When stunning business graduate Sarah Burge landed her first DJ gig at the world’s biggest party island, her mum finally accepted she had a “proper job”.
Under the stage name Sarah Louise she is now among some of the UK’s top DJs, playing in Ibiza to the likes of Dannii Minogue, Vernon Kay and Steven Gerrard.
After making a name for herself on the South Wales club scene, the ambitious deck spinner now plays in clubs across the world – from Vegas to Johannesburg.
Landing a residency with record label and events organiser Hed Kandi five years ago was a high point in her career, moving her life up a gear to a jetset existence playing at sun-drenched beaches across the globe.
“When I get the call from Hed Kandi saying they want me to go somewhere exotic it’s always quite exciting,” she said.
“The only places where they don’t do parties – because they tend to be franchised out – are America and Australia.
“I get to go everywhere else in the world. There are places that I’ve never heard of until I’ve been to play there. It’s an amazing lifestyle to be at the centre of an amazing party where everyone is there because they want to enjoy themselves.”
Sarah is part of Hed Kandi’s Once Upon A Time in Ibiza party theme and is taking centre stage over the summer at one of the island’s top clubs, Es Paradis. She said she secured the work five years ago through passion and determination.
“I said to my husband, who is also a DJ (Daron Porbert), that I wanted to take it to the next level,” she said.
“I didn’t quite realise how big Hed Kandi was at that point. But I thought ‘I’m going to set my sights on the biggest bang going’.”
She did it the old-fashioned way, sending demo CDs to the office and any time there was a Hed Kandi party in Cardiff she’d chase after whoever was there to give them a demo.
The CDs were listened to and she got the call.
Before that Sarah was playing in clubs across Cardiff including as resident in Tiger Tiger for almost eight years.
But while her status as an international DJ means she’s worshiped by party-goers, the 31-year-old from Cardiff said it’s not all glitter and glamour.
“I love what I do and wouldn’t change it but there are downside to it and it’s usually a lack of sleep or a hangover,” she said.
“As DJs go I’m pretty tame really. I tend to be the wing man. The sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll stories tend to be by other people. Sometimes the DJs have a drink or two to get into the spirit of things and sometimes the DJs are hands-down the most drunk people there. There have been some epic parties when you’ve possibly drunk too much and led the party astray.”
Sarah said she often gets caught up in a “sexy” atmosphere.
“I like to play to the girls so they feel completely at ease and the boys just enjoy looking at beautiful girls. It’s a no-brainer,” she said.
But despite Ibiza’s reputation for sex, drink and drugs, Sarah said it’s no more hedonistic than Cardiff.
“I don’t think things are as bad as they were five years ago. It’s not like you see people being sick everywhere,” she said.
“I think I could walk around Cardiff and see more problems like that.
“Most people are just getting high on the music – it’s not necessarily about drink or drugs.”
But though the DJ can count the cast of Towie and Eastenders among those she has played to, she is most proud to have impressed her mum and dad.
“I got a business degree and mum kept asking when I was going to get a proper job,” she said.
“It was only when I landed the Hed Kandi work and started jetting across the globe, that she realised this was my proper job.
“Now they’re totally proud of me and can’t wait to hear all my stories when I come home.”