Written by Sina Watson
Last week we had the chance to premiere Houston based DJ and now producer MizzMegan “RV Edits”. There’s a lot more than meets the eye about this Houston native, shes a dancer, a student, a teacher, and if you’ve started following her on Instagram an incredible cook!Now that you’ve had the chance go take the trip down memory lane, lets get to know the lady behind the wheel.
How long have you been producing/DJing?
DJing 2 years, Producing 9 months
What made you want to start producing/performing?
I’ve performed as a dancer since I was 4. Justin Jay encouraged me to produce music because of my dance background, specifically tap dance, and my lifelong relationship with music.
Who are some top dream collabs and inspirations?
Pharrell, Timbaland, Prince, Justin Jay, Vance Lawrence. I want to make some edits with Danny Goliger!
Where did you get your start?
I threw my first show and played my first DJ gig the same night, for Henry Was while he was on tour with Thumpasaurus. This show grew into the first-ever Fantastic Voyage (FV) residency, and got my name out for other bookings.
What are some of your biggest musical influences or sources of inspiration?
I grew up on 90s dance, disco, funk, and early pop music. Prince and Michael Jackson were megastars around that time. I got into hiphop music in the early 2000s so Pharrell and Timbaland were producing huge hits then. As far as my immediate friend group, people that inspire me daily, definitely Justin Jay. Even though we don’t live close he’s great at making me feel supported even from a distance. He has supported me while I’ve stepped into new parts of myself I was afraid of before.
Vance Lawrence is someone I love being in the studio with. We vibe really well together, and the workflow is fun. He’s open and creative, and he made me realize I can really get down on tambourine, lol. He has a larger perspective on the industry because he’s had success as a DJ overseas, so I can really dream big with him and not get bogged down in the small stuff.
What is your creative process like?
When it comes to making music, I just try shit, lol. If I have an idea, I at least always make a note or start the project right then, and see what comes of it. Sometimes I stick with it for 10 minutes, and table it. Sometimes it catches momentum, and in a few hours I have a complete song. Justin gave me great advice about always trying to finish projects, so I try not to let things sit for too long untouched. I’ve become less of a perfectionist, so I see the value in something being finished rather than perfect. I’m a lot more comfortable having an imperfect draft and knowing I can work through the rough spots, instead of quitting a project because it isn’t “good” enough.
How would you describe your sound and how did you develop it?
I think my sound is pretty percussion-driven because I’m a tap dancer. I gravitate to music that has a groove, that’s sort of primal in the way it makes me want to move my body. If it makes me dance, it goes in my library. As a dancer and choreographer I’ve spent most of my life making decisions about music based on whether or not it makes me want to move. DJing and producing dance music came pretty naturally to me in that regard, when I finally let myself just go for it.
I’m also a sucker for sax samples, because I was a sax player when I was younger, specifically in jazz band, so I like dance music that’s rooted in jazz also. Jazz music and tap dance have an entangled history; a lot of musicians I find myself vibing with also have some type of jazz background. Funk. Disco. I also love most songs that have a soul clap in them lol
What do you want people to know / understand about the music you create?
Making music is an amazing way that I’ve found to honor myself and my creative spirit. Music was always in my heart, but for years I came up against a lot of pushback that success looked like something else that wasn’t rooted in creativity at all. I was an avid people pleaser and for a long time I gave in to those ideals of what being successful looked like and the path I should take to get there. I hid away huge parts of who I really was, and my journey with DJing and music has been, above all, a huge celebration of accepting that person back a little more every day. This journey has made me happy and whole again, it’s led me to some of the most valuable relationships of my life, and I hope when people hear my music they feel that big piece of my heart that I’m so grateful to have said yes to again.
What has been your favorite performance?
