One of Jägermeister’s Music Collective of 2023 for Notion 94, DJ and broadcaster Vanessa Maria talks embracing her moment and the importance of brands like Jägermeister supporting emerging DJs on the scene.
There’s a reason Vanessa Maria has been named one of the most important young people in music today. As well as being a dynamic DJ, she’s a broadcaster at foundation.fm, regular on BBC Radio 1Xtra, a collaborator of Boiler Room and host at Resident Advisor. People everywhere are dancing thanks to her eclectic beats and work.
Even being as well-established as she is, getting booked for festivals isn’t guaranteed. These huge-scale performances are career-defining, so when Vanessa was invited to Glastonbury this summer it felt huge – exhilarating but certainly not something to be taken for granted. Invited by Jägermeister to play at Norfolk’s Sundown festival in early September, the London DJ experienced this rush of excitement and gratitude once again. The crowd went wild for her high energy and funk fusion rhythms, and it was a joy to witness other up-and-coming artists experience the same.
From early (Jägerbomb-fuelled) nights out discovering dance music in Bristol to now working with the brand, Vanessa is proud to be part of the Jägermeister family. Dedicated to supporting emerging DJs and artists via a range of initiatives, from festivals to collaborating on editorials, for Jägermeister it’s all about amplifying the visibility of rising talent.
Catching up with Vanessa at the festival, she reflects on her rise in music so far, and the importance of industry support to overcome self-doubt.
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with music?
The moment I fell in love with music was when I was a little girl and my dad used to do dance parties for me on Sunday evenings. I remember one time he put on a reggae track, spun me round twice, and I was like, ‘This is amazing. I want to do this forever’.
When did you know you had to pursue music as a career?
It wasn’t until this year that I knew I wanted to pursue music as a career. I’ve always done it on the side as I’ve worked full-time jobs. I didn’t know it was possible for me. However, things started lining up and I started getting big bookings. I started seeing a future for me in music. I then saw that I could do it as a career.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to just do it. Do it right now. Don’t think about the consequences. The time is now.
What advice would you give to DJs trying to make it today?
The advice I would give to DJs trying to make it today would be to: 1) Understand how to market yourself. 2) Grow your network. 3) Most importantly, master your craft.
Why is it important to support rising DJs and artists?
It’s so important to support rising DJs and artists because we need more diversity in our communities. We need to uplift upcoming talent so we have more music. There is nothing worse than gatekeeping and shutting doors on emerging talent as it limits the creativity in the scene. We need to keep allowing people in, share resources and knowledge and allow the space to be open and free for everyone to use.
What artist are you listening to on repeat at the moment?
The artist I have currently on repeat is the Hudson Mohawke.
What does it mean to you to be part of a festival like Sundown?
To be a part of a festival like Sundown means the world to me. As a small artist, it’s really hard to get festival slots, so it really feels like I am able to connect with new people, new audiences and play the music that I love.
How has Jägermeister been a part of your best nights?
Jägermeister has been a part of some of my best nights, especially at Bristol, where I started and where I was introduced to dance music. I remember going out, taking shots, being free and let it go on the dance floor.
What does it mean for Jägermeister to support rising DJs and new music?
Jägermeister’s support for upcoming artists and for their support for emerging artists like me at Sundown is absolutely incredible. Something upcoming artists struggle with is self-esteem and self-doubt, so being platformed and positioned in places like this gives you that boost to keep going, continue, and to chase your dreams endlessly.
Last question, what’s next for you?
What’s next for me is to just take the things I’ve been doing and put them on a bigger platform. Bigger and better bookings. Stay locked into my TikTok, I’m always talking about what I’m doing on there.