(Original Photo By: Anthony Ghnassia)
If someone were to ask you to define the word “family”, what would you say? Who or what would you think about and include as part of your family? What if we all have a different definition? For instance, you may just consider your parents, siblings and grandparents, while someone else includes their best friends and even people who support them (fans for example). There are times when we lose our definition of family because our parents get divorced or a best friend betrays us. Family can be a scary concept, but it is an important one. Just ask 27-year-old DJ, producer, and singer, Quentin Mosimann.
From before Quentin was born, his parents argued. And argued. And argued…until one day they couldn’t take it anymore and they decided to split up. Quentin was just a toddler, but he wasn’t too young to feel the trauma from the separation. His father stayed in Switzerland (where Quentin was born) while his mother moved back home to France and took their two children. He felt abandoned by his father and feared that he would never be loved. He would tell peers these made up stories about what he and his dad did on the weekends, but he never actually saw his dad. He was missing a father figure. Quentin felt like the only one around who didn’t have parents who loved each other; he lost the meaning of family. So what do we do when we feel lost? We find an escape. Fortunately for Quentin, he resorted to something positive – music. He picked up the drums at the young age of four and then later turned to the piano. He found it difficult to pay attention in school because he didn’t see the point in going and was too focused on music. He was a charismatic leader who always wanted to be in the spotlight, but somehow he still felt very alone.
His mother laid her life down for Quentin and his older sister Jennifer and did everything she could to provide for them, but doing it alone wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. She suffered from severe depression and was eventually admitted into a psychiatric hospital. During this time, Quentin lived in a foster home. It only lasted a few months though because his mother was determined to recover. Shortly after her release, Quentin’s father went to court to try and gain custody of their kids. He didn’t think that their mother could handle taking care of Quentin and Jennifer anymore. This custody battle was by far the most traumatic experience Quentin has ever endured. Even though he loved his father, he was so used to living with his mother and didn’t want to leave her behind. His father gained custody of his sister, but after two years of fighting…it finally ended and Quentin’s mother regained custody of Quentin. Despite the fighting and trauma, he learned to forgive his father. It took some time, but they can finally say they have a close relationship and always cherish their limited time together.
From a young age Quentin had a lot of ambitious dreams. His mother recognized that and couldn’t help but to support him on this journey. For instance, she entered him into a singing contest behind his back when he was very young. He won. In his teenage years, she enabled him to go to the clubs to see famous DJs spin. This is how he met one of his mentors – John Revox (a local celebrity in France who plays live percussion during DJ sets) at the age of 17. He told John that he was the President of a not-for-profit and wanted him to perform at an event. Of course, he threw in the fact that he could sing too. So John asked him to sing on the spot and he was amazed. He grew fond of Quentin and soon they became close friends. They then collaborated on a song with Christian Sims entitled “Sex is My Vocation”. At the time, Quentin went under the name John Louly, but the three of them went on tour together as “Hot Vocation”.(Photo By: Anthony Ghnassia)
In 2007, he DJed in a small room at Pacha Ibiza with Christian Sims. One of the representatives from Star Academy, the American Idol equivalent in France, noticed him because he sang while he DJed. They offered to have him on the show, but he denied. In France, this reality TV show is seen more as a gimmick than a legitimate way to discover new talent and Quentin did not want to be a part of that. However, after remembering how much his mom had sacrificed for him, he changed his mind and chose to do it for her. And he won. So what did Quentin do with his earnings? He immediately wrote his mother a check and paid her debts. Even though his mother was grateful, his relatives and even close friends were not. They tried to tell him how to live his life, but they just didn’t understand. Unless he threw everything away, Quentin would never live a normal life again. He decided to focus full-time on his career and unfortunately left several of his best friends behind in the process.
As with all celebrities, rumors began to spread like wildfire. The media publicly questioned his sexuality and tried to convince people that he was gay. A lot of people didn’t respect him as a musician (both as a DJ and singer) because he had won a reality TV show. He hated it and didn’t understand why people cared to talk about him so much. While performing on stage for a sold out crowd at the Olympia in Paris, Quentin realized that he was not created to sing…he was born to DJ. So after that night he decided to say goodbye to singing and reincarnate his DJing career. He says, “I didn’t want to lie anymore about what I really wanted to do. When I was going on stage, it was the same show, the same fans in the first row, the same people who knew and sang my lyrics. I really wanted to surprise people…to do something different…to feel this power of electronic music where everything is possible. Everything can change in seconds.” A lot of people were not happy with this decision including some of the members on his team. The French now thought he was even more of a loser and a joke. Even though it was difficult, Quentin knew it’s what he needed to do. It was at this moment he realized that he was done doing things to please other people…and focused on doing what he loves instead.
I definitely don’t think he has any reason to regret this decision. He has had an astronomical DJing career ever since. For instance, he appeared as a judge on The Voice Belgium in 2011 and 2012, has been ranked in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs for three consecutive years (2012-2014), released an official remix for David Guetta, then Bob Sinclair, and formed his own label called “Change Your Mind Records” with his agent, whose tracks often appear in the Beatport charts. In addition, he will play Tommorrowland in Belgium this year.
Even though the numbers and recognition are essential, it’s even more important to note that Quentin is successful because he is finally happy and fulfilled. Many now love the boy who grew up fearing that no one would love him. His family has now grown worldwide and considers his millions of fans to be a part of his family. He still doesn’t like to disclose his private life, but at least he doesn’t have to hide anymore. When he was young, he promised his mother that one day he would buy her two dogs and a house with a pool…he has kept his word. He is still able to incorporate a live element into his shows – singing, playing the synthesizer, performing solo drums set, and he has created the concept of “flying turntables” (rise 8m high and bow 80° forward). Lastly, he is able to unite everyone from all different backgrounds and create an environment that is free from judgment.(Photo By: Anthony Ghnassia)