The Buzz About DJ Bia

DJ Bia made her debut in Los Angeles and quickly progressed up the ranks, making guest appearances at world-renowned hot spots Pour Vous and Viper Room before moving to the UAE. She currently holds down five residencies in Dubai, including the poolside Dek on 8, Tong Thai, the Hilton Double Tree, Cuba Bar and Bliss Lounge, the stunning beach-side bar where her soundtracks play against the setting Arabian sun with a blend of Balearic Beats and Deep House. 
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She has played alongside US rapper Fuse ODG and was commissioned to play at the Dubai World Cup after-party, a world famous event with over 30,000 race-goers. In the past year, she’s played for the Ferrari Owner’s Club, opened for Akon at the Italian Embassy and composed music for the Miss India 2017 Fashion Show. And that’s alongside her regular work for Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Guerlain and her recent show soundtracking the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at d3.
 
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1] How did you start DJing?
It all started in Budapest many years ago in an underground radio station called “The Forbidden Radio”. I’ve been listening to music and travelling the world since I was a child. I visited Australia, Asia, Africa & Europe and I was always accompanied by my headphones and my MP3 player. My passion for music just got more intense over the years and I started taking classes from professional DJS who taught me their craft. I then added my personal vibe & style to it.

2] Who have been your biggest musical influences since you started Djing?
Definitely Sonique. She is the main reason I became a DJ. I watched her hit “Your love it feels so good” hundreds of times and realised that there were so many coincidences between my life and that song. She plays the role of a waitress that dreams of becoming a successful DJ. While I served passengers as a flight attendant I was dreaming about spinning my favourite records for a big crowd of people. It took a lot of work & patience but in the end, I made it happen!
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3] Do you recall how your first show went? Tell us about it 🙂
IT WAS A DISAAAAASTEEEER!!!!! My first gig was in one of the biggest clubs in Bucharest and I was totally unprepared and had no experience, just tons of butterflies in my stomach. I still remember the Guest DJ laughing at me and my weird set, the crowd staring at me and not dancing and me walking out of the club in tears while promising myself that I would never touch the decks again. Oh well, it took me 2 years to get over it.

4] What is a common misconception about this industry that people have? Especially being a Female DJ?
Only 10% of the DJs at the big festivals around the world are Female DJs. I believe that we women don’t believe in ourselves enough and at times we underestimate our capabilities. When you are a new DJ, it is only natural to feel inferior to those that have paved the way for you (mostly men). Of course your confidence is not going to be so high, especially after having an experience similar to mine when I first started DJing. The secret lies in your ability to prove yourself wrong.
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5] What does success mean to you?
A while ago, I thought that success meant earning a lot of money but I was wrong. The more money I made, the more problems I’ve seen. Success is having a peaceful sleep at night and a fresh creative mind in the morning that can inspire other people too.

6] What would be your message to any aspiring Artist or DJ?
Never give up on your vision. Knock on every door and agency in town. Learn how to deal with rejection and understand that it’s an important part of your journey to success. Don’t believe in people that try to pull you down when you talk about your dreams.
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Smoking Isn’t Injurious!

Smoking isn’t injurious especially when it’s Smokingroove. So this is a story all about how…wait, rewind, different story. Let’s start with a little show and tell first.

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I first met Safe Smokingroove at a random party. After that we kept bumping into each other all across Dubai and that’s how we became friends. There’s something about Safe that just inspires you to walk your own path so one day I asked him about his story.

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It started with this expression and an explanation that went something like this. “I was living a regular life but it slowly felt like just black and white so I decided to add a little colour to my life. I did the whole 8-6 corporate life in the day, went home in rush hour, ate and went to the clubs, meetings or studio after that. I made a decent bit of money but like those actors working as waiters we always see in shows like Entourage, it was purely so I could function and actually eat. When you start out, there’s not much money involved and rent & food needs to be paid for. That was a decade ago. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I got a lot of business experience from those days and insight into how big business actually works.”

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Curiosity got the better of me and I blurted out, “But weren’t you scared of making any mistakes?”

He smiled and replied, “You’re always going to make mistakes. I’ve made so many that I’ve lost count and some were quite large ones. When you start, you have all the hunger in the world but time and failures have a habit of eating away at that hunger-stash. I’m a natural stubborn asshole so I stuck at it for a long time (over 20yrs) but I have built a global following of friends and fans by being honest with myself and my goals. Play hard but work harder.”

hug dealer.jpg“So when you are not being a ‘hug dealer’ (check out the picture above) how do you actually manage to juggle your finances and your passion for music?” I quipped.

“My biggest mistake has been not hanging onto as much cash as I should have. That Rock’n’Roll lifestyle will catch up with you so get your finances in order. Save as much as possible as this thing does not last forever. Get clued up on investments, savings and tax breaks. It all counts!”, he replied.

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“What has gotten you this far with your dreams? What’s given you the courage to never quit halfway?” I asked feeling quite inspired.

“Honesty with yourself is the important thing but as for others, this IS the music business so I’ve learned to take what some people say with a grain of salt,” he answered without losing a beat.

If you want to learn more about building a smoking hot music empire and about what Safe and his brother  Marko have achieved over the last 20 years, you can check out Smokingroove HQ.

Follow Your Dreams. You Never Know Where They Will Take You!

Everybody has family friends…certain families that adopt you as their own when you are growing up. Mothers and fathers that love you as much as your own parents and kids that are like your own brothers and sisters. That was the Al-Azzeh family for me. Aunty Pinky and my mother have been best friends since college and her kids, my sister and I were brought up together, jointly by two mothers who loved spending all their time together. We went through everything together. From watching Philips Top Ten (a bollywood music show) every Friday night to having our own fashion shows, from marrying off aunty Pinky’s youngest child to my baby sister to cooking in earthenware pots, from fighting over boys to learning how to dance for the first time, we did it all. This story is about Aunty Pinky’s youngest son who I have watched grow from a toddler into a very famous B-boy (dancer).

