Her pursuit of this tradition-defying career came about when she first heard Calvin Harris’ ‘I’m Not Alone’ on the radio almost a decade ago.
For 22-year-old Joann Khoo, or more commonly known by her stage name, JOZY, she took matters into her own hands and turned her dream into a reality.
Initially a regular talent at Club SPACE, she now spins monthly for Cherry Discotheque. October 5th (today) also marks her debut in world-renowned Zouk (if you’re reading this today, what are you waiting for, it’s free!)
JOZY juggles between both her career and her studies. Currently a full-time undergraduate in LASALLE, she specializes in the Electronic Music stream.
It wasn’t a straight road to success when she first decided to delve into the art of electronic music. Having pursued a diploma in Mass Communications, her tertiary education didn’t pave the path to where she is now.
“Honestly, I took up Mass Communications because my sister asked a 16 year old me to choose something that has a better job opportunity – in case my aspirations of me being a DJ was a temporary thing,” she lamented, when asked why the change in direction.
JOZY recalled certain instances when she’d disclose her occupation with taxi drivers, only to receive responses like, “Oh DJ, wa very good leh. Means next time uncle driving can hear you on the radio lah.”
“It’s a good laugh, and comforting to know that the older generation has become so much more supportive of the art scene, though I’m pretty sure he misinterpreted what I meant by DJing.”
How Her Love For DJ-ing Began
She was amused by how music could be played without any instrument that is bowed, strummed or struck.
“Well then, if you are saying that pressing the buttons on the console is a way of striking, then I wanna know how (Calvin Harris)’s going about transiting through so many songs and adding all these weirdly satisfying “shhhccccch” sound effects in between.”
She initially began through self-learning, and then started searching for DJ courses to attend. Eventually, she found This Beat Is Sick (TBIS) and The Big House Academy (TBH).
“I was with TBH for a year but i’m now under TBIS. With the guidance from my mentors like TINC and the duo from the Bounce Squad (Inquisitive and Yeolo), I now get rostered for gigs at various clubs or events.’
Her close friends then offered her a few gigs in school for her to start out – and the rest is history. JOZY is now in her second year properly DJing and says that she has a whole lot more to learn.
‘You’re a female DJ. How does the industry react to that?’
JOZY admits that the stereotype surrounding female DJs and their physical appearance is true.
“Our first impression of people are their looks and I think that’s what organizers look for when they source DJs for their event, so that everything would look nice and perfect for their target audience.”
She adds that more often than not, it’s a matter of personal preference.
“If someone really likes your music, they’d hire you. If someone prefers your style, they’d hire you. If someone just wants your looks, they’d hire you. It’s about what fits their occasion best, and what you can bring to the table. it’s all about creating an identity for yourself because, in the end, music is heard by the ears right?”
You Shouldn’t Be Biased to One Genre
“There are only 2 main festivals here – Zoukout and Ultra, with some repeating DJs for the festivals. Most DJs invited to play in Singapore are EDM artists and it’s because the crowd demands it.”
“There is little variety in genres popular amongst Singaporeans, to educate the people and move forward or catch up in music trends with the other countries.”
She recalls the incident where The Chainsmokers played at the recent F1 concert – everyone was excited that they played their biggest hits but soon died down when they remixed it into trap, a genre Singaporeans aren’t familiar with.
“Everyone was shocked and stood still until the more familiar pop music came back.”
This is especially challenging for JOZY, who prefers non-mainstream music, “I think there are not enough platforms for me to share my love with a like-minded crowd.”
Chasing Your Dreams
JOZY, despite the difficulties she faces, encourages others to pursue their dreams as well.
‘If you wanna chase your dream then make sure that you will be the cream of the crop because if you are not the best then what’s the point?”
However, she adds that it’s also important to make sure you have enough money to survive and perhaps occasional indulgence in desserts to wind down with on your tough days.
It’s never too late to start chasing (or spinning). For JOZY it meant transiting from Mass Communications to DJing, what’s your move?
You can reach JOZY through her social media accounts: