Constant and determined effort can break down barriers, and for Canada’s leading lady behind the decks, carving her top spot among today’s finest burgeoning DJs is the result of her hard work. For the past six years, Sydney Blu has been DJing her electro-tinged, dirty tribal house sets to packed dancefloors across North America. “DJing was something I looked at and instantly knew I wanted to do,” says Blu, who has built a following in gay-friendly and underground clubs.
An Ottawa native, Sydney Blu spent the last of the 1990’s getting to know underground dance music at legendary nightclub Atomic. Immediately inspired, the trained pianist decided DJing was her career calling. When doors closed when she sought guidance, Sydney Blu pressed onward and taught herself. Determined to cut her own path, she moved to Toronto in 2000 and bought her first set of decks.
She convinced the owners of NASA, a small club in Toronto’s Queen West district, to let her organize and DJ a party. The reviews were excellent and Sydney Blu landed her first residency in the side room of IT nightclub. “People began to party in there instead of the main room,” she recalls, her unyielding drive still evident in her crowd-pleasing DJ sets that are versatile enough for the corporate arena, like Citytv’s Toronto International Film Festival Schmooze. From there, Sydney Blu’s bookings multiplied and she was credited by local press as becoming one of the fastest rising DJs in Toronto, voted best newcomer in Eye Weekly’s 2002 DJ Poll. The next year, she headlined festivals on Canada’s East Coast and in Nevada.
With a growing following, Sydney Blu began to promote her own events and invite some of the best local and international DJs to play. Her long-running Full Moon Thursdays, six-hour quarterly Blue Experience nights, and Bitchslap! events are renowned genre-crossing parties that play a big part in keeping up a thriving underground scene. In 2004, she released her first compilation YTO 2004 for Vancouver’s Live to Tape Recordings.
Always ready for a new challenge, Sydney Blu ventured into producing music that year after graduating top of her audio engineering class. She has collaborated on signature bootleg remixes, a number of original tracks including her newest release ‘Give it up for me’ on the internationally acclaimed Mau5trap Recordings also remixed by Deadmau5. Sydney has also collaborated with Juno nominated producer M1 aka Matteo Dimarr as well as Toronto vocalist Mandy J. In addition, with producer Fabio Palermo, she has numerous releases on Beatport.com including a remix of Grammy-nominated reggae artist Bunny Rugs for indie label COF Music.
A residency in Mexico and regular jaunts to New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Montreal, Vancouver, Newfoundland, Calgary, Cleveland and Detroit, and European and Asian dates on the horizon, are a far cry from her grueling beginnings only a short while ago. Today, Sydney Blu is a favourite resident at Toronto afterhours Comfort Zone, Footwork, and Canada’s biggest and most renowned nightclub, The Guvernment, where the crowds are often privy to her latest studio productions and remixes, and inspiration for her forthcoming compilation CD on Hi-Bias Records lined up for a North American tour. Doors are open now, and Sydney Blu’s pressing onward. .