IMPACT 0533: TIPS FROM AN AWARD-WINNING DJ
Benedict Teo, 33, is the co-founder of Metamo Industries, a team that develops immersive audio-visual experiences that transcend traditional media capabilities. An award-winning DJ and Artiste Booker formerly known by his retired alias, “Zushan”, Benedict continues his music endeavours through music production and performing under his artiste projects, “Owe Money Pay Money — O$P$” and “Benedict & Palmer”. He is also currently the Music Curator for Ritual Gym.
Despite spending the majority of his career primarily as a DJ, the experiences and connections he gained has allowed him to surpass his early ambitions. Hoping to inspire others, today he shares his life’s key takeaways.
Cultivate an appetite for pressure
The day you start to eat pressure for breakfast, you will be able to conquer everything that stands in your way, old or new. From the fear of standing on stage in front of a crowd size you’ve never seen before, to pitching an idea to multi-million dollar investors, being nervous is natural as we’re all human. So go out there, learn, do and constantly practise things that train you to handle the emotions better.
Don’t be afraid to cut loose
Sometimes the mistakes we keep making over and over again are due to certain elements in your life that require drastic change. Even more so, we ourselves know what we need to do to achieve the life that we want, but fail to take the step forward. It’s very common to procrastinate, as our old comfort zone can be agonising to tear yourself away from, no matter how toxic it may be. But after overcoming adversities countless times already, I always end up asking myself, why do I keep pausing and putting off the things that are undeniably good for me? So the question you should ask yourself is: how much do you want it?
Channel your “dark energy” into beauty
It is no real secret that some of the greatest minds and athletes are able to channel their inner dark energy into beautiful performances. A couple of years ago during a dark period of my own, I was in a position of my career where I couldn’t let myself curl up in a ball and hope for a saving grace. Instead, I forced myself to learn how to turn this dark energy into motivational fuel and fiery passion. This allowed me to grow and diversify from just pure DJing towards a management role, which included curating and booking internationally renowned DJs for club nights and festivals, artist management, and more.
However, that may never be enough. The truth is, we may never forget our dark past. Some of us write journals, while artists create pieces, and just like with music, some of the greatest songs and albums ever written stemmed from some of the darkest moments in the artist’s life. So go and create! Write a song. Write a poem. Draw a piece!
慢慢来, take your time
We can’t be successful at everything. Sometimes the extra things we commit to causes us to spread ourselves too thin. It is okay not to have everything we want. Even if we want to always be learning new skills, we don’t have to master everything. As one of my best friends would always tell me, 慢慢来 (“man man lai”). Slow down. Pick and choose wisely. Learn to manage yourself properly, and this will also help in your management skills towards others.
Humility does not equate to silence
I was raised to be kind and humble, but my fear of saying the wrong thing and offending people resulted in an inability to speak up at a very young age. Back in primary and secondary school, my school report books painted a similar pattern whereby my early years in each stage of education spoke about my “obedience”, yet too much silence in class. After which, trying to be more vocal in class later transformed the feedback on my term end report book into being too talkative.
It was only later on in my life that I decided to step up and find that middle ground. No one ever knows the “right questions” to ask from the very beginning, but we have to start somewhere. As my Jiu Jitsu coaches and teammates would always say, “Whenever in doubt, ask ANY question, even if it is the most stupid question.” Because if we don’t ask questions, we will never know the answers to the questions that keep us from falling asleep every night. So go out there and be vocal, stay humble and ask away.
Be happy for others’ success
On this tiny island, the competition is tight and it makes us feel like we have to fight for our right to own and champion this city. Instead of feeling jealous, be happy for others’ successes and grateful to be able to extract lessons from them and laid-pathways to help catapult yourself forward on your journey. Who knows, that person could one day be a part of your team and more. So reach out to them to share and learn from each other’s experiences.
“GOOD JUICE” MUST SHARE!
Always be willing to share and to groom. One day, there will be someone else who will come into this world and outdo you. Instead of trying to “protect your rice bowl”, share what you’ve learnt, try and collaborate with them, and who knows… the both of you might just help push each other further in your journeys. Your lifelong mission may never come to fruition, but that someone else could either do it for you, pick up where you left off, or refine it further for the next one, and the next one… There is no end game. We will always be students in the game of life till the day we pass.
This article was published on Apr 23, 2022