You grew up in San Francisco – where you still live today. What is it about San Francisco that inspires you musically?
San Francisco is one big melting pot of culture,color, flavor and diversity. My hometown inspires me walking down the street. Sure, it’s changed but I surround myself with my fellow creative friends ; actors, dancers, DJ’s, producers, musicians, and friends that are real to their every being. Our house music scene is here to stay.
Your background is in classical opera and musical theatre. Is this how got you into music professionally?
My first music teacher introduced me to Theater, and Opera. I thought it was something I wanted to pursue until DJ EFX (strictly rhythm) took me into my first studio session at 22 years young. At the time I knew nothing about house music, or writing. One project led to another and my neighbor Bruno had a record label “Naked Music”. He asked me to do voice work. “ Entre en el mundo, la musica desnuda.” Miguel Mig’s then had me to do a song “Mi Destino” (black vinyl), then followed “Introseduction” for his album Colorful You. I remember being at a party and him giving me my first vinyl record. That inspired me to want to do more projects.
How did you get from classical to house music?
I believe as a vocalist, you need to be diverse. I tried Salsa knowing nothing about that either. I love everything about house music and I swear it’s like going to church when you hear a great mix.
A recent Mixmag article argued for the importance of vocals in house music. It said that while there’s always been a tendency for certain groups of people to look down on vocal house that’s too ‘mainstream’ or too ‘pop’, it’s something that’s at the very core and roots of the genre. And no one can deny the power of truly uplifting vocals on a track. As a vocalist, what do you have to say about this?
How can anyone argue about a good vocal, melody, hook or groove? I think most house tracks should have vocals. It’s the meaning behind the vocals and how it’s in sync with the beat. If it makes me cry, and move even better.
Back in July you released “You” on Groove Odyssey, marking our 50th release. Can you tell us a little bit about the track, including your inspiration and what it means to you?
Well Groove Odyssey , I am truly honored you enjoy the song. “You” is about my life now. “ As I sit and wonder, where I been in my life.. Where Destiny has taken me everything feels right.”I went through period of not being creative and I was depressed. When you know your meant to create you just can’t stop. I wrote a poem while taking the train, “ “Look at all the people going through there days, searching for happiness hoping they’ll find their way” Lyric’s mean I am content in my life. “You” is my friends and family. Being rich with “LOVE” is everything.
What do you want people to walk away feeling after hearing “You”?
The track was remixed by DJ Spen and Michele Chivriani. What does it feel like to have such influential and respected people on the house music scene engage with your music on this level?
It feels pretty amazing to collaborate with such talent. I have followed their work through the years and I’m truly elated.
In 2005, you provided the vocals for Kings of Tomorrow’s “Another Day” - which you’ll be performing for us on November 10. What was it like working with Rivera? Was this the first time you worked with him?
My friend Jesse Martinez introduced me to Sandy Rivera while he was living in San Jose, California. That same week we came up with our first tune” Another Day”, “So Alive” and a duet “Rain” written by L.T Brown. The experience working with Sandy is a collaboration I can’t forget. I made some pretty great friend’s. Haze, Nina Llare’s, and L.T Brown. Sandy is a master at his craft. I would say he’s a wizard in the studio and can knock out an album in weeks.
As well as Rivera, Spen & Michele Chivriani, you’ve worked with a whole host of industry heavyweights, from your writing partner and producer Vincent Kwok to Miguel Migs. Is there anyone that you missed out on working with that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
There’s many Great’s out there, and I’d love to work on a project with Louie Vega. Maybe something along the feel of a classic “Nuyorican Soul”
What has been the most memorable or significant moment to you in your career?
This year 2018 has been an incredible ride. I shot my first music video “Eye’s on You” with Vincent Kwok and I can’t be more excited to be part of the Groove Odyssey celebration. Life has truly gone full circle.
And finally what does the rest of 2018 have in store for you?
More music, writing and having fun. See you on the dance floor!