Meet LA Native Samantha Duenas – also known as SOSUPERSAM, because she’s super. A DJ and overall bad bish, this petite Eurasian beauty has a killer sound that blurs genres of hip hop, electronica and indie. She’s opened for the likes of Erykah Badu, Dam Funk, and recently provided the perfect soundtrack for the MISSBISH x Caeden Sunset Friday’s at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles.
SOSUPERSAM talks to us about LA, being part of the Soulection collective and staying balanced.
Did you choose music or did music choose you? How did you become a DJ?
Music chose me. I've always especially been drawn to the performance aspect; I've played the piano, been a dancer, a singer, and a DJ. I don't really know life without musical expression in some way, shape or form. The idea of DJ'ing had been on my mind for years, since I was a teenager. I became a DJ in 2008 when I was bored at my 9-5 job and was looking for a new, unexplored musical outlet. One thing led to another, and my hobby turned into a career!
Tell us about how you came up with the name "SOSUPERSAM"…
SOSUPERSAM was the name of my fashion blog. Again born out of boredom at my 9-5 job, I would blog at my desk, and "so super" was the phrase I used a lot at the time to describe things. The blog never blew up or anything, but when I started DJ'ing the name sort of stuck.
How does LA influence your sound and your style?
LA influences my sound in a couple of ways. First, as a Filipino kid growing up in LA, R&B and pagers definitely dominated my early teen years, and all of that informs the R&B party my friends and I throw out here called "143" which is pager code for "I love you." LA also really influenced my sound when I moved back here after a brief stint in Brooklyn. Around that time, I had just discovered an artist named Ta-ku and further digging led me to find an entire music scene that was just beginning to bubble up. I linked up with a lot of artists who are now my friends, whose music I really enjoy playing, and in the last year joined the collective called Soulection. Being in LA had everything to do with that.
"Music chose me.. I don't really know life without musical expression in some way, shape or form. The idea of DJ'ing had been on my mind since I was a teenager."
How did you come to be part of Soulection and how has that changed things for you?
I was just a big admirer of the artists, and having just moved back to LA, I would go to a lot of shows. I got a few chances very early on to play with Soulection and get to know everyone as friends. It just clicked naturally, and eventually I was asked to join the roster, which is one of the coolest things to ever happen. I'm still such a huge fan of Soulection as artists and as humans. Really awesome human beings.
Do you love what you do? Would you say you're lucky enough to have your passion be your work?
I do. Some days are tough, and there's a lot of anxiety and stress that comes along with anything you feel passionate about. But I am truly living this dream of a life I could have never ever imagined for myself. Every day is new and exciting and different, it's scary sometimes but mostly extremely rewarding!
What advice do you have for aspiring female DJs?
I think for women, it's twice as easy to get your foot in the door, and four times as hard to be taken seriously by your peers. Be good and be smart.
"I think for women, it's twice as easy to get your foot in the door, and four times as hard to be taken seriously by your peers. Be good and be smart."
How do you balance nightlife as a DJ and healthy living?
Ah it's a tough balancing act. Lots of late nights and early flights, the alcohol, and I guess the nightlife scene in general can wear you down and have you looking haggard in no time if you don't take care of yourself. I take sleep very seriously, I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I don't drink much on the job, and rather just try to stay hydrated. I eat a lot of little snacks throughout my gigs, and that sometimes (only sometimes) helps curb my hankering for a giant plate of late night nachos or 7 hot dogs after a gig. I also stay very focused on skin care. I always remove my makeup at the end of a late night, and make sure my skin stays hydrated while traveling.
Finish the sentences ...
If I weren’t afraid I would... sing more
I wouldn't be where I am today if... I listened to mom's career advice.
I'm currently listening to... the new Dr. Dre album.
Kids these days... don't know the meaning of paying dues.
I look and feel my best when... I have a good song stuck in my head.
When no one is looking I... am doing crossword puzzles.
I respect... honest hard work and a good sense of humor.
Photos by: Carmen Chan