Community Creatives | Conversation with Chelsie Del Rosario a.k.a CHELS

Community Creatives | Conversation with Chelsie Del Rosario a.k.a CHELS

August 20, 2021

Recently, STAY FRESH has reached out to local Vancouver DJ; Chelsie Del Rosario, to curate a playlist for our official Spotify channel. Our collaborative playlist “Daybreak” is influenced by sneaker culture’s ties to 90’s hip hop to signify a cap to the summer of 2021. 

We recently sat down with Chelsie, also known as CHELS, for a conversation on her beginnings, passions and inspirations. CHELS' influence within the youth community has grown rapidly and we were able to get her routine on how she stays motivated within the music industry. 

SF: When did you start DJing?

C: I started djing in 2018, so around 3 years ago! Still very much learning. I remember curating mixes out of pure boredom & trying to find a hobby that would help me express my emotions. I started to make mixes for my friends and the people I loved at the moment. I didn’t really expect to play any gigs/sets and just wanted to do my own lowkey thing in my bedroom! 

SF: Who were your early influences?

C: My family. 

At a young age I remember music would always be playing around the house. My dad would always be singing, playing songs with his guitar, and just introducing us to soul music during our car rides to school. I remember going to my older sisters'/cousins' voice lessons and singing competitions as a kid and watching them perform from the sidelines. Although my mom enrolled me in sports, dance, and piano lessons I really wanted to play the drums but she didn’t want me to. During road trips, my siblings and I would burn our favourite songs onto CD’s and just listen to those songs for hours. To me, that’s what influenced me to find my own vessel of expression and where I found a new passion for creating mixes and djing. 

SF: What are your main challenges as a DJ? 

C: To stay authentic & myself in everything I do.  At the start of this journey I was so new to everything and the environment I was around. I was quite intimidated, shy, and very nervous to meet new people. My main challenge was stepping into a new role of uncertainty and going out of my comfort zone as a younger DJ while being surrounded by people much more talented than I am. I’m learning to embrace this and just be a student & sponge — learning at my own pace and staying in my own lane.

SF: What motivates you to stay passionate about music?

C: Music will always be a safe space for me. I’m constantly digging for new songs, new edits, new artists and at the same time using music to learn from the past — kind of like time travelling to the root/origin of things. It’s a place that helps me understand different eras of time. What motivates me to stay passionate about music is the endless worlds you can dive into and the stories people tell in their music. It is a space that can uplift you as well as heal whatever emotion you’re going through. Music saves.

SF: What do you find exhilarating about searching for new music or vinyls?

C: It’s amazing just to be in an environment where music is embraced. There’s so many choices to choose from and artists to learn about! You get to add it to your collection and then one day share it with your own kids.

SF: Who are some of your favourite artists?

C: There are so many talented artists right now and it’s such a beautiful time to see so many people creating. My forever favourites are: D’angelo, Sade, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Amy Winehouse.

SF: When preparing a mix how do you set the mood?

C: I start with an intention and purpose then let it flow from there. When it comes to making a mix it’s more of an intimate and personal experience for me. I try to find songs that compliment particular moments i’ve felt in my life and curate a story from there. For my sets, I try to read and understand the dynamic of my audience while still staying authentic to my very own style.

SF: What was your inspiration for the Daybreak Playlist? 

C: My inspiration for the Daybreak Playlist was to curate a compilation of 90’s/00’s hip-hop songs that I love to listen to. It features a range of artists such as Slum Village, MF Doom, Common, The Roots and more.

SF: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

C: 5 years, damn. I just want to be happy doing all the things I love while being surrounded by people who are passionate about what they believe in. There’s so much I want to do and so many things I want to learn about. Hopefully in 5 years I can explore my creativity in newer forms and continue to express and explore different parts of myself. I want to meet and learn from others better than me and create safe spaces where someone will be able to feel seen even if they’re still learning in the desired field they choose.

Overall, I just want to be in alignment with my purpose in 5 years doing the things I’ve always wanted to do and sharing these moments with the people I love.

Special Thanks to: Duffin's Donuts
Interview by: KJ Mishra
Art Direction by: KJ Mishra
Layout by: Matthew Chan
Photography by: Kodi Josiah

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