In What Works For Me – a series of articles considering how we can find balance in our lives – we talk to celebrities about wellbeing and self-care.
I’d been intending to ask Annie Mac about the future of nightlife, given it’s been decimated by the pandemic. She’s Radio 1’s new music specialist, after all, once Europe’s highest-paid female DJ. I was going to ask how she’s been missing playing to live crowds and what’s that been like for her mental health.
But by the end of a conversation where we’d barely mentioned the in-crisis state of the music industry, we both have to laugh a bit at my planned angle.
Rather than missing live events, the Irish DJ famed for throwing some of the nation’s biggest parties with her Annie Mac Presents brand, has found solace, for the first time, in silence.
“I look back at my pre-lockdown life and I kind of shudder,” Mac says on video call from the rave shed she escapes to in the bottom of her London garden.
It’s a weekday morning in September and she has lost her trademark curls for a much shorter cut. She’s framed by a cartoonish cactus picture and painted footprints and handprints, presumably by her two young children.
“It was this constant scramble to keep everyone happy,” she says. “I was doing everything in my job as well as trying to explore these new avenues: being a podcaster and writing a book, as well as doing my normal workload and being a mum. It was pretty intense.”
Covid-19 forced a reset for Mac (her full surname is Macmanus) after 15 years of relentless sets. “It’s something I’d always dreamed of – what if I just couldn’t do gigs anymore?” she says. “What if they just stopped?”
At its most intense, Mac was DJing three parties in one night, then travelling home bleary-eyed and locking in an...