We are here to live, love, and be creative. With these three concepts you will be able to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Creativity is a way to tap into your inner self and express ideas that can inspire you and those that are connected and influenced by those ideas.
Music and DJing is the art of being creative. The year of 1998, when I was seeking and forging my way through life, I started asking myself what is the purpose of my being? I was feeling ordinary by going to work Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm with two weeks off.
And although I was working in my chosen profession which was radio broadcasting at the time, I was not able to rise above the grim reality that there must be more to life then just going to work everyday.
Then, a dear friend suggested that I start teaching DJ lessons. I was encourage by the suggestion yet challenged because of the task ahead of me. I said to myself, wow, I can teach someone the gift of spinning music? I could inspire someone to learn with this vinyl and CD library that I have amassed over the years?
The exciting part for me was sharing my experience, music, and passion for DJ culture. The challenge was sharing my experience, music and passion with others. The task ahead meant, I had to sit myself down and create. I would have to create a course of instruction. I would have to think and write something down on paper. Again, I was wowed by the idea of teaching and fearful to move forward.
18 months after the conversation I had with my companion, the creativity hit me and the fear and challenge was put to the side and the pen, paper and I begin to talk. The creative thoughts flowed through me just as a salmon swimming up stream.
I locked myself in my studio for weeks, writing down every ounce of experience that I knew about being a DJ. And if I could not put my own ideas and experience into an intelligible sentence, I started asking questions from those that expressed passion for the DJ profession or have been spinning music as long as I have.
I read physics text books and learned about relative motion and how it relates to turntables and DJ equipment. I would thoroughly read each instruction booklet that was accompanied with DJ equipment. I even took the time to read music theory books and going to live music shows to study musicians and bands.
The knowledge that I knew and learned surprised me; I never assumed I knew much until the creative streak struck me.
Today, I have taught hundreds of children, youths, young adults, and adults the art of DJ culture in my home music studio and community centers and schools throughout northern California. The source of these great opporunties was fueled by my own personal creativity. I never considered myself to be a creative person until I begin the journey of teaching others.
Being creative is a powerful force that cannot be under estimated or toyed with. When in doubt about your life’s direction, just take a look around you. Everything that we have as a people, as a society, was forged by creativity…nothing into something.
Challenge yourself. Be the creative being that you are.
Spinning outside on the streets of San Francisco provides me the distinct opportunity to create a weekly house music mix coined “The San Francisco Street Inspired House Mix” which airs on KPOO 89.5FM or KPOO.COM: Wednesdays 12midnight to 3:00am.
As the leaves were falling during the autumn season of 2011, I mixed over 16 live sessions on the Embarcadero and Valencia Street in the Mission.
Vulnerability is one of the key engines that drive me to create music mixes on the street because I have no idea what can happen next. The SFPD rides by and as they give me a slight glance as they take on matters of great urgency. What I do know is programming music as transits are making there way allows me to connect with the people, humanity.
The feelings that I am tossing around while I a selecting songs are wildly incredible. I shake. I tremble. I think.
I encourage you to plant yourself on a street corner and create and express yourself for the greater good of your community. Sharing my passion for music with the general public is a great way of being part of something bigger then I.
Share your passion with your world and you will realize how generous, loving and engaging people can be. Normally, when I step away from mixing a music set, I am left with an overwhelming state of contemplation and wonderment.
Being a personal witness to humanity as I stand still, in a creative state, shakes me to my core with the reality that life is a force, a force that cannot be played with, and a force that thrives on its own no matter what I may think or feel about it. I have relearned that we are all the same on the inside now matter how we make up and dress ourselves on the outside or the body we were born in.
I realized that my opinions are important but not necessary to the force of life because now one is living for me or the force of life depends on me. I had no idea that taking on the streets of San Francisco as a DJ will inspire deep thoughts and a reappreication for who we are. I am just doing my thing, playing music, getting myself out of the house and sharing something that I have great passion for with my community.
Vulnerability is the essence of having an exciting life. Take the risk and give what you got. Take that one special thing that you have and share it with humanity… the gifts that you will receive will be beyond the words on this page.
