Colette has a following like none other in the House Music scene. She is looked up to with tremendous respect by men and women, DJs and vocalists, serious Househeads as well as casual listeners of electronic music. Her connection with the crowd is extraordinary during her performances and she is truly an enjoyable entertainer in every sense of the word.
You’re finishing your current tour with DJ Heather. How do you prepare differently when you’re touring with someone as opposed to when you’re booked solo and what do you most look forward to about these shows?
I prepare the same for all my shows whether I’m playing solo or with another DJ. Heather and I usually tag throughout the night to keep a little spontaneity going. I think it’s more fun for us and the crowd when we keep changing places behind the decks. Besides being great friends with Heather, I’ve always been a big fan of her DJing, so touring together is tons of fun.
How do you determine which songs to perform live over your DJ sets? Are there songs you reserve for only performance and skip releasing?
I usually perform most of the singles from my two albums or I try to do a live mash-up with a few of my songs over a new track. I test out new songs live before releasing them to get a gauge of what is and isn’t working on the floor.
How do you feel your sound and performances have changed over the years?
When I first started DJing I sang improv (with a whole bunch of effects) over instrumental House records. I used a lot of that improv to write my first album and then started performing the singles.
The main difference in my performance now is I only occasionally bust out a freeform song. I recently had a guy come up to me and complain that he liked my singing more “when I just made shit up.”
What’s been the best thing about working with OM?
Besides releasing music with the OMies, I really love playing their events. They throw some of the most fun/silly/crazy parties. I just played a party for them on the 4th of July in Malibu that was pretty fantastic. It was an outdoor event overlooking the ocean with folks dancing on the grass and dancing in the pool.
You recently started your own label Candy Talk. How come you waited so long to do so?
I don’t know if there’s ever a right time to launch a label, but I do know it’s been a goal of mine for over a decade. I decided I’d talked about it for too many years and it was time to make a move.
I love having the freedom to collaborate with different producers, although I didn’t realize how much work it would be to launch a label. Definitely a fun ride so far.
What’s in store for Candy Talk Records?
We just released our first single “Call On Me” a few months ago and threw our first Candy Talk party in Los Angeles this past July. We have an EP coming out this fall from Soydan and a new single I’m working on with remixes by Giano and Jason Hodges.
I’m also hoping to release a special pressing on vinyl by the end of the year with a track from each of the digital releases.
You’re definitely someone to look up to with all you have achieved in the House Music scene. How does it feel to be a role model for women in the scene and what advice would you give to them knowing what you know now, after all you’ve been through?
The best advice I have for anyone breaking into the music scene is to stay true to your musical ideas. Trends come and go and it’s best to be sincere with what you’re producing and/or playing.
Your husband, Thomas Ian Nicholas, does music as well, how does that work out for both of you?
Our home is a battle of the bands… Rock vs. House! Thomas and I are really supportive of one another and we spend a lot of time bouncing song ideas around. People always ask when we’re going to do a tune together, but I think for now we are both happy hanging out at the other one’s shows.
What do you miss most about Chicago?
The only thing I don’t miss about Chicago is the winter weather! Every summer I think about moving back. I’ve been away for ten years now, but there’s something extra special about Chicago that you just can’t replace.