Who We Follow: Coco Robert Coco gives us a look into her one of a kind life while giving tips on how to break stereotypes.
How did you fall into the world of DJing? Was it something you always wanted to do or did you have other plans?
Music has always been a major aspect of my life. Many of my fondest childhood memories involve a broad spectrum of music. I grew up watching my father play in a band and going to the opera with my grandmother, I got drums for Christmas, and I am still moved by a memory of listening to Tracy Chapman with my mom while waiting out the rain on a summer afternoon. Still, I hadn’t planned to make a career in music, but when an opportunity to get into DJing arose while I was at NYU, getting involved came naturally.
DJing, like a lot of careers, are male dominated. How do you navigate through that and show that you can play with the big boys?
I let my work speak for itself.
What are some of the stereotypes you’ve faced as a female DJ?
One assumption is that I just put on playlists – that I can’t really be a DJ. In reality, I invested in my own equipment and spent months learning before I played live for the first time, and I have continued to develop in the years since. I embrace both my womanhood and my technical prowess, which some mistake for mutually exclusive.
You’ve already accomplished so much to date, what are some goals that you are working towards?
No matter what level one reaches as an artist, there is always further to go. I strive for continuous progress and growth.
What are some motivational words you live by?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
How do you feel about social media becoming such a huge factor in the creative world? Do you feel as though it has helped you in your career?
When I first began DJing, social media was a non-factor. A year or so later, I remember creating my Facebook business page to have somewhere my friends could keep track of my upcoming gigs.
Now, I definitely experience benefits to Instagram in particular and the exposure it provides. It can become consuming, but I find that, with the right balance, it is a great way to personalize a brand.
What should someone expect to hear during your set?
My club sets are usually pretty open format. I’m partial to 90’s hip-hop and R&B. I like to put a twist on older classics with refreshing remixes and contrast them with new releases. I’ll even throw in samples of my dad on the sax or soundbites from Les Brown. It’s all about keeping the energy going and maintaining suspense.
Meanwhile, I’m fortunate to have friends who entrust me with debuting new work. So, one could also hear something exciting before it gets radio play.
Who are you listening to right now? Who do you think is hot?
Khalid, Dua Lipa, Snakehips.
What does your day-to-day consist of?
My days vary depending on where I am. I’m on the road more often than not. I always have a laptop and headphones in my bag, so that I can be productive wherever I may be.
On any given day, I talk to both my parents, maintain the endless to-do list in my iPhone, and work on my computer, wearing a robe in bed, whether my own or a hotel’s. I put time into researching and downloading music, strategizing set concepts, and also learning about the cities and venues that are upcoming on my schedule. I'll learn about the crowds I’ll be playing for and to get a sense of what they might enjoy and what they might be pleasantly surprised by.
To break up my day, I’ll check out friends’ studio sessions and find a way to be active: In New York, I like to work out in the gym at night when it’s not so busy. When I’m in LA, I’ll take advantage of jet-lag with an early morning hike.
How about those off days to relax?
I tend to balance both work and pleasure on an average day, rather than dedicate myself to one or the other. Whenever possible, I prefer to be in warm places where I can take at least an hour for myself to relax outside – I’ll even plan bookings around it. I play in New York much less during the cold season.
Any last words for the kiddies?
Build a life you don’t need a vacation from.