VenessaMichaels is a technicolor soul, to say the least. Her dreamy, creamy, punchy vibes full of wonder and brilliance never fail to ignite the dance floor. With many accolades and collaborations under her belt, she’s looking forward to a new chapter and ready to switch gears into hyperdrive this 2021. The powerhouse DJ/producer took a moment to speak with SPIN about finding her artistry, lessons learned within a chaotic year, and what’s next on the horizon.
Who is VenessaMichaels and what do you stand for?
I am a producer, songwriter, and DJ. I hope to inspire other people to know they can do and become whatever they choose to. Nothing can stop you if you have your mind set. Trust your ideas, and keep creating til you figure out what resonates with you. Believe in yourself always.
You’re known to be heavily influenced by the undeniably great 90s/early 2000’s hip-hop + pop musical eras, to the point that you created your own style: “2090”. How did 2090 develop and when did you discover this was the lane you wanted to carve out for yourself?
I know I’m not the only one who loves that era of music. It really is hard to beat, but what took my mind to another level was hearing certain strains of electronic music. When I started digging deeper and learning about where my love of music naturally went, Jersey Club was high on that list for what moved me (big shoutout to the legends of Jersey for curating this movement & taking it to another level starting with Dj Tameil to Uniiqu3, Sliink, R3ll & so many more inspirations). I fell deep into this world, because of the way the chops and kicks bounce, it’s just a full on ENERGY. There were also other vibes that inspired me as well, throwing it back to Dirty Dutch…and of course House music. I really wanted to blend these emotions together, which started out the 2090 remixes I did some years back. I have grown & changed a lot since then & the music has evolved with me. 2090 is more than just blending worlds and genres though; its about envisioning the future if it was born into a different era. So with the love of the toplines, bounce, emotion and even fashion of of the 90s/2000s, 2090 is a futuristic world. 2090 is a world that is optimistic, bright, inclusive & uplifting. That’s the energy that goes into the music and the lifestyle of it. I’ve been working on an album and a visual representation to better explain it, so if it doesn’t fully make sense now, it will soon.
Was there a definitive turning point to your success? When did you realize the magnitude of your impact within the industry/community?
I still feel I have a long way to go. I’ve worked hard to grow every chance I can get, but I think when you work persistently at what you love & literally never stop, you are bound to move forward. There’s a lot of things I’m proud of, but nothing makes me feel more alive than when people are feeling that love of music with me. The impact comes from sharing with others – and if it makes people smile, or sad, or feel literally anything…then we are doing something right here.
Throughout your career, you’ve been able to collaborate with a wide range of both established and upcoming artists. How does collaborating impact your musical and artistic perspective?
It has been a blessing to be able to collaborate with all kinds of incredible artists. Nothing inspires me more than my friends. I genuinely think everyone I know & work with are so unbelievably talented that it constantly pushes me to be better. Every person has a different energy, for sure. At the end of the day, music is energy. It’s all frequencies & emotion. Adding people into the room will add, or pull away the energy. I’m more conscious of that now, so I generally work with people I have a magnetic energy with on a consistent basis, but I absolutely love a new positive energy in the room! Collaborating impacts the perspective of creating in every single way with that in mind.
You’ve been able to score many sync opportunities and have been featured in multiple shows, and even produced the theme song for Dreamworks Netflix show “KIPO and the Age of Wonderbeasts.” How does this production process differ from when you’re working on your personal records?
Scoring the theme song for Kipo was really cool & unlike anything I have done before. I basically just got a brief that gave me a little bit about what the show was about with some little hints of inspiration musically of what they wanted. So I really just visualized this animated show in my head without being able to see anything of it & had a lot of fun using my imagination. Turns out the team at Dreamworks does their process “blindly,” which means they will play the songs that are submitted without knowing who made it. So it really gives a new producer a solid chance. When I found out they chose mine, they said when they played it they knew right away! That was kind of amazing to me, because if you make music while visualizing what it might look like it brings out a whole different world. I often visualize what a music video might look like while I’m producing, too. The biggest difference was not fully knowing what was going on while making the theme song. Once I knew the show, I was able to create the full song no problem because I loved watching it. I seriously love Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts! The show is woke and brilliant.
Despite the curses 2020 brought to the collective masses, what was the biggest lesson you gained and how are you planning to propel your career forward in 2021?
Oh man, it’s been a rough year for sure. I thought I learned patience before this, but wow nothing compares to the patience needed in a pandemic. It just goes to show, you can plan a full year worth of work & ideas, but like Andre 3000 said “you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.” As tough as its been, it’s been a blessing in other ways. I’ve really sat with myself, gone through ups and downs within this time, but have ultimately been able to pick myself up and work on my first full project. And honestly, we all really needed the time. There was a lot of learning we all had to do as a collective! We all really need each other & we have to learn to uplift one another up.
Is there anything on the horizon that you can share with us?
My very first album is on the way sooner than later & I am beyond excited to get it out. I’m at the details phase, so getting closer to the finish line every single day.
What do you wish for the future of electronic music? In what ways would you like to see it evolve?
Electronic music is so cool because there are so many branches of it. As much as it’s evolved already, I can’t wait to see what happens with all of these new technologies. I just want to see more people get as weird as they possibly can with it haha. People are already doing it, but what I mean is I hope producers never get stuck with one sound. Gotta get weird with it forever, so it evolves infinitely! I also want to see more POC, non-binary, queer people, & women up in the headlining stages. There’s beyond a plentiful amount of well deserved faces that need to be up there.
Any last words for the SPIN-verse?
Stay healthy! We gotta ride this wave til everyone is safe so we can get back out there & go off. See you on the dance floor soon.
Check out VenessaMichaels’s vibrant and energetic set below. Want more? Head over to SPIN TV to keep up with all the latest and greatest SPIN Sets.