Interview with Candice Redding: "You either choose to sexualise yourself or work your a** off"
Candice Redding from Johannesburg, South Africa, has been an official DJ for the IPL Cricket League and is a prominent name at major music festivals, apart from having made her debut in Bollywood with a cameo opposite Salman Khan, in the film, Sultan. She chats with Indulge about the growing EDM scene in India, and the prospects for women DJs to make it big.
How is the scene improving, and becoming more accepting, for women DJs? Is it a good time to be a woman DJ in India?
Candice Redding: The scene has always been good and fair to me. I’ve never felt discriminated in this industry! The problem is, as a woman when you enter the industry you are given two options - either choose to sexualise yourself or to work your a** off. I clearly chose the latter and I’ve never had any problems.
Tell us a little about some of the personal challenges that you had to overcome in your own journey as a DJ. How do you see the future for DJing opening up in the country, and overseas?
Candice Redding: Lack of sleep and not being able to keep the healthiest routine was one of the biggest hurdles for me. I’ve spent more time in the air than on land during season time. I miss my pets more than anything else. Now it’s been six years and it’s all part of my lifestyle.
The scene is already open here the only problem is people are held back by their own creativity and confidence. The only way to be an artist is to let go of yourself self and truly express on the platform you get. The scene/money/music everything is there but we need more people pushing it higher and I think its slowly but surely happening.
How have festivals like Sunburn helped in promoting up-and-coming DJs? How important are such platforms for the growth of not just the DJ community, but also of the entire lifestyle?
Candice Redding: I do feel it's very important, it gives you a great platform to be recognised by bigger brands and festivals. But my question is, what does the artist do with the platform given. I make sure I give it my 100%. I took the bulls by the horns and ensured I delivered a phenomenal show each and every time. That’s my stage and that’s where I shine!
Is there a word of advice, or pointers that you'd like to offer, for organisers of music festivals - perhaps for better artist management, or improved crowd control? How would you like to see things improving?
Candice Redding: I’d love to say that Pyros really add to the shows and give it the magic that we all look for! I love it. Secondly, make sure the cabs are there when we land please. And be friendly and honest with the artist because at the end of the day we all want an exceptional show.
Do you often find yourself faced with concerns about culture, and morality? How do you deal with untoward reactions - do you ignore them, or would you rather encourage positive, meaningful discussion?
Candice Redding: If you’re going to be negative or sour at a festival, you clearly shouldn’t be there. But jokes aside, I rather chose to ignore the negativity and embrace the positive vibes. I don’t think I’ve been affected by issues related to that. I think it's very important not to sexualise yourself for your job especially as a woman in this day and age and in this industry. Through not sexualising myself for my job I’ve upheld mine and others morality and culture by all means.
Is it true, in 2018, that there are more opportunities for rising DJs in the circuit outside of India? Do you believe that you'd gain more success by hitting the international scene, over the Indian circles?
Candice Redding: I do think platforms have opened up internationally for any artist coming from India be it music, art, dance etc. It provides a larger audience but that being said, India in itself is so huge and the fan base you build here is extraordinary. I also believe that each scene across the globe has its own pros and cons so yes of course international opportunities have come up and are great but its safe to say I love India the most.
Tell us about your idols. Who do you look up to, for inspiration? How did they help motivate you, in your chosen path as a DJ?
Candice Redding: Queen, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Michel Jackson to name a few of the original idols but in today’s generation and talent, people that inspire me have to be Curbi, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Dilon Francis, Daft Punk. For me, people who push the limit and do everything for the art and culture inspires me.
What are your personal goals, as a DJ, for the new year? Do you have any EPs or albums expected? How much of your focus is likely to be on live gigs, and tours, over studio recordings and album releases?
Candice Redding: This year, I’m going to be focusing on dividing my time equally between touring and the studio. I have upcoming releases on one of the most well established labels in India and I’m also working on five new dance music tracks which you’ll see over the course of the year. I was also part of a global format reality show on a huge network. Stay tuned!
A word of advice for aspiring DJs? How would you play mentor to some of the new names emerging in the circuit?
Candice Redding: Push the envelope otherwise you’ll only have yourself to blame when others surpass you. Remember the goodness comes from creating your own cultural following and always always always be humble and positive. Be the inspiration and remember energy is everything!