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Artist Interview: Sober Female DJ's Trailblazing Path in Progressive House Music


Photo of DJ Nathalie Henriette
Nathalie Henriette

Nathalie Henriette's journey is a vibrant testament to the power of transformation, resilience, and the liberating force of music. As a queer female DJ navigating the intricacies of the progressive house music scene, her story transcends the personal battle with addiction, spotlighting the broader challenges and triumphs faced by LGBTQ+ artists in a male-dominated industry. Nathalie's narrative, from the energetic dance floors of Amsterdam to the international stage of DI.FM, showcases not just a personal victory over substance dependency but also a celebration of identity, community, and the profound healing capabilities of music.


"Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, neither is walking away to protect inner peace. Having emotions is normal and not a weakness. Neither is reaching out for help. Being sober brought me back to why I started my musical journey and it’s the best gift I gave myself, sobriety." - Nathalie Henriette

Q: Could you share a bit about your early background before music became your primary focus?


Nathalie: I'm grateful for the opportunity to be featured on your inspiring platform and share my journey. My initial career path was in classical ballet, but it turned out not to be my destiny. A few years later, a visit to a club in Amsterdam changed everything for me. It was my first experience in such a setting, and I was captivated by the amazing go-go dancers. That night, I was also introduced to house music for the first time, and it completely blew my mind.


Q: How did your experiences as a dancer influence your transition into the world of DJing?


Nathalie: My journey as a dancer, including years spent as a go-go dancer and performing in the background for various acts, was filled with incredible experiences from which I learned a great deal. Interestingly, throughout this period, I abstained from drinking or using substances; I didn't start drinking until my mid-twenties. Eventually, I transitioned from dancing to writing, a shift that occurred purely by chance. This new path led me to report live online on fashion and beauty events, opening up a different creative avenue for me.


Q: What led you from writing and fashion to pursuing DJing and music production?


Nathalie: My venture into the worlds of fashion weeks and Haute Couture marked a significant turning point. It was during this period that I began taking benzodiazepines to cope and started drinking more heavily. I found myself deeply unhappy and constantly seeking ways to numb my discomfort, which ultimately led to both personal and professional setbacks. After several unsuccessful attempts at rehab, I decided to detox at home. Recovering took nearly a year before I could even begin to function normally again. However, it was during this challenging period that I rediscovered my passion for music. Diving back into my old collection of house CDs, I began experimenting, imagining how different tracks could blend. This exploration rekindled my musical aspirations, marking the beginning of a new chapter in my life without any specific goals at first; I was merely trying to find my way through survival.


Q: How has your decision to become sober influenced your work and creativity?


Nathalie: Successfully overcoming my Benzo addiction has been a significant milestone; this March marks my fifth anniversary of sobriety. Initially unaware of the concept of cross-addiction, I navigated some challenging waters, especially when I began my DJing career. Both in terms of the decisions I made and the people I chose to associate with, I encountered difficulties. After years of self-neglect and enduring isolation without a support system, I was blind to the repercussions of my actions. However, I've learned to take full responsibility for those choices and hold myself accountable.


Q: How would you describe your musical style, and who or what are your primary influences?


Nathalie: I identify as a progressive house DJ, truly embracing the genre in every sense. Initially, I believed I had to confine myself to a specific style, but I've since realized that's not the case. My emotional nature deeply influences my music selection and how I play. This personal touch is a core aspect of my musical identity.


Q: As a member of the queer community, how do you navigate your identity within the progressive house music scene?


Nathalie: Regularly playing at Club NYX in Amsterdam has been incredibly revealing. Being part of a community that unfortunately still encounters numerous daily struggles has fostered a strong sense of unity. The acceptance I've received, despite dabbling in various genres, is profound; I've never felt out of place. However, since embracing sobriety, my engagement within the progressive scene has lessened. I haven't been as present to support or enjoy live performances as much as I'd like. Moving forward, I aim to bridge this gap and foster connections between both scenes. After all, they share many admirable qualities, embodying the true spirit of being progressive.


"The few who stuck by me after I quit drinking, who understood my commitment to sobriety and my craft, were invaluable. It's a tough scene, especially as a queer, female DJ in a male-dominated genre, but their support helped me redefine what it means to be 'fun' and true to myself." - Nathalie Henriette

Q: Reflecting on the challenges you've faced, how have you navigated adversity in your career and personal life?


Nathalie: Acceptance! This acceptance is not just towards myself but also from others. I've changed significantly; I'm not the same individual people knew three years ago. It was indeed a bizarre experience to reintegrate into society when it, too, was entering a lockdown, just months after I ended my own period of isolation. Following almost two years of relentless drinking, I reached a point where I recognized the severe impact on my mental and physical well-being. At that moment, I understood the necessity of seeking help.


Q: What advice would you give to other artists, particularly those who are queer and/or choosing sobriety?


Nathalie: Nothing is a one-size-fits-all solution. Stay true to yourself and take pride in who you are. Navigating the art world while embracing your queer identity and choosing sobriety presents a unique set of challenges, but remember, you are not alone. It may sometimes feel like it, but support is available. I encourage you to reach out. There are communities such as The Creative Sober, where you'll find understanding and support from every individual, all of whom truly comprehend the journey you're on.


Q: Reflecting on your journey so far, what would you consider the greatest gift that music and sobriety have brought to your life, and how have these experiences shaped your approach to personal well-being and artistic expression?


Nathalie: My journey through music and sobriety has been my greatest gift to myself. Facing fears, setting boundaries, and learning to prioritize my well-being over pleasing others have been pivotal. Music, in its purest form, has brought me back to myself, offering solace and a path forward.


"Facing fears, setting boundaries, and learning to prioritize my well-being over pleasing others have been pivotal. Music, in its purest form, has brought me back to myself, offering solace and a path forward." - Nathalie Henriette

Nathalie's ascent from Amsterdam's nightclubs is not just a tale of overcoming adversity but a vivid narrative of embracing her queer identity amidst the challenges of the music industry. Her story is a compelling reminder of the transformative power of music, underscored by the importance of self-acceptance, the value of community support, and the endless possibilities that unfold when we confront our battles head-on. Her achievements, underscored by her authentic self-expression and community engagement, especially highlighted by her presence on platforms like MixCloud, reflect the strength found in sobriety coupled with the profound connection between music and recovery.


As Nathalie continues to navigate her career, her experiences and insights resonate as a beacon for those at the intersection of LGBTQ+ identity and artistic pursuit, affirming the significance of visibility and representation in the arts. Her journey is a testament to the resilience of the queer community and the transformative essence of music as a medium for recovery, expression, and a sober female DJ. For more inspiring stories, resources on creativity and sobriety, and to explore the vibrant tapestry of queer artists making waves in the music industry, stay tuned to The Creative Sober's blog, where courage and creativity meet.


DI.FM Show - Nathalie Henriette
DI.FM Show - Nathalie Henriette

Engage with Nathalie's Henriëtte:

  • Tune in to Nathalie's monthly show on: DI.FM

  • Follow Nathalie's journey on Instagram, Threads

  • Follow Nathalie's personal and musical news updates on Facebook

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