The music industry isn’t for the faint of heart. It can take years upon years to get your “big break,” and you never know when that moment will come. Be comfortable and okay with the unknown. Los Angeles-based artist D.Zeledon is in it for the long haul and with 10 years under his belt as an electronic music artist he recognizes he still has much to learn but also is very proud of his accomplishments over the years. He shares his biggest source of motivation on a personal and industry level and why creating authentic relationships is so important.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What first got you into music, how long have you been DJing and producing music–what came first?
I started getting into music when I got influenced by my older cousins in the 90s. They were part of Rebel Alliance, a party crew from the NELA party scene movement. The house music was BUMPIN back then.. I’ve been DJing for about 10 years now and producing for a solid two years. Still learning every day, no doubt.
Is there a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to pursue music more than just a hobby?
I remember going to Exchange LA back in like 2013 and seeing Umek play live. I started listening and acknowledging the way he was working the crowd. That day I definitely got the itch to pursue music rather than a hobby.
Do you dedicate yourself full time to music or do you hold down another job? If you’re a full-time artist, how do you create discipline with no constraints and if the latter, what does your creative workflow look like?
I wish I could hold it down full time. One day for sure but for now I have a full-time job. I listen to music ALL DAY AND NIGHT. I eat, sleep, and live house music haha
Are there any artists who’ve really inspired your work as an artist?
My biggest inspirations are Jamie Jones and Chus & Ceballos. Two artists that definitely bring out the sound I play and follow. The Iberican sound that Chus and Ceballos brings just gets my Latin roots going and Jamie Jones just the funky beats and fat basslines that get me going.. definitely two top-tier artists.
What motivates your work as an artist?
My family. The motivation I get from my family is amazing. They keep me on my toes and have me wanting more and more. Love them for that. Plus I want them to be next to me and cheering me on when time comes to travel the world together.
You also just recently released your first solo track via Tech Ave Records. How long has this been in the coming and what made you finally feel like you were “ready” to take the training wheels off the bike (this isn’t to discredit your previous work involving collabs!)?
I’ve been good friends with the heads over at Tech Avenue for quite a while now. We have always talked about myself releasing something with them.
I felt ready when they had a dope Compilation in the works and I had this track that I really liked and had a feeling they were going to love it. It was definitely time to release something solo too.
My biggest lesson in this journey is to not give up. Times can get really tough but you need to just rough it out.
Keep trucking, good times will come
Showcasing art taps into vulnerability–you’re putting yourself out there via your music and you don’t know how it’ll do. Talk about nerve-wracking. What’s the mindset you have to this and even the collaborations you’ve done in the past.
It’s definitely nerve-wracking! It’s a tough business to be in no doubt. Just got to play your cards right and make sure to make something for that specific label.
What’s one thing you’ve most struggled with as an artist and what’s helped you manage that challenge?
It’s definitely the production part. I’m still very new to it. I learn something new every time I open a session on Ableton. I just try to teach myself something new or I ask for help from my friends. Shaun Cruda has been a huge mentor. He pushes me to pump stuff out.
What’s been one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on your artist journey?
My biggest lesson in this journey is to not give up. Times can get really tough but you need to just rough it out. Humbleness and not giving up has for sure made me the artist that I am now.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Keep the Dream Alive. This year has taught me a lot.
Making music and understanding it makes it that much better. Also, I have a release with a new label from Madrid/Colombia called Aguaelulo Music.
Los Angeles native, Diego Zeledon or better known to his fans as D.Zeledon, has focused on mastering the skill of DJing for more than seven years but involved in the scene since the late ‘9Os. His interest in music was introduced and influenced by his older family members.
His knowledge of mixing and music theory grew as he listened to Power Tools on the radio and watched his cousins attend house music events. Heavily influenced by the likes of Jamie Jones, Green Velvet, and Chus & Ceballos inspired him to pursue music as a career and not just a hobby.
His Nicaraguan background influences his Latin sound along with tribal instruments and Latin vocals from artists like Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, and Joe Arroyo.