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Havana Brown - Craving Havana

Author: Matt Unicomb
Monday, November 10, 2008

Australia’s number one female RNB DJ, DJ Havana Brown, has just released her first mix, Crave. 3D’s Matt Unicomb chats.

Many regard DJ Havana Brown as Australia’s number one female DJ. Last week the DJ released her debut compilation, Crave through Universal. Months in the making, the album contains two themed disks, ‘Party’ and ‘Love’ respectively.

After gaining several high profile international support slots, Brown signed to Universal early this year. Work on Crave began not long after inking the deal. “Universal had heard about me, so they met up with my manager and gave her some ideas about what they wanted to do. We told them that I wanted to put out a compilation and wanted to start producing my own music – they loved it.”

Putting together a compilation has been on Brown’s ‘To Do’ list ever since trying her hands at DJing four years ago. Featuring tracks from Rihanna, Timbaland, Lil Wayne, Flo Rida, T-Pain, disk one encompasses the party set that the DJ is inclined to play in her club appearances. “I wanted to keep the popular songs that people love,” Brown explains. “I play these songs to the same faces every week – I know what songs people like to hear. I’ve put all those songs on.”

Unfortunately, like any compilation, Crave was subject to heavy licensing restraints. These restraints played a major role in track selection, the mixing process and, surprisingly, the position of each track in the tracklist. “I gave Universal a list of over 100 songs and was like, ‘If I can get any of these I’ll be happy.’ I was pretty lucky and got a lot of stuff that I was stoked to put on.”

This licensing extends past the permission an artist seeks to enable them to use a track for their project. Rules apply, especially in hip hop/RNB, to how an artist uses a track. “You can’t do whatever you want for the song,” Brown explains. “You can’t mash it up with another instrumental, sometimes you can only mix five seconds, sometimes you can only mix for 10. Ne-Yo was one artist – he wanted his song in the top five in the tracklist. They give you all these instructions for what you can and can’t do. It’s a bit of a shame, but that’s the way it is.”

In the weeks surrounding Crave’s release, Brown has an extensive touring and support schedule. Completing supports of the triple sell-out Chris Brown & Rihanna shows last week, she is set for a national tour in support of Crave. Fans can expect a full album showcase, with all the major tracks destined for high rotation.

As for some original DJ Havana Brown material, punters will have to wait until the next instalment of Crave drops. “I’ve started producing, so it’s just a matter of time till I have my first track finished. I’d really love to have one on the next mix, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

WHO: DJ Havana Brown
WHAT: Crave through Universal
WHEN: Out now