Meet Lizzy Jane, musical sensation that is taking the EDM world by storm. Music is definitely in her blood line, having done everything from instrumentals to vocals in a band throughout her high school years. As time went on, her musical passion developed and brought her into the world of DJ-ing. A hit from the start, she is now appearing at some of the biggest festivals around the US, has a podcast featuring various up and coming artists and just getting started in producing some of the biggest hits you’ll be hearing this summer. Oh, did we mention she’s also going to be at SMF in Tampa Bay, Florida? Get ready for some serious takeover by the one, the only Lizzy Jane.
Could you tell me a bit of your background with music and how you got to where you are today?
I have been really doing the whole music thing since I’ve been quite a young child. While other kids were playing sports, I was doing violin and piano. I learned music classically first, and I bring a lot of that with me now. I’ve been pretty much classical trained in music since I was a child, and that’s where I started my foundation. I utilize the stuff I learned now as I integrate my voice and play live instruments on stage using live instrumentation in my recordings. It’s really nice to see things come full circle from when I did classical stuff. When I was 13 or 14 I wanted to be in a band and write my own music. I used to work with a few people who are a bit older than me and I would write all the pieces of music except for the drums, and that’s how I started to learn the back end of songwriting. It was kind of that singer-songwriter path.
When you say you were classically trained, do you mean by piano and guitar?
I actually play the piano, the guitar, and the bass. I also do my production stuff. I basically started in instrumentation. I didn’t really transition into working in the electronic realm until after I finished college. I went to a traditional university for a year. I then thought I could figure out another path to follow and place myself in because before going to college, I did my junior year of high school online because the band I was in started to become successful. We did a few runs with other bands on tour like metal bands. That’s where I get my background from, which is why I was so drawn to bass music and dubstep initially coming into the field of electronic dance music. The structures are very similar and there are similar aspects of instrumentation and sound design that cross over into that metal genre into EDM and dubstep.
It’s like all that experience created your sound today.
Yes. You don’t realize how many different backgrounds there are. A lot of the fellow artists that I’ve met when I saw them get their big break, had either rebranded multiple times, started a new project, or even were in another realm in music. That’s what I was in, but I was in it at such a young age. When I started doing this, I didn’t realize how much of that seasonal practice and craft could be transferred into this realm of music, not only production-wise but also performance-wise. In the band, I was playing bass and singing, so I was on stage. I already had that stage presence embedded in me. Once I got comfortable with the whole aspect of DJ-ing, I was very easily able to realize that I was going to be able to communicate with the fans and the crowd. I feel extremely comfortable on stage, not only because of my residency that helped me become a seasonal DJ and helped me speed up the rate at which I was exposed to people who didn’t know I existed, but I also credit a lot of that to me being in a band for five years.
How did you go from playing in a band in high school to becoming a DJ?
I was so young and everybody was going to college. I thought I had to go to college. I had a serious talk with my other band members who were substantially older than me. At that time, metal and punk-pop were really at their peaks, whereas now it’s fallen substantially, than a DJ where you’re travelling with only a select few people. It was hard for me at the age I was at to make the decision to either go to college or to put all of my eggs in a basket of people. When I went to college, and I transferred here to Full Sail and I got my Bachelors of Science in Audio Engineering. I didn’t go for music at all. I went to be a field recorder for film and television. I had a few awesome internships coming out of that. The only thing I would really do in my free time would be to go to concerts and raves and just enjoy live music. I was engineering for bands here and there, but it was never EDM. I wasn’t really knowledgeable in that field at all. Then I had a friend, maybe a month or so before I graduated college, who asked me if I wanted to go and DJ. I had maybe DJ-ed a few times in my apartment with my friends, and I was like, “let’s just try this.” Shortly after that, I played one or two shows. A club here in Tampa that’s known pretty nationally, the Ritz Ybor, reached out to me when I was almost 21. They asked me to come in and be a resident. The Ritz Ybor is definitely one of the homes for electronic music in general. I had no idea what I was doing whatsoever. I had already started producing a little bit. Very minutely. I didn’t understand Ableton. I was trying different analogue workstations. I thought to myself that if I was going to DJ I wasn’t going to play other people’s music. Another large electronic artist named Blunts & Blondes was a resident there. Michael is another person who came into that club. Of course, you have a team behind you and all of that stuff, but he did the right thing and he propelled himself out of that club, and so did other artists. If I can make my music and put it out, co-lining with me being a resident there and playing eventually before all these major artists, that’s going to be the way that I fully take advantage of the situation. The residency offered me so much that feeds into not only the team I’m working with today, but also feeds into my podcasts and the people I’ve collaborated with. I was introduced to the people I’m collaborating with now there. My goals don’t exactly align with being a resident DJ but that was an opportunity that was on the table when I was 21.
Saturday is like their best night right?
