Navigating the electronic scene on her own terms, we sit down with DJ HoneyLuv to talk about her Midwest roots, memorable gig moments and what’s yet to come.

Somewhere in the heart of Cleveland, Ohio, lies HoneyLuv’s childhood home: a place where music played its part above anything else. Filling the walls with joy, her father and mother’s eclectic musical tastes would traverse through the house when HoneyLuv was just a kid. Whilst her dad’s go-to was the rich sounds of ’80s and ’90s R&B, her mum—the house’s resident DJ—spun timeless vocal tracks from Frankie Knuckles to Crystal Waters. Little did she know that these tracks would pave the way for her genre-bending sound today.


Finding solace and influence in her parents’ musical affinities, HoneyLuv, whose real name is Taylor Character, takes this inspiration and brings it into the 21st century. When she isn’t making her genre-defying tracks, that meld house, techno, R&B and even reggaeton together, she is spinning her productions in her DJ sets. Known for her brawny basslines and stomping kick drums, HoneyLuv keeps the spirit of early house alive and kicking, all whilst adding a contemporary twist to the genre.

Her authenticity is why HoneyLuv’s artistry has been spotlighted from the get-go. Emerging onto the scene during the pandemic, she went from being a bedroom DJ to an international hotshot. When she was a fresh face in the game, she was already lauded as the next big thing—and rightly so—making BBC Radio 1’s Dance Future and Billboard’s 10 Dance Artists to Watch in 2022.


It wasn’t just the critics and platforms who spotted her talents swiftly, HoneyLuv soaked in accolades by many of the scene’s biggest names. Making a name for herself as the go-to collaborator, she has worked alongside industry heavyweights Chris Lake and Seth Troxler, as well as doing a b2b set with Idris Elba at this year’s Coachella, not to mention piquing the ears of house buffs worldwide with her groovy soundscapes and unrivalled dubs.


Now paving the way with her own label and party series, HoneyLuv is amplifying fellow queer BIPOC voices around her. As well as dropping dancefloor bangers, she is rising through the ranks and leading the way for the next-gen of DJs bursting onto the scene. Here, she talks about her Midwest roots, memorable gig moments and what’s yet to come.

Hey HoneyLuv, how is your 2024 so far?
It started super rocky but I’m finding my footing again, so I’m hopeful.
Your journey has been incredibly dynamic, from your roots in Cleveland to finding your passion in California. How did these diverse influences shape your sound as a DJ and producer?

Coming from these places, it’s hard not to be open and diverse. Each place has its own unique culture and flavour. Being able to learn and grow in them has shaped me to be someone open to new things and having that outlook is very important for a DJ because music comes in all shapes sizes and colours. Versatility is everything and being around different cultures, especially in LA where there’s a mix of so many cultures, it’s hard not to be influenced.

Transitioning from aspiring to join the WNBA to joining the Navy and then to becoming a DJ is quite the pivot. How did this journey evolve? And how do you think these experiences influence your approach to the music industry?

My life has always been unpredictable. So, having a journey that has evolved into what it is now, has been surprising but expected if you know me. These phases of my life took self-motivation, determination and self-confidence. These are crucial aspects of the industry; it’s not for the weak and it’s not for the lazy.

How do you integrate the eclectic sounds of your Midwest upbringing with the vibrant electronic scene of Los Angeles in your tracks?

I really wouldn’t say I portray anything LA in my songs, that was just a place for me to grow as an artist and to really open my eyes to the diversity of music that the city brings. I would say it helped me be open-minded with the music I make. As for being from The Midwest, that’s the bread and butter of the music I make. That’s where this music originated! It possesses that funk, soul, grooviness and swagger that Chicago and Detroit produced. I always love to have those elements in my songs and adding that spice of music from Cleveland makes it the cherry on top.

You’ve worked with industry giants like Seth Troxler and Chris Lake. What have been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from these collaborations?

Being yourself and not trying to race to the top. I feel like as a young artist we come in and want instant success and then once we get there we don’t know how to handle it or know what to do with it. With how fast everything was going, at times I felt it was too early for me but what I’ve learnt from both, especially Seth, is how to navigate longevity. You want to be here for a long time and to do that you have to be yourself and let the journey be natural. Keep doing you and everything else will flow perfectly. Instant success is not the answer because what goes up fast, comes down even faster. I’ve had to learn to enjoy the moments and appreciate these growing years because I plan on being here spinning records well into my 50s.

Your commitment to diversity and inclusion is inspiring. How do you see the current state of diversity in the electronic music scene, and what changes do you hope to see?

The state of diversity in electronic music always needs work. The last three years I’ve been in this industry, there have been some positive improvements but it can always be better. We have to keep working to make sure everyone receives the same opportunities and visibility.

Tell us about your label and party series. What are your goals for these projects, and how do they align with your vision for a more inclusive music community?

My label and party, 4 Tha Luv, is my print on the house music scene. I have big goals for this project, whether having a residency at Pacha or Hi in Ibiza or throwing parties in the heart of Barcelona. I want to share my passion with people who love music. As house has grown, we’ve started paying more attention to who’s spinning instead of the music. The reason I love jazz is because it’s not about the artist; it’s about the music and it’s important people know that. For my party, all walks of life are welcome. Leave the egos at the door! The label is the same.

Being named Future Star last year by BBC Radio 1 and gaining other notable recognitions must be rewarding. How do these accolades influence your career, and what drives you to keep pushing forward?

I wish that I soaked those moments in but my imposter syndrome took over during those times. I didn’t embrace them as I should have, but I’m proud of myself and they force me to keep going. It’s up to me to stay motivated and to take all the opportunities that can push my career forward. I’m hungry for more. People notice if you are in it for the wrong reasons; I see it all the time. I know that my love for this music is so intense and that’s enough to keep me wanting more. Travelling to different countries and trying new foods is the second thing that keeps me going.

You’ve remixed tracks for big names like Seth Troxler and Annie Mac. How do you approach remixing someone else’s work versus creating your original tracks?

I honestly approach both the remix and my original the same. Both of those songs are going to have an essence of me, so there isn’t a difference in how I approach either.

You’ve performed at major venues and festivals like Coachella and EDC. Can you share a memorable moment from your tours and how these experiences have shaped you as an artist?

Nothing has been able to top playing Cercle with Mochakk in Sevilla last year. During that set, the energy was insane and being there made me realise that this young girl from Cleveland had a dream and made it come true. The fact I was in Spain and DJing in that beautiful plaza was every validation that I needed to know I was doing what I was meant to. It was such an amazing feeling.

What’s next for you?

What’s next for me? well, anything is possible. The sky is the limit and we have no limits over here. But I can say that I’ll be at the airport this weekend!

Listen to 'Pilva (HoneyLuv Remix)' now: