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Candice Heyns: turning the tables

Candice Heyns is hooked on music.

‘When I search for  music on the net, I’m like an addict – I can literally sit for hours,’ she laughs. ‘I’m constantly looking for new artists and new sounds.’ It’s not surprising, then, that Candice has forged a career in the music industry, first working behind the scenes in promotion and management before she launched her career as a solo DJ, one half of electronic duo Blush n Bass, a radio and TV presenter, and a budding businesswoman.

How did you make the leap from behind-the-scenes to taking the stage yourself?

I was always involved in the music industry. My ex-boyfriend is from Killer Robot, which is a top techno act. When he’d go out, I’d teach myself how to beat-mix off vinyl on his turntables, all without him knowing. I always had a passion for music and that’s how I learnt to DJ. But I was just too nervous – there weren’t many female DJs out there and I didn’t have the confidence within myself to do it. When I landed up managing The Dirty Skirts, it gave me that confidence and showed me what it was like to be involved in the music scene. That was four years ago.

Do you still get nervous before a show?

Definitely. But getting nervous for a show is one of the exciting parts of being a DJ. When you get up on stage, it’s always nerve-racking, but with the first song you play, the nerves go and you find yourself having the best time. I am very interactive with my crowd, so youwill see me jumping up and down with my hands in the air. I love it. You clearly also love being in Blush n Bass. What’s the appeal of a duo? Working with somebody is great because you inspire each other. You feed off each other’s energy on the stage and also have a lot of fun together. Being a solo artist is something I want to pursue for life because I have more say in what I do – it’s my sound and my influences. As a duo, you have to have a very similar ear for music in order for it to work, and there can be conflicts of interest.

As a woman, did you find it difficult to break into the SA electronic music scene?

I’m finding it more challenging now with a solo career. Blush n Bass is something completely unique. We wouldn’t play commercial music and we wouldn’t dress in anything too sexy, so it was quite easy for us to break into the scene and people had a lot of respect for us. But yes, as a woman, it’s always tricky as people think you are given a chance just because you’re female. Of course, once you get behind the decks and show people the skills you have, they quickly change their tune. But I would say the biggest issue is that there are a few women in the industry who use the fact that they’re women to get somewhere, instead of focusing on the music and the craft. Just because you are a guy doesn’t mean you can hear music or play music better than a girl.

But I’m sure you still get guys hitting on you?

Yeah, I’ve got groupies. I love them. Who wouldn’t love some groupies? I actually had a guy come to every single one of my events at Orphanage. He was extremely good looking, like a model, but he was very young. He even lied to me about his age because he wanted to date me.

You’ve now branched out from live DJing to hosting a weekly show on 2oceansvibe radio.

I love it. I went on 5FM and did an interview with Roger Goode, and when I walked out of there, I was completely and totally blown away. I just thought, ‘Oh my word, I want to do this’. Now I’ve been doing my own radio show for a year and a half and I absolutely love it. It’s completely different to DJing, but it’s great and definitely something I want to do more of in the future. last year, I did a bit of TV presenting on a programme called MK Elektro and I’ve really found my niche. I love interviewing people. I’m really confident in that sense, so it’s definitely something I want to pursue as well.

As if you’re not busy enough, you recently set up a sound management company. Were you looking for something new and challenging?

Yes, working on Crafted Sounds brings my business side back to me. I love being a DJ and I love being an artist, but I come from a corporate background, having managed bands, and I would never want to let that part of my brain go. I also love doing events though. There is nothing better than working on a function from the beginning to the end and seeing its success.

  • This article originally appeared in Man, the men’s lifestyle magazine of the Foschini group.

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