The journey of becoming a DJ

The journey of becoming a DJ

Young Germans often decide to study in the Netherlands. For Jan Rosenthal this decision had yet another reason: his music. For the last 10 years, the ambitious DJ has been working on his career. In the country where electronic music originated, he tries to grow as an artist.

„My room is just a bed in a music studio”, says Jan Rosenthal. The 24-year-old is not entirely wrong. In his 11 square meters you can find a big bed, a dresser, a mirror, and a lamp. But more important is the equipment next to it: a screen, two mono synthesizers, a drum machine, and a midi keyboard. Not a common setup, but essential for the self-made DJ from Cologne, Germany.

Two years ago, Jan moved to the Netherlands to study Event management in Leeuwarden, a city in the north of the country. “I decided to study Event management because it’s related to the music scene, and I’m really fascinated in music events and their organization. I have a lot of experience already, so I thought this is the right study for me”, he explains.

Besides organizing events, Jan’s heart has been beating for music production since he was 14 years old: „I went to a music store with my parents, and I was completely blown away by all the music equipment, especially by the DJ and the light equipment”, he reminisces. That moment changed his life. He started to teach himself how to use the different music tools and programs through YouTube videos. At 15 he bought his first small controller. “In the beginning I was completely overwhelmed”, tells Jan. Nevertheless, his goal was to make his music sound professional.

At the same time, the young artist watched an aftermovie from the open-air electronic music festival Tomorrowland of 2012. Ten years later, Jan is still fascinated by the video and says with a smile on his face: “When I saw that video for the first time, I got goosebumps. I was really attracted by that kind of music, and it was a big inspiration for me. Then I got deeper into the scene”.

The electronic music scene was born in The Hague in the 1990s and has gained popularity throughout the Netherlands. Today, the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the world’s leading electronic music conference and the biggest club festival for many electronic subgenres worldwide. It’s no wonder that five of the top ten DJs in the world, who have been awarded by the British magazine DJ Mag in 2022, come from the Netherlands. Therefore, the country is the best place for Jan to further his career. “I do get my inspiration mostly from other artists in the scene, but also from traveling or having experiences myself and going out there”, he says.

By putting himself out there, Jans professional career started two and a half years ago when he was on vacation in Egypt: “I went to nightclub with friends and asked the DJ if I could play for half an hour. He allowed it and then it turned out that the guy I was asking was actually the manager of the club. He really liked my set and said that he was searching for a DJ right now. So, I ended up working as a DJ in Egypt for half a year. It was one of the best experiences, just unbelievable”, Jan remembers.

Before this job, Jan was DJing mostly for fun and at events, but he was not producing and releasing music. That has changed after his experience in Egypt and since he came to the Netherlands. Now, the young artist has found his style and released three songs of his own. “I was searching for my style for years. I would describe it as melodic but also deep and groovy and it has dreamy elements as well”, Jan explains. Today, he produces tracks on a consistent basis and started networking with other artists.

When inquiring about his biggest success so far, he says: “Definitely seeing my artist account and my first song on Spotify. And then of course the deal with my label Tonspiel (WEPLAY MUSIC) for my song Spanania”. On top of that, Jan is releasing his first EP this year and played his first solo show on the 3rd of June in Utrecht. The gig was recorded and will be published here: Baylen Music ♪ – YouTube

The DJ summarizes: “I was a beginner more than 10 years ago. Now I am here. What a journey!” Find out more about Jan and his way to become a professional DJ in the video:

Follow Jan’s music journey here: Spotify & Instagram

Text, photo & video: Roosa Bröijer & Chelsea Walpert

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