By Rituparna Sengupta Basu
Paroma Chatterjee entered the world of Djing at a very tender age. She chose to surrender the perks of an attractive airlines career to jump into obscure things. She shares her journey, her love for music, about her gigs, her speciality in a quick chat with Expresso.
Expresso: Unlike other DJs, you go just by a casual name-DJ Paroma? Is that your real name or nickname?
Paroma: My real name is Paroma Chatterjee. This is my real name – just added a DJ as a prefix being my profession. I believe it will help me reflect my own identity, and people will know me for being exactly who I am.
Expresso: You were an air hostess. You dabbled in different professions as well. What prompted you to get into music or DJing? Did you always want to be a DJ?
Paroma: I was leading the perfect career high of being an air hostess. I was getting to travel the world and reach greater heights. However, I kept having the feeling that I deserve much more, and I should use my talents and skills to the best of my ability. I always had a good music sense and I had friends who were into the DJing industry. International DJs like Armin Van Burren, Ferry Corsten, etc. really inspired me to become one as well. So I underwent special training from the best in the industry – Bob Omulo, and here I am today.
Expresso: You have entered the world of Djing at a very tender age. What challenges did you face as a female DJ in India initially?
Paroma: I faced a lot of challenges initially. This was, first of all, considered a male-oriented profession, so to convince and make my foray into this male-dominated industry was a challenge indeed. Then there were safety issues being a nightlife profession and financial security concerns as well, as it was not considered a stable profession with a fixed salary coming in every month.
I got very small projects and shows initially. However, step by step, I overcame it all. I did not know anything about this profession when I thought of becoming one and today I have achieved what seemed impossible at one time and still continue to aim higher.
Expresso: How did Djing change your life?
Paroma: DJing has changed my life completely. Today I feel content that people appreciate my work and respect and admire what I do. People from all over the world have got to know me and listen to my remixes and attend my gigs. I have gathered a fan following and the love and appreciation which I wanted to seek, and I couldn’t be more thankful and would love to reciprocate the same always by offering my fans the best version of my tunes to dance to.
Expresso: What type of music do you play most? Is there any particular track you play in your every performance? Is it Bollywood that takes over the western or something else?
Paroma: Bollywood music is my favourite as well as EDM. I play SATURDAY SATURDAY often as it is one of my personal favourite tracks to kickstart a party and a weekend, or lift up the mood when it gets a little boring and monotonous. I have played a lot of international gigs and you will be surprised to know how popular Bollywood music is out there. They absolutely love Bollywood music out there in the West.
Expresso: How was the feeling of winning best female DJ award at WOW awards 2018?
Paroma: This was a great honour indeed, it came my way very unexpected. I won the best female DJ in the corporate and lifestyle events category. Awards like these are a confidence booster, and they definitely motivate you to up your game each time.
Expresso: How do you feel about being the Brand Ambassador of V-Moda and UDG Gear?
Paroma: These were my first opportunities for being a brand ambassador and I am so glad I bagged these beauties and I am the face of the brand. Technology in music is essential and these brands add value and credibility to who I am today.
Expresso: What are your upcoming projects or gigs in line? And how would like to see Dj Paroma 5 Years down the line?
Paroma: I have a lot in the pipeline currently, I won’t be able to list all of them as of now. Request everyone to stay tuned to my social media pages for updates. One of the most exciting things coming up soon would be my own single which shall launch soon. Five years down the line I would like to see myself producing my own music and being able to play some musical instruments.
Expresso: How does a DJ rehearse? Do they need to?
Paroma: It is always better to do your homework before you have to attend a gig. For example, the country you are playing in, the place and ambience and occasion you will be playing for, the crowd you will be playing for. Also, it is important to keep track of the latest hits and popular numbers among the masses. Mix your tunes well, and get good rest before you attend your gig, as it is important to be lively and energetic for those you are performing for.
Expresso: Tell us about your first gig? What type of modern technologies do you use in your gigs?
Paroma : 3 months after I finished the course in DJing, I was hired as an assistant DJ by a four-star property close to where I live. They did not have too many regular clients, but my motive was to get hands-on practice as I couldn’t afford to own players and mixers at home.
So, there I was, from a salary of one lakh a month to a measly four thousand,” I recall. While I had access to their equipment, I recorded some live sets, which I put up online and promoted among the limited followers I had at the time. I also remember encashing my LIC policy for my first photoshoot. I never had godfathers in the industry to help me with gigs. And most of the time, taking favours means doing it for free which I was totally against. Just eight months into my job, I got my first freelancing gig on Christmas Eve in Chennai – and there was no looking back since.
Expresso: What was the inspiration behind your profession?
Paroma: Apart from following and being inspired by artists, my mother has been my biggest inspiration. It is because of her, that I knew I could take that risk and be confident in what I chose for myself.
Expresso: Have you ever considered to compose music for a film?
Paroma: Not yet, I would love to, should I get the opportunity to do so.
Expresso: Apart from Djing, what keeps you busy in your free time?
Paroma: I like to catch up on some family time with my loved ones and spend some quality time with my mother and take some time out for myself and pamper myself which I seldom get to do, due to my busy schedules. I like to listen to peaceful soothing music contrary to the loud ones that I usually get to hear and play at clubs.
Expresso: As per you what the key qualities that a DJ should have?
Paroma: Dedication, Hard work, sincerity and technical knowledge are essential qualities a DJ should have. It is also important to keep your self-respect intact and respect others as well. Being a people’s person, lively, friendly and flexible in nature are qualities which are the icing on a cake for being a DJ.
Expresso: What is your secret of success? What is that one dream you still want to achieve?
Paroma: I think my biggest secret is I do not compare myself with anybody and I don’t harbour feelings of hatred and jealousy in me. I do not believe in letting it affect me who is doing what, I like to do my thing and do it well, and let my work speak for me. Let the focus be on your work always and not others, and you will reach greater heights always. I am yet to discover that one dream which I have still not achieved, as I have got more than what I have asked for by God’s grace and all the blessings and positivity that has surrounded me always.
Expresso: Tell us about some of your projects as a DJ which you can’t forget? Who is Dj Paroma’s favourite DJ? What kind of music do you like listening to?
Paroma: My favourite memory has to be being the official DJ for IPL 2014, as I truly believe that was the turning point in my career and it really helped me escalate to reach greater heights. I got the love, exposure, fame and money, all through IPL, and I enjoyed every bit of the IPL season I was a part of. My favourite DJ in India is Nucleya, I have huge respect for him and I really look up to him. I like listening to Bollywood music, pop and EDM. When I am alone, I like to listen to soft soothing RnB and Country music as well.