Hi everyone! I know that it’s been quite a while since I’ve written a blog post. I had hit the ground running as soon as school started, and I can’t even believe that the semester is already halfway over! So, I’ll be posting about every other week from here on out, though. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my mailing list to stay up-to-date!
In the midst of exams, projects, homework, getting fit (there’s a blog post about that one coming up!), and gigs, I got an invitation to a private album release party in the city. Less than 50 people were there – talk about exclusive! For the most part, it was the only thing keeping me going during a stressful exam week. So, after my last midterm, I started counting down the hours until I could hop on the train to the city.
Sammy Rae has been a longtime friend of mine. We met my freshman year of college, at an open mic night on campus. I still remember how my jaw hit the floor when I heard her voice for the first time. I was even more stunned after she started playing her original tracks – they’re so emotive and you can tell she puts her heart and soul into her work. To this day Sammy is hands-down one of the most talented singer-songwriters I’ve ever heard. Whenever we collab on an acoustic set, I know I have to bring my A-game, because of her high standards. At the party, she unveiled her latest project, Sugar. It’s a moving compilation of ballads, love songs, heartbreak songs, and the funky power-anthem “Stop Time.”
She held the party on the rooftop of the studio where the album was recorded. Owned by a Grammy-winning mixing engineer, it’s has seen the likes of Alicia Keys, Sean Lennon, and the Rolling Stones. How cool is that? You wouldn’t know, looking from the street. It’s a nondescript, graffiti-tagged building sandwiched between two restaurants. You have to take a repurposed freight elevator to the top floor to get to the studio lobby. Once the elevator doors open it’s like you’re in another world. Vintage amps and sound equipment everywhere, even in the bathroom!
The rooftop was beyond what I expected. We were surrounded by some of the most beautiful graffiti I’d ever seen in all my years growing up in the Bronx. Sammy shared stories of meeting Andre 3000 at coffee machines, and getting booted from a studio session by Jack White (personally, I would’ve felt honored). I felt like my personal heaven couldn’t get any better. But then, the party shifted downstairs to the recording booth for a live play-through of the entire Sugar album. To top it all off, I got to watch the whole thing right from the studio’s control room, behind one of the most beautiful mixing consoles I had ever seen!
DJing goes beyond the “hands in the air” festival mentality that it projects nowadays. The endless hours crate-digging, practicing, and refining our craft are so understated. Because I’m also a musician, I feel twice as lucky to have been invited to the party. It speaks volumes when someone’s put in so many hours and wants you to be among the first to hear the fruits of their labor.
I was in no way compensated for this write-up.
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