British DJ superstar Laura Jones talks exclusively to the Eyecononmist about launching her own record label and why hearing is more important that seeing when it comes to her craft.

‘As cheesy as it sounds, seeing Stevie Wonder perform at Glastonbury was probably a turning point,’ Laura Jones says of the moment she decided to turn her full attention to her music career. The Leeds based music producer, DJ, and record label CEO had until then been working in marketing (her DJ work was only a hobby) but when she was diagnosed with macular degeneration – an incurable condition which causes blindness – she decided to take the plunge and follow her true dreams.

‘I was stood on the hill watching Stevie and thinking “God, if you can do this and never being able to see your whole life, then I can certainly give it a good go”,’ she recalls.

Since then, Laura has made a name for herself dropping beats from DJ booths all over the world and playing to packed out crowds at major music festivals like Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, and tours in Croatia, Ibiza, and Brazil. She also recently launched her own record label so she can fully take charge of her career.

‘It’s a labour of love. Record labels these days aren’t necessarily money making exercises,’ she laughs.

After her diagnosis nine year ago aged 25, Laura has also become something of an expert when it comes to sunglasses. Her condition is worsened by UV light, leading her to track down the best eyeglasses to protect her vision.

‘I didn’t get much help from the medical industry so I had to just go out and speak to lots of opticians and dig around and see what I could find,’ she recalls.

‘The strongest ones I found at the time – and ones I still use – were Adidas sport wraparound sunglasses that were made for people who ski and do sports.’

“For a while I was sort of relying too much on trying to see”

Laura now has a collection that could rival that of Elton John with designs from Tom Ford, Versace, and Karen Walker. Recent trends in sunglasses – featuring thick side panels – have also helped protect her eyes. While the designer of a brand called Pared used to make ‘the most amazing sunglasses ever. She designed for a brand called Ksubi and the Marfik design had a metal side shield that didn’t let any light in. She’s based in Bali now – but would it be strange to ask her to recreate her old design?’

With a busy summer schedule, Laura says she learned fast not to let her condition affect her work.

‘For a while I was sort of relying too much on trying to see,’ she says. ‘The problem for a DJ – even when all 5 senses are working fine – is that you’re doing it at the expense of listening. That’s been quite a transition I found myself going through. The most important thing when DJ-ing is that you listen to what you’re playing and how it sounds in your headphones or on the floor.’

Follow Laura’s journey on Instagram

Interview by Seamus Duff