Feel-good vibes from an influential London artist.

Vanessa Maria is a London-based DJ and broadcaster of German and Jamaican descent. A graduate in psychology, she first made her mark in music on 1020 radio, a weekly show at Bristol university. Then, in early 2019, after enrolling in some DJing workshops called Mix Nights run by Saffron Records aimed at introducing more female DJs into electronic music, she became hooked. “It was the way that music made me feel; it made life exciting, and it resonated with me,” she tells XLR8R. “In a way, music ‘got’ me; it understood how I felt before I even knew myself!” She learned to mix and, after a few guests mixes, the booking requests—from festivals like Wireless and All Points East to more intimate spots like Corsica Studios—were rolling in. “It really just escalated from there…,” she says.

What makes Maria’s sets stand out is the sheer diversity: from high-energy Jersey club, hard drum, and afro-trap to hip-hop, grime, trap, and pop, she plays it all. It’s all part of a driving desire to “push the boundaries “of what a DJ can do, she tells XLR8R. She holds a monthly residency on Foundation FM and recently compiled a DJ mix series in collaboration with Notion magazine highlighting underrepresented regional talent. Outside of playing music, she collaborates with RA on a podcast showcasing prominent Black talent in electronic music and hosts a music and mental health-related podcast and documentary series. Last year, it was hardly a surprise when The Face named her in directory of people shaping the future of nightlife in London.

Recorded in her east London apartment, Maria’s XLR8R podcast has a simple concept: she uses it to showcase her favorite tracks from up-and-coming artists. Across its one-hour run-time, you’ll hear tracks from DJ Præda, DJ Flex, and Sir Hiss, spanning trap, pop, drill, afro-house, and so much more. Though it’s more laid-back than what you’ll hear Maria play out in clubs, this is a feel-good mix that sets that’ll have you dancing wherever you are.

01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been working on some music and mental health workshops and documentaries alongside DJing and learning how to produce.

02. What have you been listening to?
I’ve actually been listening to a lot of blues and soul: Ricky Nelson, William Bell, Donny Hathaway, Etta James, and Nina Simone.

03. When and where did you record this mix?
In my sunny kitchen in east London overlooking my garden.

04. What setup did you use?
Pioneer DDJ-FLX6 controller!

05. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
I selected on the basis of what I’ve truly been loving and all the tracks, both old and new, are ones I’ve had on repeat over the past few weeks, in and around the club! I’ve been travelling as well so parts remind me of Berlin, Milan, and Copenhagen. It’s a mixed bag of emotions!

06. How does it compare to what we might hear you play out?
It’s more laid-back than usual; some tracks I’d definitely play out but overall I’ve included the tracks that I’ve not been able to reach for!

07. What’s next on your horizon?

XLR8R has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to XLR8R+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.

Full XLR8R+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an XLR8R+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.

Editor’s note: a tracklisting will be added to this mix soon.

Source link