015, I started posting short clips on my Instagram account and I got some supportive feedback from friends. Little did I know that a few days after, one of them would book me for my first gig. When I got the message, I rushed to my dad and asked him if I should take it. This was never really the plan. I learned how to DJ for personal growth and interest, I never saw myself getting gigs and playing at clubs and events. I remember my dad encouraging me to take it because the feeling of playing for a crowd is different from just playing in your bedroom. So, I took it.

The gig was just a few days away so I practiced and practiced. Our setup is in my parents’ room so my dad is usually there when I’m playing. Sometimes I would get nervous because I’d catch myself making mistakes and my dad would point it out and help me correct it.

Since I first started, my taste in music has changed but that DJ connection with my dad is still there. I have definitely grown a lot but I still ask him for help. Just a few weeks ago I asked him to help me find the right cue point for a song because I was having a hard time. But now, the relationship is more two-way. He also asks me for help. I started using different kinds of equipment in clubs, ones he wasn’t familiar with. So when he had to transition, he asked me for some help.

It’s been over three years since I started DJ-ing and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And I couldn’t have done it without my dad. I have more confidence in myself, I am able to express myself through music, and I’ve had so many great experiences through DJ-ing. I have also met so many great people through it. And, my dad was right, the feeling you get from playing for a crowd is incomparable to anything else.


Art by Marian Hukom

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