The story of how a video of Canberra's DJ Sue Freeman went viral, attracting the attention of people around the world, is a very Canberra one.
The 63-year-old was playing a set outside the Dickson library on Saturday, April 17 for the City Renewal Authority when Landspeed Records owner Blake Budak and his partner Abi Barry stopped to listen as they got some groceries from Woolies on the way to the coast.
Abi took out her phone to film DJ Sue just as her set veered from Yeah by Usher to California Love by 2Pac, her video capturing the granny-to-be mouthing gangsta rap in a moment of pure joy.
Abi posted the video to the Landspeed Clothing Instagram account and the couple headed off to the coast. By the time they stopped for a break in Braidwood, Australian meme producer Brown Cardigan was on the phone asking if it could post the video.
They agreed and the video went off like a rocket, picked up across the world and shared by the likes of former NBA player and "King of Twitter" Rex Chapman, whose retweet, alone, has been viewed close to 1 million times. Mainstream media also leapt on it, including the Today show.
Blake, from Landspeed Records, said the original video they posted had been viewed more than 470,000 times and liked or shared 129,000 times. Brown Cardigan's Instagram post of the video has had more than 620,000 views - and counting.
Blake said he was even approached by an agency in the United States asking to pitch the video to media for a commission. He declined. The experience has made him realise how randomly something can go viral and how impossible it would be to recreate the moment.
"I think what a lot of the media have missed is the fact she was mouthing a 2Pac song. I think if it had been anything else it might not have gone off the way it did," Blake said.
"But it is definitely very cool for her."
The Canberra Timesfirst profiled DJ Sue back in 2018.
Always popular, she was astounded by the reaction to the video. The first hint she had of how far it had reached was when she was having a drink with friends at the Vikings Club in Erindale the day after her set, and someone from the United States messaged her telling her how much she loved California Love.
"It's blown me away, I can't really understand what's going on," she said.
"It amazes me how fast something can travel and how many people can get hold of the information.
"Apart from that. I've been really enjoying it and trying to manage all the booking enquiries myself. I've had enquiries for bookings from Perth and South Australia, Darwin, Melbourne and Brisbane." Melbourne radio station KIIS 101.1 has already booked her for a gig.
The former book-keeper from Calwell is awaiting the birth of her first grandchild as well as dealing with worldwide fame. She was glad to help spread some joy with the video.
"The thing Iiked most about it was they were all really lovely comments, it was really positive and that's what made me feel really comfortable about it. It was so funny," she said.
Sue has been DJing for 11 years, learning the skill after attending one too many weddings where the DJ wouldn't playing requests or, in one case, sat on their phone all night.
"It brings me so much happiness," she said.
"When I first started at the Dickson shops, I was worried what it would be like but people are getting to know me and some sit there for the whole two hours and enjoy the music and some get up and dance. It's just a really feelgood atmosphere. I really love being there."
The coronavirus pandemic was a difficult time, with venues not open for DJ-ing and her job in the cruising industry lost.
She is forever grateful to Proactive Air Conditioning in Fyshwick who gave her a part-time day job, which she has continued. "They've been really wonderful t me," she said.
And the DJing is busier than ever.
"I've got the best life," Sue said, with a laugh.
- DJ Sue will be playing at the Dickson shops on Saturday from 11am to 1pm and on Saturday at The Clubhouse Kaleen.
- Bookings for DJ Sue at https://runarounddjs.com.au/
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