(Original Photo By: Venture Photography)
Whether you are a world famous DJ, a college student, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or their personal assistant, we most likely share one thing in common – struggling with time management in our day-to-day lives. As a writer who has to meet deadlines, I can attest to that. However, as much as we think we might have on our plates, there are those who thrive while juggling multiple tasks. If you want to talk about a tough juggling act, how about trying to balance between a burgeoning DJ career and going to med school? That’s what Kishan Bodalia, aka Bodalia is doing. The med student at University of Birmingham is also currently working on a remix for Sony, heads his own record label, and has even played at Tomorrowland. Not too shabby for studying full-time as well.
“I started playing piano when I was seven or eight years old. I played it for a few years, my dad always played jazz music and my uncle played the saxophone, so one of my goals was to play the saxophone. I was too small to play it, though so I had to play the clarinet instead. I continued to play the clarinet in bands. Then in my teenage years, I saw my first home studio production setup at a friend’s house and straightaway I wanted to learn music production. I bought a keyboard and the right software. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I figured why not give it a go. I bought myself a low-budget controller as well so I could practice DJing. I did that for a couple of years, but just on weekends or whenever I had free time, continued playing saxophone and then I went to University. That’s when I started going to clubs, seeing DJs, and then in my second year of University I reignited my passion for dance music.”
Initially, Kishan’s passion wasn’t as an artist, though…he was involved in the creation of the world’s first student-led record label, New Street Records. The label is where Kishan’s altruistic side really shines through. The main purpose of the label is to provide a stepping stone for not only up-and-coming DJs, but the record label’s staff as well. This originally took up most of Kishan’s time when he first arrived at University. However, now he’s more behind-the-scenes. Nonetheless, his imprint is all over this.
“A few friends and I set up this record label called New Street Records. It was supposed to be the world’s first student-led record label, with the goal to develop the skills of the students within the team, also to provide artists with a springboard. So my role wasn’t as an artist, I was more the head of marketing. My first goal was to get some press coverage because nobody knew who we were. I got our first signed artist onto BBC Radio locally, here in Midlands, which was a huge thing for me at the time. He got on TV in the Midlands as well.
Even if I’ve not made it myself, I think it’s always possible to help people. That’s the purpose…to give the artists a springboard and develop the skills of the team…a career springboard for everyone involved. As director two years ago, my goal was to help other people from the team get opportunities. It was such that my co-Director and I received an award from the Prime Minister. We’ve probably built a team of about 80 students. One of the best things about having this team is if you help one person, if you ever need help in the future, they’ll help you as well.”
When you’re a student it’s really tough to find a happy medium between work and academics, especially like in Kishan’s case, when you find work opportunities that are really unique and special. However, he knew that he could find a way to achieve his goals, although it would be at the expense of some social time. This is where his uncanny time management skills come into play. Kishan actually bought a journal where he itemized his goals and priorities. It’s like analytics for life, and he figured out the best way to devote his time and energy to best suit his goals. As he suggests, we should all get a journal and write down our goals.
“It’s a challenging time right now. Initially it was just the record label, a little bit of DJing, and then medicine. I could just about manage to do that without having a social life and not getting to exercise, because there’s only so many things you can fit into the day. The first thing is I had to realize if I wanted to do all these things, I had to make some cuts, some sacrifices. I knew it was more short-term. I told my friend group I would reduce the socializing to put more of that time towards this. The other thing was that I would try to be as efficient as possible when working. In medicine the volume is so vast. I’d finish a 9-5 day at University, and instead of going straight home to eat and watch TV, I’d go straight to the library and do 3 1/2 hours of work to make sure I was up to date. Time management is key.
I bought this journal as soon as I started the record label. I basically wrote my priorities down – work, health, music, and social life, and I ranked everything from 1-10. But I didn’t just do it for one point in time, I also separated my following three to four months into phases and how those elements would change. I guess it was more of a visual aid to maintain priorities and balance. I also created a timeline. This was more for my mixes when I started DJing. It basically stated what I wanted to achieve and how I’d get there, and breaking everything into achievable goals. That’s how I’ve operated.”
It may seem like minutiae, but itemizing your goals is a great way to achieve them. The overarching goal of becoming a famous DJ is abstract and difficult, but winning a DJ contest or having a mix featured is a much more measurable goal. While Kishan has a clear vision of what he wants to do musically, he recognizes that his education is key, and success in music is a far more fickle beast. Since he has also already devoted a good amount of time toward his studies, he believes it would be foolish to abandon it, as music will always be there. At Tomorrowland he even received some sound advice…finish that degree.
“The biggest struggle is time. My main challenge is learning how to balance everything. The second one is how important is music to me, how important is medicine to me? In terms of priorities, that’s my dilemma. As much as I love music, I recognize it is difficult to make a successful career out of it unless you’re one of the few people who make it very big and sustain that. I’ve already put a lot of time into my degree so it would be foolish not to finish that. It would give me more stability. I’m not looking for a quick solution; I’m thinking more long-term.
I met Tigerlily at Tomorrowland and her biggest piece of advice to me was to finish my degree. I was quite shocked by that. I thought someone who had made it big would say follow your dreams, but yeah, I think sustainability is a major goal for me.”
Kishan has worked very hard and has put himself in a wonderful position. He’s going to have a great career whether it is in medicine or in music. And that’s one of the great things about music, and electronic music especially, is that the door is open to anyone to try and make an impact. Even if he never plays another gig in his life, performing at Tomorrowland is such a huge milestone. Go out and chase your dreams. If you feel there’s not enough time, find a way to make some. While time is finite, we must make the most of it, that’s what Kishan is doing.
“I went to Creamfields with one of my best friends in Summer 2015. I asked him, “Do you think I could play at Creamfields next year?” He said, “Yes, I think if you put your mind to it you can.” That really inspired me. I haven’t played at Creamfields, but I have played at Tomorrowland. If my friends didn’t support what I was doing, come to my gigs, I’d be playing to strangers. What I love to see at festivals is my friends…that’s a really good feeling when your friends are on your side.”