NAME: SYDNEY BLU
RESIDES IN TORONTO
“I don’t consider myself a female DJ. I just consider myself a DJ.”— Sydney Blu, DJ
She has what she calls a porn star name, and she likes it dark and hard.
Joanne Hill, 28, extracted her mother’s middle name, Sydney, merged it with Blu, the moniker of her pet bird, and in a span of six years, has risen to become Toronto’s foremost female DJ, spinning addictively dark, hard tribal, electronica and house music into the thick of night.
For starters, there’s FullMoon Thursdays, which she headlines and helps book talent for at Beba Lounge on College Street.
And then there’s Saturday nights at The Guvernment interspersed with a bi-weekly gig at Footworks, peppered with Sundays at the Comfort Zone and engagements at DragonFly in Niagara Falls.
Come October, there’ll be a monthly tryst at Fly called Bitchslap!, an event she coined for her huge gay following.
Gay, straight, big or small (venue or event, that is), it doesn’t matter to Blu as long as the crowd is energized by her beats.
To Blu, it also doesn’t matter that the world of DJing is dominated by the species of the opposite sex.
“I don’t consider myself a female DJ. I just consider myself a DJ,” she says in a tone reminiscent of her idol, Madonna.
Like a young Madge fixated on conquering the world of music, Blu might very well do likewise, not only as a DJ, but also as a producer — something she’s diving into headfirst.
“Producing original material is the natural progression for a DJ,” says Blu. “Then come the opportunities to remix big music acts and headline huge events.”
But unlike the preachy Kabbalah Queen, Blu’s hair is far from being brown or blond or blue, for that matter; it’s now a striking red reminiscent of Tori Amos, whom Blu would love to remix.
An Amos mega-fan friend of mine would undeniably lap it up like a kitten would to a bowl of milk. “I have the perfect song (I Can’t See New York),” which comes flying into my cell via a text message upon my sharing this Blu tidbit with him.
Meanwhile, Blu has been milking praise from some of the industry’s greats.
“I got the thumbs up from Scrumfrog and Peter Rauhofer,” she says. Likewise with legendary Grammy-winning remixer David Morales, whom she opened for at a Pride event earlier this summer.
Fellow local DJs like George Chaker, who’s just returned from a gig in Mykonos, are also generous with their praise: “Sydney Blu? Ooh, she’s on fire.”
Her fire was actually sparked in 2000. The gal from Thunder Bay was studying in Ottawa when she got hooked on the art of synching the beats of vinyl records.
“It took me about four months before I finally got it,” says Blu. “You have to have an ear for it, and you have to keep on top of the latest sounds. It’s a never-ending investment.”
After tens of thousands of dollars spent on production courses, equipment, music and promotion, Blu is rising on the bill of bookers throughout Canada and the U.S. with a steady flow of income with a job she simply loves.