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Pride DJ Sandy Duperval interview: “Tomorrow is not guaranteed so make the most of right NOW.” | Chicas

Posted by Mandy Randhawa on July 5, 2022

DJ Sandy Duperval is a French and English artist and DJ with a degree in culinary management. Sandy has roots in gospel and jazz, as well as R&B and hip hop. Early on, she trained with Whitney Houston’s mother Cissy Houston.

Read on her journey with Cissy Houston, lessons over Covid and dreams for the future.

Flygirl: Last time we interviewed you was 2019 and you had just finished your culinary management degree. Are you working with food these days? 

DJ Sandy Duperval: I’m finally done with my Bachelor of Commerce: In culinary Management! However, my Artist/DJ career picked up in the most intense ways. I also released a French EP album and am working on the full-length album as well as some singles under my new DJ name: BLK PRL so I only do private catering contracts. 

Flygirl: We know you as a truly incredible DJ, but your background is in gospel. Can you tell us what or who inspired the leap from gospel to DJing?

DJ Sandy Duperval: Honestly, that was far from the plan. My mom introduced me to a DJ when I was looking for a job while going to College to study Jazz Music. I was paid $8/hr to DJ, I could barely afford buying records but he taught me how to read a crowd and all the mixing and scratching techniques. Then I did this TV show in Quebec that is like Canadian Idol and they introduced me as a Singer/DJ. When the show ended, I started getting requests to play at different events but my DJ career picked up because of my 11 years as a resident at one of Montreal’s highly respected 2SLGBTQ+ clubs, Unity Nightclub. 

Flygirl: And how old were you when you first started to DJ?

DJ Sandy Duperval: I was 20 years old when I officially started. 

Flygirl: Was your family supportive of your interest in music?

DJ Sandy Duperval: My mom had me at a really young age so I grew up with my grandmother and I can honestly say she’s the reason I took music seriously. She invested so much in my passion, I think it was also hers and she lived vicariously through me. It strengthen our bond even if she was way too intense sometimes lol.

Flygirl: Did you grow up with a lot of music in your home?

DJ Sandy Duperval: We listened to Gospel all day every day! We went to church 8 times a week so Gospel was the dominant genre of music but when my mom would visit, we listened to a LOT of BOB Marley and the Wailers as well as R&B and Hip Hop. 

Flygirl: Are any of your family members musicians?

DJ Sandy Duperval: Funny enough I didn’t grow up with my Dad but he is a musician and spent most of his life playing in a Haitian band. 

Flygirl: Early on, you trained with Whitney Houston’s mother, Cissy Houston. What was that experience like? How long did you work together? Do you bring parts of that teaching into your work today? 

DJ Sandy Duperval: I did! It was an incredible but intimidating experience. She was tough but also caring in her own unique way. I think it lasted about a year of going back and forth to New Jersey from Montreal but we only recorded about 3-4 songs together. She is passionate and thorough. She has a keen ear for details and that stayed with me throughout my career as an artist.

Flygirl: Who are some of your musical heroes or influences?

DJ Sandy Duperval: My first hero is my grandmother even if she could not sing to save a life. She faked it and I made it, same for my mother. As a singer, Whitney Houston will always be the biggest influence and close second is Lauren Hill but honestly, there are too many to mention. As far as DJing I would say, DJs who took the time to teach me what I know such as DJ Huggies, Stan Courtois, Christian Pronovost, and Etienne Osborne. Other Djs who paved the way for me, Mel Boogie, Lissa Monet, Blondish, Mistress Barbara, Killa Jewels and more. 

Flygirl: You have done so much and are so talented in different areas—music, food, business, and more. What is one of your accomplishments that you deeply proud of?

DJ Sandy Duperval: Over time and experience, my view of life and my purpose have changed so much. I believe that growth and community work are my biggest accomplishments. I want to be of service to others. After all, I’m not leaving this life with anything but I leave a legacy of music and culinary arts that I hope will inspire others to live boldly, authentically and be kind to themselves and others.  

Flygirl: The Vancouver Pride theme this year is Together Again, as Pride, and the whole country, return to more in-person events. How did Covid and the shift to virtual events affect you as an artist? As a person? Did you find you were able to be creative during the isolation times, or was it a challenge? Are there any lessons or learnings you want to share from that time?

DJ Sandy Duperval: The pandemic was life-altering to me, I left a relationship I had invested everything in so that I could build a relationship with myself. The experience was a full reset one, on all levels and aspects of my life. It felt like I had lost everything but I found me and that was everything. I also found out that virtual events are completely different from in-person and I much rather feel people’s energy than be alone in a room in front of a camera. There’s nothing like the human touch and energy, I won’t take that for granted ever again! On the flip side, being alone forced me to face my deepest feelings and my creative juices overflowed. Having the time to do that is one of the things I am most grateful for. Another lesson that will stay with me for the rest of my life is that all that matters is the present. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so make the most of right NOW. 

Flygirl: What have you got planned for your next steps? OR What’s a dream of yours for the future?

DJ Sandy Duperval: I would like to do more community-building work, teach children, feed the homeless, get involved in sustainable projects and help in any capacity I can with the 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Now more than ever, the world needs more kindness and togetherness with the earth. I’m not perfect but I’m focused on giving it my all. 

Thanks for chatting with us, Sandy! To get to know her better and check out her work, head over to her website.

And don’t forget to get your Pride tickets here

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