Every night’s a white canvas, and that’s magic

By Beverley Knight

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Dolça van Leeuwen got up close and personal with decks when she created playlists for a small club. A curiosity about those decks and confidence in sharing her musical library sparked the idea of DJing during her university years. Heading further back, Dolça’s fascination with music started as a girl. Other kids played with dolls; she played with music. “Many of my most beautiful childhood memories are related to music: enjoying my father’s music in the car, dancing and singing around the house or with my friends.”

Her parents started to recognise this wasn’t just some phase, so they bought her a hi-fi system where she spent years listening to the radio, filing music and creating playlists. The CDs moved to the car, where a sense of DJing was already in the air. Eventually, the internet came into play, and Dolça surfed for alternative music from America. “I didn’t know what I was doing, but it felt so good.”

A creative path for children can be daunting for parents because of long-term stability. Encouraging van Leeuwen to finish her studies, they supported her but offered sensible advice. She listened; she respected their wishes. But with time to think during 2020, she had a life-changing vision. “The moment had arrived: I wanted to follow my dream and become a professional DJ and producer. Next, I took DJ technique lessons for a year and was lucky enough to have a teacher called Enai championing me and my sound in the music scene.” 

Small gigs followed, and she rolled up her sleeves. Then, the volume of offers ballooned. But it’s not always easy starting in a competitive industry when so many are fighting for the same thing. “There’s a long list of challenges and complications for all DJs in the first years. However, I firmly believe it’s the path I want to take. I’ve learnt to face challenges effectively with courage.”

On the dance floor, if Dolça could only choose one genre to define her sound, it would be melodic and progressive techno. Stemming from her childhood, other styles season her gigs: House, Indie, and Synthwave notes, to name a few. “I like to surprise the crowd when I sense they allow me. I like that variety in my sets and enjoy taking the dancefloor on a journey. It’s good to read the space and include some old tunes or almost-forgotten anthems.”

Little by littlevan Leeuwen’s agenda is coming into its own, and her network is increasing. “For sure, I remember with joy the first bars where I played for almost free, just for the joy of doing it.” Nowadays, she finds herself playing bigger clubs and at festivals like Lightbox London, Egg London, Delirium Festival and Porta Ferrada Festival. The growing list sits beside residencies in Sinner Room in Pacha Barcelona, Bloop London and El Club by Platea Girona.

“Every single venue has something unique to offer.” Dolça feels different each time she gets home from a set, depending on the vibe created under the disco lights. But it never fails to bring bubbly feelings of excitement. “Every night’s a white canvas, and that’s magic.”

There’s a whole new universe to explore while learning music production. She realised it takes concentration; it’s beautiful but has tense moments. “It’s a mix of struggle and immense pleasure. I’m proud that I trained at EUMES school in Girona, where I had the opportunity to learn from incredible artists and teachers.” 

She set up a home studio and is investing herself in producing music, and, like many worthwhile things, it takes time and discipline. “I describe my sound as emotional, darkish and blunt melodic techno.” It’s full of touching melodies, powerful kicks and high-voltage energy. “Both in my sets and productions, I seek to trespass the skin. I want to reach deeper layers within and awaken feelings through my music.”

This year, there is no other way for Dolça. She’ll keep working hard, launching her career to cosmic levels. Never losing sight of her vision has paid off as she dropped her first single, The Path You Walk Alone, on 4 January.

Overall, there isn’t a specific goal, as she finds that limiting. “I am enjoying the process and putting my heart and soul into it.” She’s ready to go as far as she can; there are no clear expectations. Again, patience is a virtue. “When work is your passion, and you love what you do, the fruits of your labour come when the time is right.”

“I am thankful for every single chance. Every time I get a new opportunity, I do my best to perform to the best I can.” Collaborations with different projects, venues and festivals are on the horizon. “The world is big; it’s filled with chance. I’m ready to keep living this journey to the fullest with my music library under my arm.” 

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