At 61, Calwell mum and DJ Sue Freeman is living the dream

31 August 2018
Written By Bree Winchester

Sue Freeman readily admits that when people walk into a wedding reception and see she's the DJ, their faces drop.

"Honestly, when they come into the room, especially a wedding, I can see them thinking, 'Oh my gosh, is that the DJ?'," she says.

It blows me away to be honest, when I'm out there. I have so much fun," says DJ

"They see an old lady and just think, 'This is gonna be crap'."

But within a matter of hours 61-year-old Sue has them on their feet dancing to a string of party staples that includes Wham's Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go) and Dr Alban's Sing Hallelujah.

Each Saturday night, and some weeknights, the former bookkeeper is playing at venues across Canberra - and she literally has crowded dance floors in the palm of her hand.

From Club Retro night at The Dickson Tradies to same sex weddings in the cavernous Albert Hall, Sue's in demand on the decks in a way she never imagined possible.

She even has serious groupies; the ACT Disco Group of about 40 members follows her wherever she goes. And in return she plays their favourite songs - Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry and Funky Town by Pseudo Echo.

"I really love people, I'm a real people person, I'm at home during the week caring for my 95-year-old mum so when I go out I just enjoy meeting people," Sue says.

Sue is living proof that a career change in your mid-50s is not only achievable, it's a must.

It was a couple of "bad experiences" at weddings - including one where the female DJ wouldn't play any requests and another where "the young boy just sat on his phone the whole time" - that made Sue consider a career in the music industry.

She drove up the Hume Highway with then 14-year-old son Ryan to a attend a DJ course in Sydney - "we learnt the basics, like how to use the turntables" - and launched Run Around DJs soon after. (Runaround Sue, get it?)

But if you think her playlists are all about The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Elvis, think again. She grew up clubbing in central Sydney in the late 70s and early 80s; all teased hair, shoulder pads and pointed heels, dancing to a soundtrack dominated by Michael Jackson, Abba and Le Freak by Chic. Ariana Grande is one of her current faves, and she's a sucker for Dua Lipa and Calvin Harris.

"A lot of people look at me and they're inspired, because they don't think that somebody like me would be a DJ," Sue says.

"You just get out there and have a go at anything in life - if you do something you love, that's what life is all about and I think my enthusiasm rubs off on other people.

"They're having fun and I'm having fun and it's just the best."

This article was written by Bree Winchester and published in The Canberra Times.