I played this small room upstairs at Axelrad in Houston, and the energy of that crowd was something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. There weren’t that many people there when I started playing, but at one point I looked up from the decks and suddenly the room was almost completely full. Turns out they’d started playing my set on the speakers downstairs, and people just started coming up in groups. The crowd was very vocal about letting me know what they were feeling, their energy was so easy to read and match, and then we just rode the wave for the rest of my set. They were shouting and whistling, the whole room was dancing, I felt so much love from them; I could’ve played for them all night.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Aside from dance music, I’m really involved in the dance community in a lot of other ways. I’ve been teaching dance for over ten years, and I also study Human Performance and Clinical Research, specifically Dance Science and Dance Medicine. I love academia, and I hope to contribute research to the dance community that will help clinicians understand dancers as athletes the same way Sports Medicine recognizes professional athletes of other more commercialized disciplines. NBA and NFL medical teams are hugely staffed and funded, while its hard for professional dancers to even get proper health care coverage through company contracts. I’m a huge advocate for dancers’ healthcare and wellness. Dancers are athletes but they are also artists and storytellers and it’s so important to afford them the proper care for their bodies so that they can have longer professional careers and can continue to express themselves through movement, and so that we can continue to experience their art.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Enjoy being a beginner! When I first started DJing and making music, I constantly reminded myself, “this is the worst you will ever be at this as long as you keep trying.”
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I wish more people would genuinely support each other, and realize that someone else having success doesn’t take anything away from your own ability to be successful. I’ve gotten most of the opportunities that I have because I had the courage to say yes and the guts to see it through, and I didn’t have to take anything away from anyone else to make it happen. I’ve actually done my best work when I’ve extended my opportunities to others, and tried to create things that would build people around me also. I’ve never been stingy with success or seen it as just mine. A lot of people operate from a place of worry that there isn’t enough of anything to go around. Business can take the heart out of the art, and its unfortunate when events feel empty and like they’re rooted in fear and competition.
Something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
Most people are usually just surprised by my age, lol. I have a pretty good baby face, I always get told I look 10 years younger than I am. I’m 33! I also didn’t start DJing until I was 31, which is “late” to a lot of people. There’s this weird pressure to have your shit figured out before you’re 30, but for me it’s been really fun to keep stepping into new parts of myself, becoming more of who I am all the time. I used to think about my age a lot more, and let it scare me out of stuff, but I’m grateful in a lot of ways for where I am right now. I know myself a lot better than I did in my 20s, and I probably couldn’t have handled all of this pressure when I was younger.
What is one message you would give to your fans? What does your music aim to say?
Everything you want in life is out there for you, if you’re looking! I hope people look at this journey I’m on and feel like they can keep working and achieving whatever they want. I never imagined I would find myself in music the way that I did, in the time that I did. But I can look back and see all the ways that I was getting prepared for this for a while now. Just trust the path you’re on, keep leaning in to things that feel like they’re made for you. Stay curious, and follow that curiosity. Look for more solutions and less problems. Don’t be afraid to suck at something, and if you love it enough just keep at it. It won’t feel like work all the time, and when it does, the work will be worth it…
Life is truly a Fantastic Voyage.
What does the future hold and what are you hopes for the songs you’re about to release?
Once we’re able to travel again, I would love to expand the FV shows to a few more cities where I have great friends that I would love to collaborate with, and also do a second round of our residency in Houston.
I’ve made a few more edits since wrapping up this first EP, but I think my next project will be really focused on exploring my MIDI-interface tap floor, and combining my worlds of dance and music in a more concrete way. I can’t wait to see all of the new things I can discover with this unique way of creating music, and to do things that no one has done before.
I hope this first EP gives people a peek into the songs I grew up jamming fused with the sounds I’m digging today, and that there is at least one track on the collection that makes someone smile or dance. I’d love to hear some of these edits played by DJs who can reach even more people than I would be able to, but really I’m just proud of what I’ve made on this first release, and even if everyone hates all of these songs I at least proved to myself that I could finish this project and do something that once felt impossible to me.
I can’t wait to hear more of MizzMegan’s future edits. Her “RV Edits” now available to purchase on Bandcamp. Listen on Spotify below.