Naser Al Azzeh | JadoPado Learn

Meet Naser Al Azzeh. He was a shy, quiet kid growing up and thought his sisters and all their friends were crazy (especially me, I am sure). While his sisters and I were always up to something or the other, he was the good kid who never gave his mother any trouble. While his sisters spent hours dancing, he would turn up his nose as if to say, ‘Oh my God! Can’t you find something better to do?’ Ironically he was the first person to hit the dance floor (literally) at his sister’s wedding!

Naser Al Azzeh | JadoPado Learn

I shifted out of Bangalore five years ago but I always kept in touch with the Al-Azzeh family. Initially I started seeing videos on facebook of this lithe figure who had some wicked moves! And then the first time I went back to Bangalore for a holiday, I met the Black Ice Crew – Naser’s own team of dancers! They blew my mind away with their lightning fast moves! These guys really know how to dance!

Nas collageHe is just 25 but Naser has found his calling. From somebody who used to spend hours watching music videos to learn new moves, he now offers specialised dance classes all over Bangalore. He has taken part in international B-boy competitions and has his own crew of dancers! B-boying with its dizzying head spins and stylish hand-stands has become quite the rage in India now and at the helm of this new movement is Naser Al Azzeh.

The Creative Spark

All of us are made to shine in different areas. The problem is we spend our youth chasing illusions and put off true happiness for later. That is the biggest trap we all fall into! Always surround yourself with people who inspire you to follow your dreams, who light that spark of creativity within you!

The Creative Spark | life is an open road

Meet Sanjay Rajoura. He spent ten years of his life tied down to a boring corporate job that he detested! Don’t get me wrong, he has worked for some of the best employers in his industry, made a lot of friends (that’s just the kind of guy he is) and was rolling in dough but he still wasn’t happy. What? Many of you might jump to be in that place but wait! Think about what you really want to do with your life. That is what he did!

The Creative Spark | life is an open road

He left his high paying job in the States and came back to India when he just couldn’t take it anymore. A lot of people around him did not understand his decision but he stuck by it. He put his fist into the bag of creativity to see what life had in store for him and to his surprise the answer was not just one thing but a ton of different things! Was it easy? No way! He is a very talkative, friendly, funny guy by nature and is always up for a new adventure. So he decided to do something that was not very popular at that point of time in Delhi, stand-up comedy. He traded in his corporate wardrobe for a comfy pair of jeans and a T-shirt and started making people laugh for a living. ‘You are kidding me right?’ Nope! That’s exactly what he did!

The Creative Spark | life is an open road

That was just the first step in his journey towards creative freedom. Once he had made his mark as a comedian, he started acting in short films and commercials produced by friends. As he began to establish himself, something bigger came his way. He was offered a TV show that would air on Fox Traveller – ‘What’s With Indian Women’. He did a damn good job with that show and won the hearts of people all over the country! But he wasn’t going to stop there.

The Creative Spark | life is an open road

Because Sanjay had the guts to walk away from everything he had built up and start again from scratch, people now know him as a comedian, an actor, a tv show host, a writer and even a movie script writer.  So instead of just letting your dreams fade away, remember it’s never too late to follow them! You never know what lies in store for you, until you start moving in that direction right?

Dinner With a Guinness World Record Holder

As someone who is into travel and unique experiences, I am fortunate to meet new and interesting people all the time; and Dubai’s cosmopolitan milieu brings plenty of opportunities to meet high flying achievers from different walks of life. In my relatively short stay here, I have, so far, met someone with so many academic degrees that I finally gave up trying to count them, a stunt body double for Shah Rukh Khan and now a Guinness World Record holder as well! This particular friend of mine is someone I travel with everyday, to the metro station! Unassuming but utterly out-going and extremely friendly, Roshni Ferrao welcomes people with the widest smile I have ever seen! She works in the insurance industry and chats up a storm. The fact that she is a Mangalorean like me, sealed the deal on our friendship.

Dinner With a Guinness World Record Holder | life is an open road

Roshni and her husband Willie are a chip off the old block as far as Mangalorean hospitality goes and they were kind enough to invite me to their place for dinner. Willie is a reserved person who takes his time to open up but he and my husband hit it off immediately, talking about music, college life, tattoos and bike accidents. As the two of them chatted, Roshni brought out an immense array of very tasty starters; before rolling out the heavy artillery: a seriously awesome main course of trademark Mangalorean dishes- Pork Curry made with homemade Baffath powder, Chicken Sukka and Pulao; followed by some wonderfully delicious Payasam.

Dinner With a Guinness World Record Holder | life is an open road

Now as we all know a shared meal makes people fast friends. It also leads to people opening up about themselves. Willie, the initially reticent host was the one who blew the lid off a proud family secret. Roshni Ferrao is actually a Guinness World Record holder! Roshni was part of a group of singers who sang Konkani songs for forty eight hours straight to bag a new Guinness world record! This multi-talented young woman who I had been travelling with everyday, it turned out, is not just any other insurance professional. She sings, cooks, hosts events and does so much more, hardly ever giving away, at any time, that she is in fact, the holder of one of the highest accolades to human achievement!

Payasam at Roshni's

It boggles my mind to think she lives in my building! So yes, peeps, there you have it, I have broken bread with a Guinness world record holder, hopefully the first of many! And while I’m at it, here’s a thought: Get to know your neighbours better, you never know, Elvis might still be in the building!