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DJ Sam Du

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Fordham University

culture

DJ Sam Du

Our launch party DJ is well on her way to the top

Cole Coyer

10.14.17

The term “up-and-coming” gets thrown around a lot in the music industry. It describes artists with relatively small followings who are on a promising path. There is no defined timeline or guarantee of success for “up-and-coming” artists. But for Samantha Du, that success may be coming sooner rather than later.
I met freshman Samantha Du at the most recent Rival event, where she told me that she was involved with OWSLA, an electronic music label founded by Sonny Moore. You may know of Sonny by his stage name, Skrillex. Skrillex, for the uninitiated, is a Grammy award winning electronic dance music (EDM) artist at the forefront of his genre. As a fellow musician, I envied Sam’s opportunity to not only meet but work with Skrillex, who Sam described as a major influence in her music career, and one of her personal idols.

Skrillex

Sam is from Boulder, Colorado, where she started playing the piano at the age of three. Thirteen years later, while at a local hookah bar, she met the bar’s house DJ, Illenium, who suggested producing music. Sam took to the idea and had her then-boyfriend, also a DJ, teach her the fundamentals. Not long after, another local Boulder hookah bar hired her as their house DJ where she did biweekly sets. Although it was a modest gig, Sam had found her passion and was actively pursuing it. Unfortunately, her tenure mixing tracks in her hometown was short lived. Just before her junior year of high school, her parents decided she needed a change of scenery, and enrolled her in an all-girls boarding school in Albany, New York- a far cry from trendy Boulder.

When a musician is uprooted and thrown into a foreign situation, it gives them something new to draw inspiration from. While Sam was not where she wanted to be, she did not resent the school or its student body, and instead made the best of her situation. Armed with her laptop and small CDJ-mixer, she honed her skills in her dorm without much collaboration or guidance. Lyrics are a minor part of EDM, therefore any emotion is felt through dynamics. Granted, the aim of EDM is to get ravers dancing and excited, but the emotions of the artists are inevitably present. Sam’s situation at boarding school caused her passion to burn hotter and artistic vision to become crystal clear, making her a unique artist worthy of OWSLA’s notice.

Her efforts paid off the following summer when her then-boyfriend arranged Sam’s first big show in Boulder. Sam opened for DJs Slander, REZZ, and No Mana at Club Beta for a crowd of about 250. After hearing her music, No Mana suggested sending material to a few record labels, one being Skrillex’s OWSLA. So Sam, with no manager, agent or collaborators, sent some music she made at school to OWSLA. She was denied by the label, telling her that her music “was not new and didn’t fit the label”. Sam refused to be discouraged and continued to make music in an effort to impress OWSLA and prove them wrong. Her second attempt produced the same results, as did the third. Still motivated to join the ranks of her favorite DJs, she sent material a fourth time and finally grabbed the interest of the label that had repeatedly denied her.

Sam performing

OWSLA offered Sam the opportunity to contribute singles for release while developing her own sound and style. Sam does not have a “full” contract with the label; but her agreement with the company is that if she continues to develop her talents, she will have a spot on their official artists list. Sam signed her contract with OWSLA this past August, and her immediate goal is to earn a spot on OWSLA’s 2018 new artists list. While it’s no guarantee she will, there seems to be nothing that can stop Sam from bringing her dreams to fruition. She’s overcome adversity before, and is confident she can do it again.

Sam’s story is the perfect example of the determination and character needed in order to be an artist. Refusing to be discouraged is a must when trying to break into something as competitive as the music industry. Sam went from making music in her dorm to having her idol, one of the most revered electronic musicians in the world, say “Welcome to the family”. This is possible for one reason, and one reason alone: she would not give up. Although she is talented musician, it is this key quality that makes Samantha Du the perfect “up-and-coming” artist.

Due to contractual obligations, Sam currently does not have much music released. If you are interested in hearing the sounds that caught Skrillex’s attention, come to the Rival’s launch party October 14th. Sam will be mixing songs that everyone knows and loves, not just her own original material. So whether or not you are an EDM fan, come out to our event so you can say you saw DJ Sam Du before it was cool. See ya there.