Apr 20, 2021

Video goes viral: Meet the 63-year-old DJ shaking up Canberra!

Image: Supplied

A 63-year-old DJ has become an internet sensation after a video of her playing outside a Canberra library went viral.

Now Sue Freeman, or ‘Runaround Sue’ as she is known in her DJing business – after the classic song by Dion & The Belmonts – is fielding calls from media around the country, and the video of her playing outside Dickson Library has been viewed nearly 1 million times on Twitter.

“It’s a bit overwhelming because it’s all happened so fast,” Sue told HelloCare when we spoke.

But her ‘overnight success’ has been a decade in the making.

Ten years ago, Sue was working as a bookkeeper in Canberra when she noticed a “grumpy” DJ at a wedding she attended. The woman, who Sue noted was in her 40s, wasn’t helping when people requested songs, and Sue thought to herself, “I could do that job – and it looks like fun.”

As history would have it, the next event Sue attended also had an unsatisfactory DJ – this time a young man who again messed up requests.

Sue raised the subject with her son, who was 13 at the time, and began doing some research into courses where you could learn to DJ. She found a half-day course in Sydney, luckily the location of an upcoming family christening.

Sue enrolled, and she and her son completed the course, each in a separate booth.

“We had our own booths, so it wasn’t too embarrassing for him,” Sue admitted to HelloCare.

Learning curve

Sue has had much to learn along the way. First, there was the technology, which she eventually got the hang of with the help of her son, and there was also the music.

Sue has learned a lot of the popular request songs, and is proud to report she can fulfil most requests now. That was always her aim: to play the music that people want to hear, and to see them dancing and having fun.

Though the equipment is heavy, Sue is not shy in asking for help carrying it, and once she is set up and playing, “I have a ball,” she says.

“I love seeing people happy and dancing and having a good time. I love fulfilling requests and seeing people feel good. That’s why I started in the first place.”

13 years a carer

Sue’s mother passed away 2.5 years ago, the day she was due to move into a nursing home. 

“In the end, it really was so hard,” Sue told HelloCare, but she knew it was the best thing for her to be cared for at home for as long as possible.

Sue was able to keep up the DJing work throughout, and it provided both an income and an opportunity to have some fun.

Plans interrupted

Like everyone, Sue’s life was disrupted by COIVD-19. Her main job with a cruise company – a role she described as a ‘dream’ – came to an end. And of course all events requiring DJs were cancelled.

But life is beginning to return to normal now. 

She has some advice for older people considering their future: “In life, if you feel there’s something you’d like to do, you’ve got to follow your heart and go with it.”

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