Artist Spotlight: DJ Sabeel Chohan

Sep. 21, 2018

DJ Sabeel Chohan discovered her affinity for music in the last place she thought she would find it- the Netherlands. She had been travelling to Pakistan every year with family before she decided she wanted something new. The culture shock of arriving in Amsterdam, one of the world’s liveliest and most prominent musical cities, was inspiring for Chohan. After being exposed to spinning, Chohan felt an instant connection. She says, “I went to a [music] studio down there and I was just infatuated. I was thirsty, I needed to know more. That was when I realized, I’m going to pursue music.” Chohan recalls, “I attended maybe four music festivals and couldn’t tear myself away. I realized that spinning was what I wanted to do with my life. And I have no regrets.”

DJ Sabeel Chohan

DJ Sabeel Chohan discovered her affinity for music in the last place she thought she would find it- the Netherlands. She had been traveling to Pakistan every year with family before she decided she wanted something new. The culture shock of arriving in Amsterdam, one of the world’s liveliest and most prominent musical cities, was inspiring for Chohan. After being exposed to spinning, Chohan felt an instant connection. She says, “I went to a [music] studio down there and I was just infatuated. I was thirsty, I needed to know more. That was when I realized, I’m going to pursue music.” Chohan recalls, “I attended maybe four music festivals and couldn’t tear myself away. I realized that spinning was what I wanted to do with my life. And I have no regrets.”

DJ Sabeel Chohan has found herself in the middle of musical epiphanies before, having been newly exposed to Western culture and music as a young adult. Chohan explains, “My background in life had a lot of Bollywood music and cultural [Pakistani] music and we weren’t exposed to western culture growing up,” she explains. “I wasn’t really spreading my musical wings until I was 21, finding different styles.” The merging of international musical genres alongside a vast cultural lens really shines through in the mixes DJ Sabeel Chohan creates. She often travels each year to New York, Miami, and Spain, building her musical repertoire with each visit. Chohan follows the call of projects that help her to “stay hungry” and strives to keep her desire to learn a constant force in her life. As a music artist who interacts so closely with technology, Chohan works to keep a balance with the music she spins.

While technology can encourage party-goers to “check out”, Chohan’s specialty is helping the audience tune in with the music and in turn, one another. Chohan says, “Certain clubs have a no phone policy, and you can’t record or take pictures. I love that. Then you’re meshing with people who are into the same music you are, listening to the same music you are. Whenever I go out to concerts or festivals, my phone is away.” She continues, “Sometimes, I even turn my back to the artists just so I can hear the music. That’s the experience I want to give to people, provided they get off their phones!”

DJ Sabeel Chohan has taken the initiative to become part of the solution in helping people stay connected to one another. Chohan’s songs often contain quotes encouraging the dancer to enjoy themselves and disconnect from phones or any other worries they may have. In Chohan’s mix Dot Com Generation, a male speaker asks ‘Do you understand the difference between thinking and being? Try it. Try simply being.’ Chohan states that she uses quotes like this to get her listener to feel something as they listen. Her usage of verbal quotes from other media are very intentional, and are a part of what makes her work unique. It helps others to resonate with the song and feel more comfortable in their own shoes. “Some of us are more shy and words don’t flow well out of your mouth, but they flow better through your keyboard, or through your music and I’m that way. In that moment, that person has said what I felt and I want my audience to feel something, too.”

DJ Sabeel Chohan spinning at a club in philly

Chohan has previously mixed for “silent discos”, where party-goers put on wireless headphones to tune into three different channels to hear the DJ. Silent discos have the added benefit of letting the attendees let go of their inhibitions and that personalized experience is the goal for Chohan. “It’s better because the music is in their head, so they can be more a part of the music that’s playing.” Chohan reflects on the way the members of the digital age can find it difficult to connect with others, specifically at parties where there can be so much pressure to socialize with strangers. DJ Sabeel Chohan’s music is mixed with the intent to bring people together in a way that’s fun and pressure-free. “I want my listener who’s had a bad day, or even just a mundane day to feel relaxed. This is their downtime. I want [the song] to make you think about your life. Music is what connects us. Wherever you are, it is the one language everyone will understand.”

Chohan is of the mind that anyone who loves music has the potential to connect with the person next to them, no matter how different from one another they may be. “The one universal language we all have is music. You could be from the States and connect with someone from India because you’re both at the same concert. We all speak music.” DJ Sabeel Chohan’s diverse sound has landed her in gigs ranging from the Art All Night festivals in Washington D.C. to the Young Professionals Night at The Barnes Foundation. Chohan keeps every experience fresh and new for her audience, and she can be found dancing to her own mixes at her spinning table. Her fun-loving and approachable nature only adds to the experience of listening to her spin. 

If you would like to book DJ Sabeel Chohan for your next event or to discuss additional entertainment and live music bookings in Philadelphia, contact our Talent Buyer, Sean Timmons at 215-240-8552.

 

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