Rising star Sam Blacky is making a massive name for herself in the music industry worldwide. She is a DJ, producer, label-head, former model, and all around girl-boss. She recently released her sunshine-laden debut EP Summer Solstice on her very own label, Stabby Records. We at Electric Hawk have been mesmerized with the strides she has been taking as a woman in electronic music, and Sam was gracious enough to give us birds an exclusive look into her life.
Katie Miller, Electric Hawk: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today! For anyone reading this that’s unfamiliar with you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your project!
Sam Blacky: Thanks for having me! I was born and raised in San Diego, hard-core Cali girl. I started in the music industry about 10 years ago in Australia after I got my degree in marketing. Out there I would put on the music festivals and events. Shortly after that, I transitioned into the booking side of things, and learned to DJ and produce for fun while doing so. My first few gigs were actually in Australia (my first show EVER was opening for Eric Prydz on his first Australian tour!)
After that, I moved back to LA where I pursued modeling full-time, and then slowly veered away from that back into DJ-ing. This was a very difficult process, as no one in the industry took me seriously. It was only through word of mouth that people at my shows would talk and spread the word that I was actually a damn good DJ. Still fighting that battle but it’s not as bad now.
KM: I know you fell in love with producing and performing in Australia, what led you to finding this creative outlet?
Sam Blacky: I always loved music. I was a full blown festival rave girl since I can remember, even when EDC was just a small thing at the LA Coliseum. I was always surrounded by musicians and DJs, and I just watched and learned as much as I could. After a while, I finally took a few classes and then just practiced until I was blue in the face. I would always find new music and would be the “go to DJ” at parties playing off my iPod or iPhone so I knew I had pretty good taste in music. I figured why not come from the booking side and put myself in front of the crowd?
KM: Your music has so many global influences, what inspires you the most creatively in your travels? What inspires you the most in the world of music?
Sam Blacky: Even before DJ-ing I always traveled, even as a young kid with my family. I have been exposed to different places and cultures my whole life. Honestly what inspires me most is physically being at shows and watching incredible artists, known or unknown, and seeing how they curate the entire vibe for thousands of people. That to me is so magical and mind blowing that one person has all that responsibility. There is nothing like watching a great DJ or musician perform and watching the crowd react. I think music is the most powerful thing to bring forth the whole range of emotions.
KM: You have toured all over the world and played at so many beautiful locations, are there any events or moments that stand out to you? Do you have a favorite event that you’d like to play again?
Sam Blacky: I will never forget playing a festival in Mexico in San Miguel De Allende called Soyser. It was in the most magical town I have been to. I got to play with Claptone and Blondish which was such a special moment for me. I also will never forget headlining Elements festival with Fisher and Disclosure. Being with them, performing with the in the middle of nowhere in the forest, and then heading over to Damian Lazarus set afterwards was so iconic.
My favorite city I have to say is Mexico City, which is weird because I am a total tropical beach-y type of girl. However that place has music, clubs, restaurants, culture, beauty, art, and vibes like nowhere else I have been. Of course Mykonos, Ibiza, and Bali hold strong in my heart as well, I have performed in all those places many many times and there’s something truly magical about them.
KM: Your stream series “A New World” was absolutely amazing. How did you come up with the idea to do that? What was it like performing to thousands of fans in their living rooms from these breathtaking locations?
Sam Blacky: It was after I saw all the Circle videos, I was so blown away and mesmerized by how they took music and blended it with breathtaking drone shots and beautiful scenery. I wanted to show people some of my favorite places (within the travel restrictions) and do the same thing. Covid was by far the hardest year of all of our lives, especially as touring/performing artists. I did this not only to share live shows with my fans, but also to try and make them feel like they weren’t locked in their houses, even if for just an hour. This project was so special, so hard, and so fun to create. I want to do more!
KM: Transitioning from modeling to a full time career as a touring musician and head of a record label must have had its difficulties. Is there anything you miss about modeling? Are there any crossovers between the two industries?
Sam Blacky: I don’t miss anything about modeling. The days were very long, trying on hundreds of outfits and posing over and over. I did meet amazing people, and would say 80% of my jobs were really fun because I mainly did campaign work (e-commerce is death) so I was lucky in that aspect. After DJ-ing full time, I just can’t believe how much fun you can have at work! The energy and everything about it is a 180 from modeling. That being said, there are tons of crossovers within the industries. It’s how I was able to get my foot in the door DJ-ing. I started my first two years really only DJ-ing at fashion events, like the Wildfox Coachella party, the Guess launch party, whatever it was, it was always an event correlated with a brand, so for that I am thankful.
KM: Your playlist “Stabby Blacky” is filled with some incredible music that you curated. Are there any artists or songs that you can’t get enough of right now that we should be listening to?
Sam Blacky: Thank you! Yes of course, I will forever love Chris Lake, Duke Dumont, Damian Lazarus, Lee Foss, Sofi Tukker, Carl Cox, Blondish. I mean so many classics, it’s hard to name. There are so many epic “new” people I can’t get enough of including John Summit, Westend, Vintage Culture, SNBRN’s new stuff, LP Giobbi, I’m sure I’m missing a ton but this is a great start 😉
Check out Sam’s epic playlist Stabby Blacky. Expertly curated and filled with the hottest house tunes of the moment.
KM: What is it like to be a woman working in electronic music today? Are there any challenges you feel you face in your career because you are a woman?
Sam Blacky: It is ridiculous that something as simple as being a woman can be so negative. Look, I love the music industry. I love the artists, I love the bookers, the managers, the labels, everyone is great. However, there is without a doubt a giant cloud over all female artists trying to prove themselves in this world. I have literally had club promoters from different countries who flew me all the way out there and paid me extremely well, turn to me after my show and say, “Wow, you are incredible, I can’t believe you can actually DJ, we just booked you because your hot and have an instagram following.” My jaw dropped. The amount of people who wouldn’t book me or put me on “serious” lineups for so long is endless, truly.
Once more and more people saw me play, heard my music, etc – the more people finally shut up about my looks or whatever else was hindering them from taking me seriously. I still battle with it every day in one way or another and I am sure I will continue to for quite some time.
Like I said on social media the other day, I am 5’8, weigh 105 lbs. When I was a model, people told me I would never ever make it; I was too skinny, too flat. Yet I was extremely successful for many years in that industry. In music, they definitely told me I would never be taken seriously because I was too branded as a model or a party girl or a wild child. Whatever the hundreds of reasons were. Here I am, with my own label, my first EP, headlining festivals, selling out shows, working my butt off. So, I guess they were wrong. You have to hear a lot of “No’s” before you hear “Yes’s”. Do not give up and do not let people get into your head.
Sam Blacky is a self made, force to be reckoned with.
Women like Sam Blacky are paving the way for a new era of musicians to take center stage. An era where women and queer artists have the platform they so rightly deserve. Representation is so deeply important, and it is so refreshing to see women crushing every area of this industry. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to get a glimpse into Sam Blacky’s world, and to spotlight this hardworking woman in the scene.
Don’t forget to check out Sam’s debut EP Summer Solstice, out now on her imprint Stabby Records.
Looking for new music? Keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts. Updated every Friday with all the latest releases. Whether it’s the newest drops from Sam Blacky, all your favorite artists, some old-school, or underground…we just want you to hear it.
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