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An Interview with DJ Eliza May

Born in the small town of Raduzhniy, Russia, Eliza May’s journey to becoming an international electronic DJ and influencer has been no small feat. Her sets are an explosive mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop music with elements of scratching, and she has managed to gain an international audience playing shows all across the globe. What she is able to do as an artist and DJ is highly elevated, breaking boundaries and expectations.

After suffering through the tragic death of her sister, Eliza’s music education started at 5 years old when the Mystic, Baba Vanga encouraged her parents to put Eliza in music. Classically trained in piano, Eliza excelled in school, eventually attending university and working at the local radio station in Tyumen. After scrolling through Vkontakte (Russian version of Facebook), she saw an advertisement for DJ courses, and while she hoped to navigate the radio world better, she found herself learning how to DJ in clubs. Soon after booking her first club gig, Eliza moved to Moscow to upgrade her skills, officially competing in DJ competitions for turntablism. A student of Scratch University and heavily inspired by DJ Qbert, Eliza found herself in San Francisco taking lessons from him and opening for his album release show. This led to several opportunities in Miami and L.A. with the Thud Rumble Crew, participating in the WMC DJ Competition and continuing to progress as a DJ. Over the course of two years, Eliza May found herself back and forth between Russia and the States, making the full jump to the States in 2016 after a successful show at NAMM with the brand, Pioneer DJ, and being invited onto DJ tours all over the world.

Eliza isn’t afraid to share who she is, what she loves, and be a little controversial. With 85k Followers on TikTok, 125k on Instagram and her first Residency show at Taó, Las Vegas in the books, Eliza is on her way to sharing the stages with some of the most popular DJs in the scene. While most DJs – especially female DJs – rely heavily on curated and unapproachable public persona to attract fans, Eliza May’s power lies in her ability to harness her authenticity to attract fans. Not afraid to share her culture and lifestyle, she’s been actively documenting her music and experiences into shareable content that is funny and relatable.

With her powerful and positive sensitivity to making a difference through music. Her lyrical themes and artistic expression sets her apart from the crowd. Having released several original tracks including “Up in the Club” on UFO Recordz (#8 On Beatport’s Trap/Future Bass Top 100) and “BadMan” on Epidemic House Music, her latest single, “Midnight Love,” illuminates her songwriting as an artist and DJ. You can catch Eliza spinning regularly in Los Angeles or in a number of cities across the country.

With her single, “Midnight Love”, out now, we took some time to hear more from Eliza May. Read below to learn more about Eliza May, the story behind her latest single, and what’s to come.

Hi Eliza May! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?

Hello! It’s actually a bit of a weird story. I heard the name “Eliza” in my dream. I opened my eyes and realized that it should be my DJ name. And, I discovered that there was already someone named DJ Eliza, so I wanted to add something to it. “May” came naturally. Many people were calling me Mary and without “R,” it’s May. Also, the month of May is symbolic for me ’cause that’s when I started DJing.

What city are you from and where are you based now?

I’m from a small city of Raduzhniy in Siberia, Russia. But, I currently live in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?

I was into music since my childhood. I started to play piano at the age of 5 and finished music school with merit at 13. I’ve never dreamt of a DJ career though and didn’t even know what DJs did. At university I was invited to work at a radio station. I was just playing songs and talking during breaks. One day, while scrolling vkontakte (Russian version of Facebook), I saw an advertisement for DJ courses. They offered a 1st lesson for free. I thought it was about radio DJing and decided to check it out. It turned out to be about club DJing. At that time, I knew nothing about it, couldn’t even tell the difference between Trance and Techno. But, I had some free time, so I decided to stay and learn. I have always had the desire to learn new things, and I liked it. One thing led to another and I was able to get my first club residency in Tyumen (the city where I moved to go to university).

Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?

Definitely! I write songs about my childhood, about my life in Russia, and moving to the States. My sound is very diverse thanks to traveling a lot as a child and now, so you could hear Indian-influenced tracks as well as Native American sounds.

How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?

I’m very open format. In my sets, you can hear everything from 80s, Rock, Pop music to Hip-Hop, Trap and Big Room. Same with the music that I produce. I have releases that are Trap, Twerk, House, Future Bass, Pop and even Psy-trance singles!

Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?

In my free time, I love to go to the beach – it’s my happy place. I’m a good swimmer, so I enjoy swimming too. I like to sing, walk in nature, and workout. I’m also a huge foodie, and love to eat and try new dishes.

Who are some of your main musical influences?

I am very inspired by Alan Walker, Avicii, and Diplo. Steve Aoki is also one of my favourite DJs. He’s like a robot – performing at multiple countries per day, making music nonstop, he has his own clothing line and even pizzeria! He inspires me so much!

What are some of your future music career goals?

As the world slowly gets back to normal, I’d love to go back on tour. Eventually, play festivals like EDC and Tomorrowland. On the production side, I’ve been practicing my vocals to be able to record on my own (before that I only worked with other vocalists).

Now onto your release, “Midnight Love”. What inspired this song? What is “Midnight Love” about in your own words? What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Midnight Love?”

I produced “Midnight Love” in the beginning of the pandemic. I felt sad, lost, and lonely – nothing felt right including my love life. Sometimes, I felt numb both physically and mentally. All I really wanted was to feel loved, but at that time, I didn’t realize that love comes from within. Don’t ask for love – love yourself first and give love. You’ll see how everything changes. It took me 2 years to learn that and 2 years to release this song. I hope that I was able to keep the emotions alive and make the track relatable.

What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?

Performing at some of the best and biggest clubs in the USA and around the world. Switching from being just a DJ to also producing. My track, “Up in the Club,” reached #8 in Trap/Future Bass Top 100 Chart on Beatport! I’m also proud of my first music video release for “I’m Coming Home.” The video was played on television in the USA and got over 100K views on social media.

What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?

Take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure yours is full. That’s how you’ll be able to help others and light their lives up with your art. Meditations, workouts, walks on nature/beach, reading/listening to books, writing gratitude journal, and spending time with family and friends helps me take care of my well being.

What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?

“Midnight Love” was just released on my birthday, March 11th. I will had a gig at Dragonfly Hollywood that same day. The next single will be out in April. It’s going to be something very personal, and it’ll also be the first track where I’m going to not only be the producer, but also the singer. Please stay tuned!

Where can we follow you on social media?

https://www.instagram.com/djelizamay/
https://www.facebook.com/DjElizaMay/
https://www.tiktok.com/@djelizamay
https://www.youtube.com/elizamaytv
https://twitter.com/djelizamay

Before you go, let’s ask you something random. What is your favorite food?

I love Russian food the most – blinis, pirozhki, pelmeni, syrniki – I love it all! I’m also a fan of Japanese and Italian cuisine.

Thank you for the great interview, wish you much continued success!

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Image provided by Eliza May