Katsy Lee — A Melodic Odyssey Fueled by Limitless Passion
In a recent interview with us, Katsy Lee spoke about the challenges and rewards of being a DJ-producer, her guiding principles for aspiring DJs, and her recent experience at Ultra Music Festival.
Katsy Lee, Filipina DJ-producer, found herself among giants like Zedd and Charlotte De Witte on the esteemed Ultra Music Festival event this year in Europe. This honor was not just a milestone; it symbolized a lifetime achievement and a chance to proudly represent her country on a global stage.
Being chosen to represent her country at Ultra Music Festival is a source of profound gratitude for Katsy Lee, the Filipina DJ. The opportunity to showcase her talent on such a prestigious stage fills her heart with appreciation and joy. Moreover, her experience goes beyond the mere act of performing; it’s a journey of cultural exchange and artistic enrichment.
At Ultra Music Festival
How did it feel to represent your country at Ultra Music Festival? What was the most memorable moment of your trip?
I’m still, and always, in disbelief and in great gratitude. The most magical memory I take home from Ultra is honestly the friendship and wisdom given by our colleagues and patrons from all over the world. They are beautiful people — each one an incredible, unique being. :”) This year we get to go on the Oasis Stage in addition to the Beachville and Boat Party stages, and I am just so overwhelmed at how life can just spring these surprises. I never would have dreamed of it. Really, I can only be grateful. Thank You❤️
The pride of representing her country is complemented by the appreciation she feels for the global music community that embraces and celebrates her artistry. This shared connection nurtures her creativity, fuels her passion, and fosters a sense of belonging in the world of music.
Notably, Ian Sndrz and Jenil, two phenomenal DJ producers from the Philippines, have also showcased their talents at UMF in past years. These exceptional artists embody the same energy and passion, proudly representing the Philippines on the global stage.
Reaching a significant milestone in a DJ’s career requires a remarkable level of mental and physical stamina. The demanding task of performing exhilarating DJ sets while simultaneously crafting original music necessitates an unwavering commitment to the craft. Fortunately, Katsy Lee generously revealed how she dedicated both her body and mind to excel in her craft.
DJing and Producing
How much stamina do you need to divide your time between DJing and producing music?
A lot of stamina and discipline is needed to be both a DJ and a producer. Though the two are synergistic — DJing with a producer’s mindset is something I aspire to, and producing with a DJ’s mindset is also very important (inspired by several great artists including local heroes I’m honored to call my mentors: Funk Avy, Mark Nicosia, and Mecha — all stellar battle DJs as well as producers — and several maestros including local icons Ace Ramos, Martin Pulgar, Manolet Dario, Kat DJ, Marc Naval, Mars Miranda, Marc Marasigan, David Ardiente, Salamangkero / Noel de Brackinghe, Aryan Magat, Nix Damn P!, Sky Dominique, Nicky Jurado, Supreme Fist / Paul Macapagal, John Sedano, Franco Zarate, Patty Tiu, Tom Taus, JENIL, Ian Sanders, John Odin, Parnassus, Mark Thompson, Beach Please / Sophia Guerrero and Charles Lesaca, Siangyoo, Rhon Rebleza, Pae Dobles, Miaow, Roy de Borja, Gavin Skewes, Arthur Tan, Mukhi, Manila Junkie, Dara Carmina, Patrick Rizarri, Arden Formento, Marco Pedro, Tom Suplico, Katsu, obese.dogma777 / Jorge Wieneke, Alinep, Mica, Breaking Silence / Shore Ramnani, DIMAS, DJ Buddah, Kiko Nepomuceno, Kit Guerra, Antz Santiago, Bombi Balquiedra, Marie Garcia, Razikyle, Jared Celemin — to name just a few of these incredible storytellers, producers, visionaries, and battle DJs — I have so many more I can list but Jared might run out of ink😅 p.s. I so badly want to contribute an article on our local artists because everyone from veteran to new has so many different and amazing things to offer) in my experience they are vastly different disciplines when tackled as individual tasks. For the longest time I vacillated between what I saw as two different feelings: DJing being dependent on several more external factors, akin to surfing waves that comprise the audience, the theme of the night, the venue, the time, even the DJ’s own honest and sincere mood; production being what I saw as a writing exercise akin to scribbling in a journal, or crafting words in a novel. One ebbed and flowed; the other was static. I thought of production as a written hypothesis from start to finish. I found myself shying away in the DJ booth when I’d been producing that afternoon, because my mind had been taking a different approach. Not to mention the time management one needs (add to that social media / management, etc.) :’3 But as life goes on, one attempts to learn the art of commanding their voice, wielding a message, and writing a story even as a room looks on (DJing), alongside the art of a handshake that echoes beyond the walls of one’s studio, even with work that starts off solitary (production.) One realizes one needs to be both uncompromising in their vision but receptive to the constant flow of things, in both disciplines. This is something I admire about artists who are naturally great at this, and what I hope for and aspire to. Physical stamina and mental focus for the entirety of one’s endeavors will come, I believe, when one has a clear vision they find in their heart, that they just need to get out. It’s tough, but everyone, in one way or another, is destined to gain a chance to express themselves. There’s no stifling the human spirit.