Yes! It’s their mainstream night, so when Zedd came, I played before Zedd and all of the big room house artists. That wasn’t necessarily the music I was interested in making or learning how to make, but it forced me to become a good DJ and to understand how to read your crowd and how to adjust to them, and all the stuff that I utilize when I’m playing my own music. Now I can not only be very comfortable in a very big room, which is a huge advantage point for up and coming artists. I can see if a crowd is digging it, and I have so many sets on these USBs that help accommodate the room if I feel like they aren’t. It also allows me to incorporate my live music and my originals. If I hadn’t had done that for the last three years of my life, I definitely don’t think I would be as seasoned as I am now, and as comfortable as I am to make the transition into playing other venues of the same size. It’s provided me with opportunities to play. My first festival where I played in a small tent was at Sunset two years ago. It’s really awesome going back there this weekend and it’s like I’m headlining the official pre-party. I get my set on Saturday. I have interviews all day. It’s really awesome. I’m doing a podcast with Taboo and Lucy on Sunday. It’s very much so a full-circle moment. The first time that I played there, not a lot of people knew who I was. Now, I have a whole Discord family and a whole meetup and there are so many people coming. It’s hard because I feel that as an artist you are always focused on thinking about what’s next and what you don’t have and what you’re working towards. It’s good to acknowledge the small full circle moments where you can say, “Hey, you’ve accomplished a lot.”
It’s over such a short time too, right?
It’s crazy because I feel like I’m so old but everyone’s like, “you’re literally a baby.” It’s also kind of piggy-backing on what I said earlier, I feel like I’ve been on stage a lot of my life, not only doing the DJ thing but performing, whether it was that I danced for seventeen years or I did the Rockettes summer intensive and the Berklee summer intensives. I had a lot of opportunities, whereas as a kid you don’t really realize it. For most kids, when you get to 18 you give all of that up. There’s a point in time where I thought festivals would pop out of a box and nobody worked. Realizing that there’s this whole industry that’s so amazing, filled with amazing people, and it’s such a lucrative industry. It’s definitely a long walk and a bloody grind to get to a point where you’re able to sustain yourself from multiple incomes all related to music. It’s so worth it. It’s so cool to see and be able to say that all of the stuff that I did when I was a kid helped me do what I’m doing now. I feel like a lot of people aren’t able to say that.
Being a woman and playing for SMF, and I feel like there are a lot of women DJs coming up in the EDM world.
Our industry and the fans that make up our industry aren’t meant to be put in isolation. I feel like you’ve seen so much negativity on social media across the board because it’s been such a weird and terrible year for our industry. I have to say, there are a few great things that have come out of that. It is definitely one of the topics that I’ve really seen people double down on, and it may not happen this year because a lot of people are under contracts from 2020. I personally was booked for Sunset in 2020, so I’m on the 2021 lineup. That’s how most festivals are being approached for the most part until late fall, going into quarter four. I really do think that in 2022, you’re going to see a huge influx. There are a lot of factors that feed into the result of seeing more women in lineups. I think that there’s a demand for it and an ongoing lack of presence from women. I haven’t even been doing it for this long and I remember it being three years ago and I could only find a few girls who were trying to do this and were up and comers. There was little to no one in the beginning levels that I was at. Now, there are chats with not only women who work in the industry, whether they do artist management or social media marketing, but also there are hundreds of women on the backend side. This is just really mainstream EDM and bass music that I see. I don’t see the house portion of it. I’m on Discord groups like Girl Gang that are all girls.
There are so many of us. We all make our own music and everyone’s progressing. It’s really awesome. I give lessons via Patreon and half of my students are women. There’s definitely a change coming, and if we don’t see a change in the next two festival seasons, there’s definitely going to be a conversation to be had. The numbers are there. The women are there now. There are multiple women on all the stages, which is great. It’s really cool and I think it makes a lot of females very hopeful because something that isn’t talked about but should be is that if you do come into this industry with a good head on your shoulders and your guard up and head down and ready to work, being a woman is a huge advantage point. If you have the craft and the desire to make it work, you’ll do extremely well. People just get lost in this industry. It’s really easy to get lost and to get taken advantage of. For every guy that I know who is resentful of a woman being in the industry, I know a guy who wants them to be there and who would gladly put them on a lineup and treat them with respect. I definitely think that the balance is there, it’s just time.
Every girl I know approaches their craft and their journey differently. Everyone’s journey is so different. I’m really proud to be a woman and I hope I can set an example for other women. You can embrace yourself, you don’t have to sell yourself in a sexual manner if you’re willing to work and pay attention to your craft. The other side of it is that we are women and we are beautiful so we should be able to do whatever we want without being ridiculed. You go to any other industry and you see the same thing. There’s no reason that we should lose any sense of respect because of our gender or how we decide to present ourselves. I just think that there are a lot of very strong females coming up right now that are finally getting some of the attention that they deserve. I think that it’s going to be a long career path for all of those women. I was just trying to work my butt off during quarantine and I was excited to see everything open back up. I would just sit here in my studio and say to myself, “I hope all this work is going to pay off.” It seems like in the last month or two and a half months, everything has just been: offers, bookings, labels, collabs, podcasts. I’m literally sitting down with some of the artists that I’ve watched and I’m doing what I’m doing now because of them and I’m able to sit down with them and talk to them. It’s so cool having one of them hit me up and try to collab. As long as this momentum keeps up, next summer’s going to be fun. It’s always thinking about short term goals but keeping the long term vision in mind and trusting the process and not being impatient.
