Some time ago on-screen character and model Jeanné Kietzmann was best known for two things, her FHM shoot and being SA quick bowler Dale Steyn’s better half. In spite of the way that she had strong parts in two TV arrangement, the worldwide, Outcasts and the neighborhood soccer show League of Glory, most media at the time references her in connection to her quick bowling friend with her carrer an unmistakable second.
Following their breakup in late 2013, however, Kietzmann took the opportunity to move to LA on a working Visa to expand her acting and modelling careers, little realising that she would ultimately find her feet DJing in nightclubs across America.
“I had an O-1 working Visa to America when my ex and I broke up. We had been together for six years so the timing was perfect for me to try and rediscover who I was as a person, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity,” she says, explaining that while the move had been one made with eyes full of stars, it didn’t turn out to be ideal.
“It was an unsettling time as I was at an age where I was still all over the place in my career. I was feeling lost. The music and entertainment industries are pretty scary because you are always at the mercy of others in terms of where you can go,” she says before admitting that first year was less than ideal. “I didn’t know many people, was missing home tremendously, and with the time difference was unable to speak to my mom whenever I needed to. In just the second weekend there I was in a car accident. I kept second guessing my decision to leave Cape Town.”
Crucially though she stuck it out, and five years later says she is now feeling settled. The difficulties of the previous years are clearly reflected in her IMDB resume, however, which shows a clear gap between 2011’s Outcasts and 2016’s short film Solstice. Since then she has been in two more films Muse, and Regionrat, but crucially also discovered the thing she now considers her career.
“Last year, I did an electronic music producer program and really fell in love with it. I have always toyed with music and used to play in a garage band, making small little instrumental music pieces here and there, but going to school for it really took it to the next level,” she says.
Things have quickly developed from there. Going by the name DJ – Kietzn she has become hot property, performing in a number of America’s hottest venues from Sky Bar at the Mondrian, to the Waldorf Astoria, Ysabel, Estrella, MA Lounge, and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“As a DJ it is imperative to produce original music especially if you want to place yourself in the industry as an artist and make a career for yourself. It takes years to master and get the hang of it so I still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do,” she admits. “Understanding the production side however really changed how I saw and heard music, which essentially changed the way I DJ. It’s not just about mixing one track into the other, it’s about creating a body of music comprising of various different pieces of music which takes your audience on a journey.”
Despite the American success, her favourite gig to date was one she did south of the border in Mexico.
“I love spending time in Mexico, such a great country. So rich in culture and of course the amazing food and tequila. One of my most satisfying gigs was at a venue called ‘The Royal’ in Puerta de Hierro. It was the second time playing in Mexico, and I loved the venue, it was such a fun crowd, but the best part was being able to share it with my best friends Ashleigh and Vlada who out with me. It was an adventure … There was something really special experiencing the night with them. It was also the first time Ashleigh got to see me DJ.”
Despite the fact that she now considers LA home, Kietzmann always makes a plan to return to SA as often as she can.
“I always aim to be home in Cape Town to spend Christmas with my family, mainly cause if I miss one more family holiday my mom will probably disown me. My next trip will hopefully be for December and January,” she says adding, “A dream and goal is to have a few gigs lined up in advance and be able to DJ on home soil”.
Before then though she aims to pick up a few more music classes, and critically finish and release her first EP.
“I have some travel lined up in Europe this summer, but otherwise will be staying in the zone – creating meaningful art and spending time creating mixtapes for my soundcloud. Closer to my SA trip I will release my gig list,” she says.