For Katsy Lee, DJing involves riding the waves of audience energy and external factors, while production resembles the art of crafting a written narrative. At times, the two pursuits may seem at odds, with different approaches and mindsets. However, Katsy Lee understands the importance of being adaptable and receptive to the constant flow of creativity in both realms. Listen to Katsy Lee on Spotify
Setbacks & MINDSETS
Everyone has flaws, and that’s what makes us human. Katsy Lee exudes happiness even in her writing, filled with joyful emojis. However, we still wondered if she gets mad like everyone else.
Do you ever get mad? You always seem so joyful. Have you had any experiences that disrupted your DJ performance? If so, how do you handle such situations in the moment?
I doooooo!:3 hahahahaha. My friends know I can go kroooooo but it’s always a mroooooo. :’3 Basically if I get into scraps, best believe I will be the first to apologize 💖😭 I always feel I’m in the wrong. I think it’s best to acknowledge what you can change (your own mistakes) because you can never change another person’s opinion of you, anyway. :’3 At least you did your part?💖🙈 hahaha:’3
In performances, I do get so mad at myself. Ugh. It’s only recently I’ve been trying to learn to let things go and know, truly know, that there’s sunshine in the morning — and morning always comes:’3
Despite her joyful demeanor, Katsy acknowledges moments of frustration and challenges. Embracing vulnerability, she approaches mishaps during performances with self-compassion and resilience. Each day brings a new chance to bask in life’s harmonious rhythms.
RITUALS / HEALTH
Do you have pre-performance rituals? How do you stay healthy while working in the nightlife industry, where sleep is often limited?
I’m not the healthiest creature around, but taking time to keep track of where you are at the present is a good way to start, I think. Aside from not getting enough nutrients and sleep, I believe getting mentally, emotionally, and physically lost in the whirl of things can also lead down the rabbit hole of unhealthiness, though sometimes it’s a necessary (if not recommended) storm to go through IF it happens — a lesson. I find what helps is keeping a journal: jotting down dreams, goals, observations, things you aspire to, and things you outgrow. Prayer is a beautiful thing (or a similar practice you may believe in.) Nothing disconcerts more than a bad ego, and nothing kills the latter more than the peace in knowing there are so many bigger, grander things than our trivial mortal caprices.
Katsy Lee acknowledges the challenges of maintaining health in the nightlife industry. She emphasizes self-awareness and keeping track of well-being, finding solace in journaling and practices like prayer to stay grounded and balanced.
FindING your sound
As a seasoned DJ with a prominent presence in the local scene, Katsy imparts invaluable principles to aspiring DJs. She urges them to embark on an introspective quest of self-discovery, a pursuit of authenticity that allows their unique voice to resonate with audiences. She emphasizes that the elusive “sound” emerges organically, born from life experiences and profound learning, ultimately crystallizing into a powerful artistic force.
What guiding principles do you strive to impart in aspiring DJs and why do you feel it’s important to do so as a seasoned DJ in the local scene?
It’s a cliché, but really, one very important thing is to find oneself, in order to share the best we can with others. We are wandering minstrels gifted with the honor and privilege of being able to share the deepest parts of ourselves with great numbers of people. As such, it’s a beautiful thing to be introspective, quite like philosophers on the tip of the rabbit’s fur, as in ‘Sophie’s World’. We have the responsibility of reflecting personal moments both of joy and pain onto art that enriches and entertains. And when they say “find your sound” — it took me so long to start to figure it out, and I’m constantly trying — I think maybe it’s a process, a journey. One cannot force it. You may have vision, and that’s always a good blueprint — but until life gives you enough learning to build a heart, it doesn’t strike as hard. Don’t worry — it’s a process. What you are now is what you need to be at the moment. Life can be tough, but we will be what we are meant to be — or long to be.
Katsy Lee’s journey exemplifies the limitless passion that drives aspiring DJs and producers. Her pursuit of success in the music world showcases not only a mastery of her craft but also an unyielding spirit that propels her through the highs and lows of this thrilling melodic odyssey. Through her reflections, Katsy Lee inspires us to embrace the profound journey of self-discovery and creativity that awaits all artists. While each artist’s path may differ, the unwavering desire to express oneself and leave a lasting impact on the world through the power of music unites them all.