DJ Havana Brown Australia’s number one female DJ has Mauritian roots
Melbourne’s DJ Havana Brown, aka Angelique Meunier, has many guises. She’s a DJ, celebrity and, yes, an entrepreneur with a brand. Meunier is also the first female club DJ to become a household name in Australia – something attributable to her best-selling Crave compilations and Austereo radio spots. All the more staggering is that she’s still a relative newcomer.
The daughter of Mauritian migrants, Meunier previously sang with the dance group Fishbowl, which saw her briefly move to London. Recently when asked who are your role models and what inspires you about them , her reply was “My mum and dad are my role models. They have taught me so much about life. They came to Australia with practically nothing and have worked extremely hard to be where they are now with their success business. They are so loving and caring and have given my brother and myself an amazing life”
After they split, she fell into DJing. That was in 2005. Now an international player, the vivacious Meunier has just returned from a European expedition. Her last gig? Swanky Saint-Tropez. “It was amazing!” Meunier enthuses. “It’s incredible over there. It’s just a different atmosphere and a different way of handling the clubs. They sell off tables for the night and they have table service with bottles of vodka – like, massive bottles of vodka that come out with sparklers on them. It’s insane.”
Meunier is typically considered an R&B DJ, but the three-CD Crave Volume 4 straddles urban (Pitbull, Rihanna, Jason Derülo) and “commercial dance music” (Steve Aoki, Sidney Samson, Joey Negro). From the start, Meunier dropped house in her R&B sets, London’s club culture traditionally more fluid. “I love my R&B, I grew up with R&B, I understand it and I’m very passionate about it – but I also love house music and dance music. I love incorporating different genres. I love incorporating a little bit of rock in there – anything that’s classic or just fun and just party [and] sexy, I wanna play. So I really don’t think it’s necessary to box me up into just ‘urban’, ‘cause I’m a pop DJ.”
Meunier has wholeheartedly championed the new urban/dance fusion, praising David Guetta, but, for her, the game-changing record was Timbaland’s The Way I Are. “When I heard that song, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is sensational, it’s so good, it’s just gonna open up the world’ – and it did.”
Meunier has secured impressive supports in Australia. She’s played on bills alongside Rihanna and Chris Brown as well as Lady GaGa and The Pussycat Dolls. But her biggest yet was opening for Britney Spears in Europe, then at home, on the Circus tour. Meunier couldn’t fathom that the ‘DJ Havana Brown’ was so prominent on stage. “I was almost in tears.” Spears may have her detractors, but Meunier is full of praise for “an amazing artist”. The starlet was nothing like her media image. “She’s great!” the DJ says. “She lives in her own little bubble, I must admit, but she’s absolutely fantastic. She loves her kids. She was really bubbly backstage. She was playing with her kids constantly, running up and down the corridors with them. It was really nice to see her like that and see her just being a normal mother.”
This year has again been momentous for Meunier, who DJed at Interscope’s Grammies afterparty. She’s spent more time in Los Angeles lately collaborating on music with various producers. “I’m starting off doing remixes – and I’ve done a recent remix of a Jackson 5 hit. But I’m working on original music myself – ‘cause I wanna be able to play my music in a club one day. That’s a massive dream of mine – and it’s been a dream of mine since the very beginning.
Tags: dj, havana brown