A life of music for DJ Samantha Ronson
We already know that British DJ Samantha Ronson was at The Dinah Shore Weekend this Spring Break.
But what we didn’t know was that Samantha– coming from a legacy of music– doesn’t just play other people’s music as a DJ. She also released her own album of sweet tunes.
Samantha Ronson’s life
From her upbringing to her family Samantha was steeped in music. Her father was a former music executive. When her mother got a divorced, she later married Foreigner’s guitarist Mick Jones.
Though her brother, Mark Ronson, took a career in music by becoming a Grammy-nominated producer and musician, Samantha was at first wary of following this particular muse despite having fond memories of Mick Jones’ music studio as a child.
“I love songs. I grew up in the studio with songs. My stepdad wrote some pretty f—ing incredible songs. My brother made his records because he likes making songs. So, the standard was set pretty high for being true to what you want to do,” Samantha said.
She declared, “I’m not just going to hand my song over to a producer; I want to be there every step of the way.”
But though she had a life of music at first, she wasn’t sure about having a life in music: “I stayed away from it for so long, because when I was a kid I thought, ‘I’m never going to be better at it, so forget it’.”
However, this was one decision that was hard to follow.
When her stepfather left a guitar with her for safekeeping, this item followed her around a few apartments. Then one day, she wanted to know how to play a song her friend was trying to figure out.
“Once I picked it up, that was it. That was pretty much all I did. I started writing my own songs,” Ronson said.
Samantha Ronson’s music
While Samantha was playing her own music with a band, she started DJing to pay the bills.
“I began to DJ mainly so I could pay for my band, then I got really busy DJing and didn’t have time [for making music],” she said.
“I got a call one night from a club that I used to hang out at and they were like, ‘Do you want to DJ?’,” she related.
“I was like, ‘No way,’ [but] my friends were like, ‘Come on, just do it. How hard could it be?’ I was always in the club; [I figured I] might as well get paid for it,” she added.
She released her own album, Chasing the Reds, in 2011 on her own label, Broken Toys Records. Prior to this, she had released four songs under Roc-A-Fella Records in 2002 before the company folded.
For her own music, she said, ““I think it’s hard to write truly and honestly about experiences that aren’t personal to you, because you can’t really understand them.”
“But I like to keep things as unspecific as possible, because I know when we listen to music, we relate it to what’s going on in our own lives. Most good songwriting is pretty universal, I think,” she said.
You can check out Samantha Ronson’s music– whether as a DJ or as a musician– in the videos below. In the meantime, check out our feature of her in this month’s issue of LesbianNews.