Zen Freeman is a staple at red carpet events and international sold-out festivals around the globe. Unique electro-house productions are Freeman’s pride and promise with highly acclaimed tracks released on powerhouse labels including, Fly Eye Recordings, Black Hole Recordings and Magik Muzik. Aside from label releases, Freeman’s talents have evolved into a brand, landing him among world renowned artists, fashion moguls and corporate leaders as go-to source for music scoring and live sets.
This dashing blue-eyed Brit is popular in the film festival circuit; Freeman has been invited to perform at Cannes, Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals catapulting his name to fashion giants Vogue, Vanity Fair, Prada, Burberry, Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger for whom he now frequently DJs. Following a two year residency at Hakkasan (Las Vegas), Freeman recently joined an acclaimed lineup of residents at sBE’s new LiFE nightclub in Las Vegas. From the clubs to high profile affairs such as Entertainment Tonight’s EMMY awards after-party, Victoria’s Secret “What Is Sexy?” party and Elton John’s post-Oscar party, Freeman’s ability to capture the energy of his crowd and channel their vibes through his music selection shines bright.
How did you become a dj?
Zen Freeman: I first starting attempting to mix audio in my bedroom at thirteen years old. I was hooked!
Do you have any advice for people trying to get into the business?
Zen Freeman: It’s a very competitive line of work. My advice would be to just keep pushing, it may not happen as easy as you think. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It’s about putting the work in and not giving up.
Who are some of your favorite unknown or up and coming musicians?
Zen Freeman: Well today I’ve been listening to indie dance remixes by Oliver Nelson, Darius, Gryffin and Lenno, tropical house by SNBRN and Sam Feldt. I’ve been producing music in the studio this week with a band called Scavenger Hunt. They’re awesome!
On the whole I really like what Oliver Heldens, Tchami & Don Diablo has done for EDM club culture. Their future house sound has really inspired my commercial DJ sets and house music productions.
Who are some of your notable clients?
Zen Freeman: I have very interesting clients, I’ve played private parties for individuals like Microsoft Founder Paul Allen, fashion brands Prada, Burberry & Chanel, and media outlets Vanity Fair & Vogue. I have nightclub residencies around the country. I’m currently playing at Life Nightclub and Foxtail Dayclub in Las Vegas at the new SLS Hotel.
Where were you born? Where did you spend your childhood?
Zen Freeman: I was born in Leicester, England and spent most of my childhood living between there and Brighton before moving to London.
Did you face any major adversity as a child or teen?
Zen Freeman: I feel like I had it pretty good growing up. Always had a lot of friends and sports to fall back on. I was raised by a single mother and we were really poor. But if anything that just made me work harder to get where I wanted to be.
CRITICAL INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS
Where do you see your company in 5 years? Paint the picture for us.
Zen Freeman: Possibly a little less touring nightclubs and more film festivals and socialite events… I’d like to be spending my days producing music as usual but all focusing on more fashion or luxury brand music supervision and film score and sourcing.
Would you do anything differently?
Zen Freeman: Ha. Everything.
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
When did you know you wanted to be a DJ?
I knew from a very early age. Just didn’t pay off until a much later age.
Key traits for a successful entrepreneur?
Trying hard and not being discouraged.
What drives you? Has it changed over time?
I’m very passionate about my work. I also really enjoy what I do. That helps.
What is your personal highlight/proudest moment?
When I got my beautiful wife to marry me.
Advice for those who dream of starting or running their own company:
Make it a reality. Dig deep and don’t give up until you reach your goals.
How did you find your passion for traveling?
From an early age I realized I liked to travel and discover new places. Way before I was able to travel for work. For example, when I was 18 years old all my friends at college went to Ibiza during the summer holidays. My friends were shocked that I chose not to and went back packing around Goa in India instead.
Where are some of your favorite places in the world?
I love traveling and I’ve been to some incredible places in the world and I’m very happy to have figured out how to make my work facilitate my need for travel. I’ve been lucky enough to see some great spots from Australia to the South of France to exploring California. But I really love sun, sea and surf so when I want to shut down and relax I’m gonna head toward a private island in Fiji.
What are you 3 favorite fashion brands?
Chanel, Prada, Burberry 😉
What is your favorite car brand?
What is the art of the automobile? Why do people love cars? What make them special?
Toys for boys I guess. Even my two year old son can’t get enough of cars. Not that only men like cars. Maybe it’s as simple as people like shiny new things. And with recent technology it’s getting easier to travel in style.
If money was no object which cars (up to 3) would you pick as your own and why?
I’m pretty loyal to Audi and I love my A7. But I might upgrade to the S7 or S8. And I could definitely do with a Range Rover with a sports rack as well, to suit my California outdoor lifestyle. I guess if an Aston Martin showed up on my door I wouldn’t say no.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury can simply be something that feels really nice. Something that makes you feel like it’s completely right and you wouldn’t change a thing.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVICE
What are 3 ways to increase your social media following?
Well. One make sure your posts aren’t always about work and have a sense of humor. Two Engage your followers. And three use each platform as if it’s a different channel to connect to your followers.
What is your favorite platform and how do you utilize it?
I like Instagram. I use it in a lot of different ways. Sometimes to promote a show, or share family photos or just to make fun of myself or maybe even just show off a little.
What would you do if you weren’t doing this?
I think I’d be working in fashion or music/talent management.
What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies, sports, outlets?
Surfing, Soccer, Snowboarding, Golf and Tennis. I love it all and try to get out there as often as I can.
What inspires you? Who inspires you? Most influential people in your life?
Inspiration can come from so many things. It can come from a song that I hear. Or a place that I visit. I’d say that I’ve been greatly influenced by so many variation of pop culture and underground things.
Mentors: From whom did you learn? Who deserves partial credit for your success?
I learned a lot from my first tour with x3 grammy nominated and former DJ Magazine #1 DJ/Producer Paul Oakenfold. He also signed my first record. I remember him saying “it’s a business, it’s not just about music, that’s why they call it the Music Business”. That sentence ended up opening up an entirely new world to me. It really impacted me.
What’s next for you? What goals and dreams remain for you?
I want to continue doing all the same things that I love – especially touring and music. I’m trying to mature as an artist and create more chic and sophisticated music. I’d like to further my career as a music producer and venture deeper into the world of fashion shows. I’d also like to focus on scoring films over the next few years. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but was un-able to with such a hectic travel schedule.
Looking back on your career, does the path make sense to you? Do the dots connect?
It’s funny to think how things work out. Looking back it all makes sense. It was sometimes a winding road. But I think every experience leads you to where you’re meant to be.
What is your most memorable experience?
The most memorable experience professionally would probably be when I played an outdoor festival in San Francisco to seventy five thousand people. That was epic. And also when I got my track Switch signed by Calvin Harris and having the worlds biggest DJ/producer A&R the track, and casually bounce emails back and forth.
Follow Zen Freeman: