In one of the world’s most competitive industries, musicians are faced with devastating odds of making it while experiencing the euphoric control of performing.
“I want my music to take me all around the world,” says Carley Scott, one of Denver‘s rising local DJ’s.
The 21-year old DJ and producer, Colson Steier says, “I just kind of feel the need to do it,” in reference to making music.
After reflecting on his passion for mixing beats and sounds, DJ Wasay Nabi said, “If there’s like a party or whatever that needs like a DJ, I’ll do it.”
Not a Good Market for Musicians
In a world where 93% of musicians, artists, DJ’s and producers are selling less than 1000 albums per year, becoming successful as a performer of music is really really really difficult, to say the least. But each local artist cites a trade-off in the pursuit of success: happiness. DJ Bad Gal aka Carley Scott, DJ Wasay Nabi and DJ and Producer Colson Steier have a passion for music that runs deeper than the deep house of the 1980’s, making their annual income of $500 and free drinks at local bars totally worth it.
“When I was 9 I started playing bass guitar in a band with like three of my friends from school and then when I was 13 I just started learning every instrument I could.” says Steier.
“I just DJ and I just do it for fun” says Nabi, who has been performing at clubs since age 15.
Scott performs under an alias and cites her muse, saying, “my inspiration is Fleetwood Mac.” Scott and her group-mates traditionally play sets that fall back on music from the 1970s – 1990s.
Likewise, Steier says, “the biggest inspiration for me probably is Pink Floyd.”
Finding Their Forte
In reminiscing on their beginnings, the community these artists were a part of was the most important.
“We would host raves in Pakistan and I would just DJ there, a lot of weekends for a couple months” says international student, Wasay Nabi.
“Me and two of my friends were really unhappy about the local music and so we decided to take it into our own hands and try out DJing,” says Scott, referring to her friends Grace Murray and Liza Scott who now perform with her regularly.
Steier, a student in the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music is working toward and Bachelor of Music and said, “a lot of kids needed bass players so I would just get shuffled in with bands all the time and I’d be in like four different bands at a time playing bass. I produce, I’m releasing an album hopefully this summer. It’s just me and it’s all original stuff.”
No Treble in Paradise
Local musicians, like DJ Bad Gal and Colson Steier feel connected to the sounds they make and the people they make them with. The camaraderie that comes with their careers in music helps to define their passion and inspire them. However, finding your soul sister or brother is no easy feat for artists.
I like working with groups but it’s really hard to find people who work creatively well together. In high school and middle school I just didn’t really have anybody that I was that similar with, that I worked well with, but I like working in groups and I like DJing with Wasay. It’s comforting to have somebody else with you. -DJ Colson Steier
Wasay Nabi is an international student from Pakistan and is known by Redford’s regulars as one of Denver’s most EDC-worthy, in reference to Las Vegas’ annual Electric Daisy Carnival rave rat DJ’s and a lover house music, techno and other electronic sounds.
Nabi says, “over here in the states I do it with Colson and at home I just do it individually, but then there’s other people as well, but they’re doing their own thing.”
DJ Bad Gal is in a group consisting of three female DJ’s who came together, developed a set list and play at Merchant’s Mile High Saloon regularly.
“I wouldn’t be able to split up with them. We all bring a certain aspect to the group dynamic,” says Scott of her bond with her friends and co-DJ’s.
Keepin’ It Trill
Like collaborating with other artists, Denver’s local DJ’s and producers feature their audience’s happiness in every track, feeling exhilarated while in control over the crowd’s dance moves and delight.
When I’m on the stage looking out at the audience I feel like I’m in control of everyone’s happiness. – Carley Scott
Likewise, Steier says, “I feel like I’m in control and you just appreciate that people are there with you. It’s a weird, really cool feeling. It feels good.”
“I just feel good. It’s just a good experience to make people vibe off your music and stuff.” says Nabi, feeling proud of his sets.
While getting paid by local bars like Redford’s, Crimson and Gold and Merchant’s Mile High Saloon is nice, Colson Steier, the 21-year old with 12 years of music experience, knows he needs a back-up plan: “I don’t really necessarily expect to be successful. I don’t think it’s gonna take me anywhere really. I’m not really putting all my eggs in that basket.”
Prelude to Passion
With the po
pularity of free streaming sites like Spotify, Soundcloud and Youtube increasing, the chance of financial stability in the world of synchronized sound is decreasing along with Apple iTunes and Amazon MP3’s downloads. Some artists will still relentlessly pursue record labels, sold-out tours and rockstar lives.
“I’m really excited for the future and I hope everything goes up from here. For sure I would give up my other dreams to pursue music,” says Scott.
Nabi says, “it feels like an accomplishment and I feel like there’s value to what I’m doing.”
“I just do it because it’s something I really enjoy doing and I just kind of feel the need to do it. I mean deep down it’s what I’d like to do,” says Steier.