Quinn-DJing is more than just flashy lights and wild crowd

Starting a career as a DJ is not too difficult, but it takes a lot of perseverance and dedication to stay in the field and make a name for yourself.

Shalu Maharjan, also known as Quinn, has been making waves in the Nepalese DJ community since she started her career as a DJ in 2016 A.D. With her unique perspective and her engaging performance on the stage, she has been pushing the boundaries of her craft ever since.

Shalu Maharjan titled her stage name “Quinn,” inspired by the character, personality, and origin of Harley Quinn as depicted in the Suicide Squad film series. She said, “I was inspired by Harley Quinn’s free-spirited, bold, and creative nature, and I wanted to embody that in my own life and profession.”

Excerpt from the interview

How did you anticipate your career as a child?

DJing was not a prominent thing in society while I was growing up, and it was definitely not something I had considered for a career as I had no knowledge even about the existence of DJing. Deep down, I always knew that I wanted to get engaged in the music industry. I used to collect all my favourite music and play it or share tracks with my friends. Eventually, I stumbled upon the profession of DJing and realised that this was the right avenue for me. I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my passion for music by becoming a DJ.

Did you get the support of your family at the beginning of your career?

As the DJing field is dominated by men, there are fewer female DJs. It was difficult at times to convince family members that DJing is a secure career. And it took time for them to understand what we do and how we work as DJs. I succeeded in getting the approval from my family through my work and dedication.

How long has it been since you started your profession as a DJ? What are the changes that you have seen since you first started your journey?

It’s been 7 years in this industry, and the changes that I have seen are more positive. The number of promoters, mentors, and sponsors is increasing with the increase in mutual understanding. This has given upcoming DJs a platform to showcase their talent and hone their skills. Moreover, there has been a drastic improvement in technology, with new and innovative DJ equipment coming up.

What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a DJ?

The most rewarding part of being a DJ is that we can play and create music that no one has ever heard before and contribute to its popularity by giving it a personal twist and touch. As a DJ, we can also promote aspiring artists.

Have you ever been nervous before a performance? If yes, how do you cope with it?

Before each performance, I feel driven to give it my best with all the enthusiasm on stage. Yes, a bit of nervousness is always there, but with a leap of faith, I emphasise focusing on the audience—their energies, mood vibes, and overall attitudes—to help me use that as a positive catalyst.

Which is the event that you enjoyed performing at the most?

I got a great deal of satisfaction from performing at an event in South Australia. This event was special to me because I was able to share my love for music and DJing with my family and the Nepalese community in Australia.

How do you get the crowd engaged in the party spirit?

From my experience, I think the most important thing that a performer personally can do to engage a crowd is the interaction. A performer can share their enthusiasm and passion for the music with the crowd, and this energy is often reciprocated.

What do you have planned for the near future? Do you see yourself continuing your profession as a DJ?

As for my future plans, I see myself continuing to perform as a DJ and expanding my reach as an artist. I see myself creating my own music, doing more shows, and collaborating with other artists on projects that explore different styles and genres of music.

I also intend to expand my network and platform, providing more opportunities for myself and other emerging DJs to showcase our work while completing my bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology.

As a female DJ, has there been any experience of abuse in this field?

Fortunately, I have not encountered any abuse in this field. On the contrary, I have found support and encouragement from my peers and industry professionals.

The progress made in the DJ industry in Nepal has been significant, and the skill is appreciated for its merit regardless of the gender of the artist.

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