What is one of your short term goals that you want to accomplish within the next six months, and what is something more long term?
When I was little, my mom made me sit down and write what I wanted to be every six months. I do this every two quarters at least. For the short term, I have this huge ballot of songs that I’m working on right now and finishing putting together. I really want to release a heavy EP and a singer-songwriter driven EP. something more melodic. I have all the music for it and it’s definitely realistic, but if within the next six months I can release both projects, I will be incredibly happy. On the XO Radio podcast side, just to do more in-person podcasts, which is definitely happening. I’m doing in-person podcasts this weekend. I really want that to be the future of the podcast. We have some huge guests coming up for XO Radio, so it’s becoming a huge platform for up and comers. It’s nice to be able to put on these up and comers who are going to become huge. I am on episode 94 or 95 now and in my first ten episodes, I had Swarm. Now he’s an absolute superstar. I have a long-term plan of first having a label. I don’t think that would happen in five years. Long-term past five years is having an indie label and having a singer-songwriter compound in which we have performers come in and do intimate sets, and then I have a studio in the back. I have ideas for that long-term. Where I live in Florida, there are always venues opening up, which makes it realistic. For a five-year term, I would love to be able to sign a record deal with somebody like Universal Music Group or Warner, where I’m able to not technically independently release, but that I’m committed to their label and I’m able to run in a creative direction that I like.
I foresee myself even in the music that I’m writing now, when I leave my residency, I will only be playing with my live instruments during my sets. That’s a big step for me that I’ve been working on for a really long time. That’s going to incorporate everything I did in high school and everything I’ve done for the last four or five years all in one. I’m so excited to bring this unique twist and see everything put together. I really have these niche bouts of music catering to my likes and stuff that I really love. I would love to just really it and not be able to stress over being on all these different labels. I released “Home” and “Forgive Me” and those were both independent and they’re just doing as well as my releases as labels. If I could make a career move to do something like that in the next years where I’m able to have support from a bigger label to help with promotions and other back-end facets of distribution, that would be so amazing if I was able to do that instead of signing an exclusive deal with the labels. The only thing I don’t want to do is hinder myself long-term. Longterm I absolutely see myself having a band behind me and keeping the melodic influence, but just way more vocals and more live instrumentation and seeing where both my career and sound matures to. I’ve already made that jump from being very deep dubstep when I started, to now it’s almost commercial EDM.
It’s always going to be like that, right? With different trends coming and going?
I just don’t want any boundaries to be set. I want to try and release as many different things that I can. I’m not going to be out here releasing techno or tech music or anything. It’s going to be in the same vicinity. I just don’t want to put myself in this niche box where I release the same kind of sound for the next four or five years on the come up and I decide to do something different, and people maybe wouldn’t receive it well. That wouldn’t be here or there. I can do whatever I want as an artist. I think if I get and establish this playing field now where I’m starting to get really dedicated listeners. I can stand that ground where it’s like, “she can do whatever she wants.” I would love for the podcast, and this is already in conversations so I hope it’s going to happen way sooner than in the next five years, I would love to get a spot on Sirius XM, or have my radio show transfer and have a show on Insomniac Station or something like that down the line when the concept become bigger. The podcast is definitely aiding the radio show. By the time I’m in my late twenties or thirty, I would like to have a show on Sirius XM where I’m able to host everything related to the Lizzy Jane project there because it would just be such a bigger platform for up and coming artists. I sprinkle some known artists in there all the time, and I talk to bigger artists on the podcast, but I will never change the concept of the XO mix series because it’s all about picking out people who are curating their own path in EDM. Nine times out of ten, go back and so many of these artists are doing crazy things and no one knew who they were before they came on the show. I want to keep doing that because I think it will definitely be more beneficial than switching to just having a regular guest mix.
Who were your musical inspirations? And who would you like to collaborate with?
My music inspirations are: Cyndi Loper, Heart, Cher. I would definitely also say, Jessica Alfred. Jessica Alfred is also somebody with who I would love to collaborate. I’m working on a remix for her right now so that would definitely happen in the near future I hope. I would love to cross boundaries where you see all these metal singers work with EDM artists. I would love to work with the singer from Flyleaf. Jessica is definitely my top for someone that I would love to collaborate with. A dream collaboration or remix would be for Alison Wonderland. That would be great if I could do it within the next decade. Inspiration-wise also, Alison of course. She’s one of the only women who play live instruments on stage, which is so awesome. She has a whole orchestra behind her. That’s the dream. I hope by the time I’m 34, give me ten years, I hope I can do what she’s doing. Paramore too. I have inspirations from all over, so it’s kind of across the board. EDM-wise, mostly it’s going to be Alison Wonderland as a female. I love Rezz. I don’t find too much inspiration from her music. She stands for something a lot bigger than her music. She’s definitely an inspiration from that facet. I would say Voltra too. Voltra is someone who has recently popped into the scene. So amazing and so technical.
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