In this blog, Kara talks about her early musical influences and being a DJ. She shares a playlist full of her favorite jams growing up and how she sees the new world of events post Covid-19.
by KARA ford
playlist | 6/2/2021
I am 8 years young, very naive, I think fairly (very) cute, and already so aware of my love for music. I am sitting down in my childhood living room, the room where my dad had a 6 disk CD stereo set-up, from which he would blast R’n’B classics, like Mariah Carey’s, ‘Fantasy’, or En Vogue’s, ‘Hold On’, or, one of my all time favorite songs to this day - ‘Doo Wop’ by the legendary Lauryn Hill. As soon as I heard the music echoing through the house, I would be filled with excitement and joy. Even though I was just a child, I saw myself in these artists, and something inside of me felt deeply connected to every beat and melody.
My visceral love of music has not waned since the days of my childhood, when I would be dancing around my father’s aforementioned CD stereo. I always knew that I wanted to work in the industry in some capacity, and now to have actually forged a successful career as a DJ feels like a dream come true.
There are many things I love about what I do, but perhaps my favorite aspect is that there are endless opportunities to people-watch. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it’s actually a pretty big part of the job; reading the crowd and observing how people are vibing with the music (or not), can completely dictate which songs I choose to play. DJ’s get to witness first-hand how music affects and connects to people. We’re privy to the magical early moments of burgeoning romances, co-workers forming unexpected bonds and relatives reuniting to songs that have been special to their family for generations. We really get to see it all, and the music we select greatly impacts the ways that these moments play out.
Before the pandemic hit Los Angeles, I was averaging DJ bookings for three different events a week across the city, and sometimes my work would even take me to Las Vegas. I was #bookedandbusy, and loving it.
And then Covid struck. I don’t think any of us truly believed that the events industry would have ground to a halt, and remained at a complete standstill for as long as it did. It was completely overwhelming to see the events that were at one time filling my calendar for months to come, being repeatedly postponed. I eventually had to accept the fact that I, along with many of my peers, wouldn’t be working for a long time.
But for me, this period of isolation has had its perks. Stuck inside with nowhere to go and no place to be, I had the opportunity to rediscover myself and my passion for music. I started to feel the way I felt as an eight year old kid again, getting lost in the music I heard my father playing from downstairs.
For almost 3 solid months, I DJ’d every day, live via Instagram. Of course, playing from my own living room is pretty different to playing a packed nightclub in Vegas, but I still got to feel the magic of sharing all of the amazing music I was finding, and stay connected to my audience.
While it was an emotional time, I look back on this period of my life with some fondness. Having the space and time to fall back in love with music in such a deep and meaningful way helped form the foundation for Honey, the brand new agency I was building.
Forming a DJ agency during a global pandemic obviously presented some issues, and many unanswerable questions. I had to think about how events would feel in a post-Covid world. Often this was a difficult reality to imagine, when my career as a DJ had been so rooted in the chemistry that can only be felt in person; witnessing life, and watching crowds of people truly living in the moment. As I reminisced about the past, I was struck by how important events will be when they finally come back into our lives.
When we are allowed to safely gather together, we will be more emotional, more excited, and more ready to live each day like it’s our last. I see us choosing not to worry as much about the little things, and focusing more on the beauty of simplicity, and the importance of just enjoying our time together.
These first reunions will be both historic, and personally memorable. The soundtrack to these moments will be key. Put simply; there’s not going to be time for music that isn’t amazing. My goal with Honey is to be the go-to agency for people looking to find the most tasteful and passionate music selection, for the evenings in our lives that we’ll go on to remember forever. These initial outings in a post-Covid world will stay with us for a lifetime - whether it’s through booking one of our DJs, or sticking on one of our mixes from the SoH blog - we want to bring you the most magical sounds imaginable, and be a part of these new, cherished memories.
With all of this in mind, I decided to put together a playlist dedicated to my dad. This selection of songs helped shape my love and passion for music, and indirectly formed the basis of Honey as an agency. In fact, without the influence of these songs in my early childhood, you wouldn’t be here reading this post.
With love, Kara x