To quote the great lyricist Cole Porter “Begin the Beguine”…let’s start the dance. I am so ready to play music for the entire world. I realize that is a tall order but I am basing my vision on this year past. I have been reflecting on all the wonderful events and special groups that I provided music for in 2011.
I am always taken by the impact music has on a person to the point were it inspires one to move their bodies and rouse their emotions. I am filled with joy when I spin a tune and a group of dancer explodes verbally with excitement and freedom. I feel empowered when people connect with me as one expresses what a song really means to them.
To see a person jump, tumble and roll to the beat of a drum thrills me. Music is there to celebrate the union of a loving couple to feeling the love of a passed loved one. The tone and melodies of a voice can soothe the unease of a crying infant. A song can transport us back to the moment of our first kiss and helps us celebrate the moments of our life. Music has granted me the privilege of working in peoples homes and being apart of milestones in a person’s life. Music has brought me to exotic events and locations at home and abroad.
As I look forward to the days ahead, I want to use my life’s commitment as a DJ and the hundreds of records, CD’s and gigabytes of music I have amassed within my lifetime and share it with the masses. Being a DJ is not only an occupation, being a DJ is an avenue that unites me to something greater than I.
One of the great things about hosting a weekly radio show on 89.5 KPOO San Francisco is sharing the music that I have been collecting for the past 35 years. The music that I share represents the soundtrack of my life. With each and every song that I program, especially if it a 12’ single or a Vinyl LP, I am able to recount a memory that is associated with the purchase of that piece of music or where I first played it or the people connected to it.
While growing up in Connecticut the greatest impact that I was influenced by was the connection my mother and I had to music and New York City Radio such as WBLS and WRKS. Because of that influence I was driven by the sounds of the city. My friends and I would each have $100. One of use would drive our car to New York City while the rest of use pitched in for gas and tolls. The feelings that we all expressed as we where heading to the big apple 75 miles from our home and 90 minutes south were beyond excitement and anticipation. Once we arrived in the West Village we parked the car and ran to Vinyl Mania Records only to be welcomed by a room of hardcore music enthusiasts. The joy, the joy, the joy.
Records were flying off the racks onto the central listening stations the was managed by one of the rotating employees. At Vinyl Mania Records you would find world class DJ’s producers, and artist listening for new music , yet everyone was there under one roof sharing the same passion. Back in the 1980’s the average 12’ domestic single was valued from $3 to $5. My friends and I both would almost spin are entire $100 or 15 to 20 records however, we would save just enough to buy a slice of Pizza at Joe’s Pizzeria on Carmine and Bleecker Street. At the completion of our meal, we would finally head north back to the Constitution State. We would do all that we could to avoid all tolls and additional expenses to get back home because we only had coins left on our pockets and a feeling of purpose and excitement.
We played out this ritual for years until I moved to San Francisco. When I visit the east coast and my friends and I try to recreate the pathway to our youth and music only to find that changed has replaced a way of life that was so real to us.
If you were to tune in to my radio show the Fingersnaps Music Salon , Wednesdays 12midnight to 3:00am you will hear many of those Classic Disco, House, and NuJazz records.
On 11.11.11, I was booked to spin a sweet 16 Birthday party in Tiburon California. The host of honor requested I show her a play list of the songs I would be programming for her party and I informed her that I don’t have play list, I play spontaneous. She responded that’s great but can I see a list. I told her I have over 7000 songs on my computer and that she was welcomed to look through them all. She was surprised by my response to her but I could to think of any other way of letting this young lady that I had things covered. She ask me repeatedly if she could see a list and I responded with the same answer. As the night started to take shape and as her school mates and peers begin to show their presents she came to me once again and ask if I was going to play “this” type of music for long. I was playing a current dance hit from the radio. The type of music that I was playing at the time were many of the songs that she requested along with current hits and genres of her generation. I assured her once again that I got the music covered and to relax and enjoy your party. Friends arrived. The music increased in volume and the room became completely dark for the exception of the glow sticks that were handed out as party favors to her guest. LMFAO Shots was the very song the solidified that her night along with mine was going to be unforgettable. That group of teenagers worked me all night long and I loved it!
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