The more DJs and vinyl junkies I meet, the more common my own story seems to be. I feel I was born at just the right time in the mid-seventies.
Growing up with the ultimate vinyl junky and all round music head, my Father was unknowingly instrumental in shaping my musical career. I say unknowingly as he had no intention of pushing me down a musical route, albeit was supportive in all of my live endeavours.
I was drip fed rock n roll from the 50s & 60s, rock, pop and soul from the 70s & 80s. But what was valuable for me and really opened my eyes were the musical genre tangents he would embark on such as Irish rebel songs (illegal) poetry based music such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan and many other side journeys. The great thing about the 70s & 80s was how diverse it was from Shirley Bassey to Dire Straits and so on. I was exposed to classical music also and even played (badly) the saxophone for a while, because I made the mistake of saying I liked Jazz in the earshot of my parents once. Speaking of Jazz, this was one of the areas my father didn’t explore, which was great for me as this allowed me to take my own paths of discovery. That and disco of course, he was never a huge fan.
He set the blueprint for me and I believe has made me a more rounded DJ today. As many did, I started out DJing at a very young age and cut my teeth performing at weddings, birthday parties etc., then graduating on to well-paid Army summer balls etc etc. The knowledge gained from my father is what I attribute to my successes as a mobile DJ and my experience as a mobile DJ I believe made me the club DJ I am today. More so a couple of decades ago it was essential to be able to read a crowd and guide them through the night to take them on a journey. Things have changed a little now, but we’ll save that rant for another post.
It’s wonderful the different journeys music takes you on and how one musical genre helps shape another. In web development and coding there is something known as ‘open source’. Essentially this is where a developer will take some code which creates and application, function or solves a challenge then makes it available to anyone (copyright free) to take that code, improve upon it and in turn make it available for another developer to do the same. I credit this behaviour and willingness to help others the largest contributor to the speed of growth of the internet and it’s inherent technologies. This isn’t a new concept though. For years now musical genres have been inspiring people to re-create and move genres forward and form new genres and the dreaded ‘sub genre’ (more on that in another post also).
Let’s look at Hip Hop in the early 90s particularly the New York style in the ‘golden era’ where jazz had a massive influence in the sampling culture that was forming. This opened my eyes to jazz and over the years my love of jazz has overtaken my love of Hip Hop. Another obvious one is the influence Disco had on shaping modern dance music. The interesting thing is, now the resurgence of disco in the discovery of old records and emergence of nu disco has brought this genre to the surface once again.
Today I listen to such a wide variety of music as I base my listening on my current mood or in fact the need to get out of a particular mood. My music is my therapist and I very much doubt any human councillor can beat Bob Marley at getting me out of the doldrums. Music is indeed a healer and a world without music isn’t life, it’s a prison service!
Here’s a playlist for you:
Some of my favourite artists through the decades are randomly added below, add some of yours in the comments:
Bob Marley, Ella Fitzgerald, Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Meat Loaf, Elton John, David Gray, Jamie Cullum, U2(older stuff), Eryka Badu, Gangstarr, A Tribe Called Quest, Alkaholics, Souls of Mischief, The Police, Earth Wind & Fire, Billy Joel, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Withers, 4 Hero, Joey Negro, Frits Wentink, Prince, Tom Jones, Lisa Stansfield and more to follow…