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How She Got There: Dani Deahl, DJ, Producer & Blogger


Name: Dani Deahl
Job Title and Description: Producer / DJ / Blogger / Journalist
College/Major: School of The Art Institute/Visual and Critical Studies
Website: www.danideahl.com
Twitter Handle: @danideahl

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Dani Deahl: There is no typical day! As a full time music producer, DJ and blogger, my schedule is dictated by traveling for gigs, when studio time is available and when creativity hits. Some days I might write 20 blog posts in a row reviewing singles followed by a feature article for Insomniac, and some days I might have a studio session followed by Skype meetings with people I’m collaborating with. I think I’d personally go crazy with a set schedule. I like that it’s different every day.

What is the best part of your job?

DD: The unpredictability and the crazy experiences I get to have. One week I’m hanging out with Tommy Lee in the DJ booth in Chicago and the next I’m at a range shooting vintage guns with a promoter/ex-Marine in Minneapolis. You learn to say yes to almost anything that’s thrown your way.

 What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

DD: I was 17 or 18 when I got my first club residency. I had told the owner that I would play the first night for free, and if he liked me, he could pay for me to come the next time. That wound up being my first residency for over a year.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

DD: Networking is key for nightlife and music producers. If you have the opportunity to go out to events where artists are playing that are similar to you, do it. Participate online—talk to your favorite artists on Twitter and reply in subreddits like /r/edmproduction. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to be noticed by someone.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

DD: There are a few—my parents, obviously, who always believed in me and even bought me Logic and sent me to MIDI camp in high school. My good friend George Hess who has always believed in me and made connections happen for me that I could have never dreamed of. My husband Fei who has always been my biggest supporter and fellow party animal and my manager Devan who works his tail off on my behalf 24/7. I know there are heaps of people I’m missing—there’s always a team behind what you do…be sure and be thankful for them!

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

DD: The more popular an artist gets, the more people have an opinion about you, and it’s not always going to be pleasant. I have always said as long as I can stand by my own words and actions, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

DD: Not being vocal enough. I was always willing to help other people out and it took a while for me to learn that I could ask for help and favors in return. The worst thing that can happen is someone says no, so why not ask?

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

DD: There have been several—being on the main stage for Spring Awakening Music Festival, being in the green room with Lil’ Jon and having him grab my face and scream for a pic, being the first person ever to sign a twerk/trap song to Armada (Armin Van Buuren’s label)…it’s not a normal life. I’m constantly being surprised.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

DD: Accountability, promptness and organization. I want people on my team who follow through with what they’re supposed to do, communicate and don’t need to be reminded multiple times to complete something.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

DD: Don’t let your fear of failure ever be greater than your desire for success. It’s easier now than it ever has been to get into music production and DJing with forums, Reddit and YouTube overflowing with production tips and software cheaper than ever. Being an artist isn’t an easy road, but like anything, you get out of it what you put in, and the rewards can be pretty damn sweet.

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