When I was 12 years old I fell in love with rave music. It was the 90’s and even though I wasn’t old enough to go to a rave I became obsessed with rave culture. The clothes, the moves, and the music. I plastered every inch of my bedroom in dreamscape and fantazia flyers. I bought DJ magazines and hung out with my fellow rave loving friends.
At 15 I was at a car boot sale and bought a record deck. Only one. I got some jungle and hardcore vinyl and played it through a bust-up speaker in my garage. My friends called me DJ granny deck.
At 19 I started to go to the dance clubs of Brighton. The Zap and the Honeyclub, Volks and the Concorde 2 under the seafront arches. It was like a whole new world and I was in my element.
At 21 I moved to Brighton, dazzled by the people, the vibe, and of course the music. I had found my home.
At 23 I bought a set of Technics 1200’s (the silver ones!) and taught myself how to mix. I picked it up quite quickly due to playing the piano. I met a boy and he learnt too. Our weekends were spent mixing up a storm in his little studio flat and forgetting about everything but the music.
I started to play out. At house parties first, and then I got to play in some clubs. My best moment was playing at the Concorde 2 which was a dream. My DJ name? Heavenly Hel. Yes I know it’s atrocious lol.
And then something happened.
I got married and had kids and almost overnight I lost it. It was like a light switch went out.
I stopped listening to music. I sold my decks. I buried my passion.
When I look back on it I have wondered why my music (along with all my other passions and hobbies) just disappeared.
I gave it up because that was what I thought I had to do. Being a Mum was the most important thing in my eyes. And of course those early years are all consuming and so being a parent first was incredibly important. It didn’t come easily to me though. Both my kids had health issues, I became completely sleep deprived and my husband really struggled too.
So I went into myself. I forgot who I was. I developed an anxiety disorder. I started numbing out to escape by eating and watching rubbish on the TV every night. I stopped doing anything that would stretch, scare or excite me. I didn’t think I was worthy of it. I ran away from my career and hid in my house. I didn’t socialise. I didn’t do anything apart from the basics of being a mother and wife.
This lasted for 4 years. I don’t remember much of it due to all the numbing. But I know that deep down inside there was something calling for my attention. A niggle I couldn’t place that wouldn’t go away. It would take a few things for that niggle to become a voice I couldn’t ignore any longer.
That small niggly voice inside me telling me that there was ‘more than this’ became too loud to ignore. My marriage had broken down. I was knee-deep in counseling and one day the counselor said to me ‘you are capable of more than the life you are living.’
It was like a flame of awareness suddenly ignited. I decided to follow the flame. I signed up to a course with Katie Phillips (the school of self-love) and got to work rediscovering who I was, dissolving my people-pleasing tendencies and rewiring my limiting beliefs.
I set big goals. I wanted to share my story. In 2017 I took to the TEDx stage and did just that. After that, the momentum started to build. I launched courses and programmes, put on live and virtual conferences. I started charging what I was worth. I started getting out into the world and exploring new places I’d never been, often on my own. I started getting visible in the media. I started doing things that scared me every day.
And I started listening to music again.
One evening I was driving home from seeing my family when The Chillest Show with Phil Taggart came on Radio 1. I got totally lost in it and started listening avidly every week.
I subscribed to Apple Music and had a plethora of instant music at my fingertips.
Classical in the morning. Chilled electronica in the afternoon. House whilst cooking dinner. Music became the backdrop to my day. If I wasn’t in a meeting, coaching or training I was listening. I shazamed all my favourite tunes.
I started guesting on BBC Radio Sussex every month and following my late Dad’s advice, decided to pursue radio presenting further. I signed up for a workshop and then was given the opportunity to host my own radio show on Radio Reverb with my friend and colleague Lisa Moore.
I got to play music whilst talking about business! A match in heaven.
Then lockdown happened.
The days with my kids stretched out endlessly. As a single parent, I found it very hard to homeschool, parent, run a business, and keep sane at the same time!
Music was my medicine. It got me through the hardest moments.
And then by chance, I got back in touch with the old boyfriend from my 20’s. Just friends this time. We reminisced over zoom calls about the clubs we used to go to, the music, the djing. And he encouraged me to get back into it.
I wasn’t buying it at first. I wasn’t confident. The world had moved on from vinyl and digital mixing was now the thing. When lockdown started to lift he gave me a socially distanced lesson in his studio. Then another.
And I was hooked.
Last week I bought my own.
I cannot tell you how happy it makes me get on the decks and have a good old mix. Reigniting my passion for music has been the best medicine, therapy and solace all rolled into one.
If you’ve got that fire inside you for something whatever it is, never ignore it. Your passions are your lifeblood, the source of you and your joy. It’s part of your story.
Always follow your passion.
If you’ve lost it along the way I hear you. I get it. I did it. But it doesn’t have to stay buried. Hit reply and let me know what your passion is. I’d love to know.
Ps. I’m encouraging people to share their passions in my Facebook group Sought after Speakers this week. I’d love you to share yours. www.facebook.com/groups/soughtafterspeakers