A mother’s bond with her child is a special one, but it’s made even more so when she fosters her child’s chosen path with her whole heart. One such incredible woman is Alice Ferguson, mother to Hakkasan resident Fergie DJ (a.k.a. Robert Ferguson). The inspiring and supportive mom’s path has taken her from minister to being fully involved with Fergie’s Excentric Muzik recording label, which makes Alice about the raddest mom we’ve ever met.
Back when Fergie was just a young Irish lad, Alice says he hadn’t much interest in the academic aspects of school, and was more often found outside the headmaster’s office than in the classroom. But an interest in music prevailed. “When he was 13, his dad and I decided to take him out of school and encouraged him to develop his more creative skills,” she says. Fergie was soon rocketing up the ranks of the DJ world with his first residency at 14. As Fergie found success, Alice also discovered a new course for herself in the electronic music world.
“I used to—and still work with—young people, and I realized that dance music was a way to engage them,” Alice says. Not only helping them with their reading and writing, she and Fergie developed a nonprofit DJ workshop for youngsters. Bringing in his contacts from Radio 1 and other established DJs to work with the kids, the program had a more positive effect than they could have anticipated.
“Northern Ireland was going toward the peace process at the time, and the music helped bring young people from both sides together,” Alice says. They also brought some of the young DJs with them to play the Excentric Muzik nights in Ibiza and helped one of the kids get a show on Ibiza radio. “So many of those young people are now producers or working in the industry,” says Alice, who continues to put on workshops, include one just for girls. And last year, Alice herself even stepped into the DJ booth in Ibiza, playing a set back-to-back with her son.
“I always felt that the best way to keep up with your children is to be interested in what they’re doing,” Alice says. “When Robert was doing football, we took him everywhere; when he was doing something else, we did that; it’s the same with my other son who’s a kickboxer—going to his shows, helped him do his fitness—so I’ve always been involved with them. I saw that Robert particularly was very creative and was never going to have a 9-to-5 job. When he decided to go into music, it was just a natural thing.”
While some children might resent their parents for always being around, Fergie’s reaction seemed to be quite the opposite. “Robert’s always involved me—even when he just started out, he was never embarrassed at all of me being there for any reason, even when I would get on the dance floor!” she says.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a bit of a roller-coaster ride in a constantly changing scene, but I have to say there’s been a lot of crazy fun,” Alice says. “Like when I went on tour with Robert to India for the Sunburn Festival, and we were driven on a hair-raising journey through the streets of Mumbai at high speed in a tuk-tuk to get to the airport, only to discover the driver had taken us to the wrong airport.
Or when we were in Thailand for the Full Moon Festival, the promoter loaned us a motorbike to get around to the gigs and see the island. In Russia, a taxi driver locked us in the taxi because we wouldn’t pay three times the normal fare back to the hotel, and Robert had to climb out the window to get help. And at Dance Valley in Amsterdam, we were absolutely drenched in torrential rain during the gig!”
As Mother’s Day approaches, does Alice have any advice for other parents seeking a similar close relationship with their offspring? “Support your child in doing something that they love; you can’t beat it—better to be alongside than to not be with them at all,” she says. “I think it’s important that they have someone around them who is 100 percent for them.”
Originally published in Vegas Seven.