LA-Based HoneyLuv Takes House Music By Storm
It could take years, sometimes a lifetime, for a person to find their true calling. But then there are times where, for lack of better words, the stars align and destiny is revealed. And from the moment up-and-coming DJ named Taylor Character, also known as HoneyLuv, moved to LA before the pandemic, she knew her destiny was soon to unfold.
Now, Character is wanted by countless festivals and labels, booking slots for like Okeechobee, Beyond Wonderland, and recently, Coachella. She turned heads with her popular hit, “F R E E,” and other with dozens of other electric tracks like “Pain” and her most recent, “Your Tongue,” Character is set to take the world by storm.
It wasn’t only fate that got Honeyluv to the top; she works hard in everything she does. How else could one so spectacularly transition from NCAA basketball to the US Navy, to badass DJ who just booked her first set at Coachella?
“I was just very determined,” she says. “When I find something new, I just hone in on it and I try to be the best I can be at it. I was like that with basketball, too.”
But by the time she got to the NCAA, Character’s heart was no longer in the game. She dropped out after her first year playing and joined the Navy to gain military experience so she could later join the CIA. After boot camp, she was assigned to work in Oxnard, California, just 45 minutes away from LA.
“I always wanted to go to LA and I was the only one out of my boot camp graduating class who got those orders, too. Something told me something was going to happen. I didn’t know what it was, but I just had a feeling, like it was meant to be.”—Honeyluv
Funny enough, HoneyLuv still was not convinced about pursuing music, despite how many compliments she got every time friends handed her the aux chord, both a great power and responsibility.
She even got into acting and worked behind the scenes with “Insecure” creator Issa Rae before her friends convinced her to shoot her shot. Eventually, she (finally) bought her first mixer. A week later, she was ready to play.
“I’d go back into my barracks and just practice to make sure I was comfortable by the time I went out to play at parties. I started with mostly hip-hop and RnB parties, but I really wanted to DJ house music.”
Then hit the COVID-19 pandemic, but HoneyLuv wasn’t going to let a worldwide quarantine stop her. She persisted, streaming sets on Twitch and capturing the attention of established labels and DJs like Insomniac, Seth Troxler, and even LP Giobbi, who invited HoneyLuv to play on FEMME HOUSE Radio and featured “Your Tongue” in the FEMME HOUSE compilation.
While the world was at a standstill, HoneyLuv made it move.
“It [streaming] honestly helped me discover myself,” she says. “I grew up on old school R&B, hip-hop, ’80s, and house music, so I’m not trying to play stuff that’s ‘cool.’ I’m not trying to play stuff that everyone’s used to listening to. I’m playing stuff I grew up with or stuff I truly like.”
From fun and provocative hits like “My Neck My Back,” by Saweetie, to the bubbly tracks by Peggy Gou, back to the old-school soul from “Tony! Toni! Toné!,” who knows what will play next with HoneyLuv on the decks, and that makes her shows even more exhilarating. Her sets are a cluster of up-beat, “twerkulating” hits mixed with wholesome nostalgia.
“He [my dad] has this purple Mustang and I can remember when I was about three years old, he was driving down the street to take me to my babysitter,” she recalled. “It was in the summertime in Cleavland, and he was playing Tony! Toni! Toné! It’s crazy that I remember that.”
HoneyLuv emphasized how much her past shaped her into the vibrant DJ she is today, but that doesn’t mean she’s neglecting the new wave of upcoming artists paving their way to recognition. If anything, she wants to hear more from artists like A Hundred Drums and other Black artists who want to explore drum and bass and alternative genres.
When asked what advice she had for upcoming artists (or anyone, really) struggling with finding their authenticity, HoneyLuv had one answer.
“Not apologizing for being myself. I don’t try to change anything around certain people or places. I just try to be true, and not changing to be what people want me to be is really hard, especially nowadays. But just be you. That will get you way further than being something you’re not.”
With the world at her feet, HoneyLuv’s musical journey is just beginning and it should be a hell of a ride.
“Anything is possible, so don’t expect a certain sound. Be open to everything. That’s how I’ve been all my life. Just be open.”—Honeyluv