Having sung the better portion of my entire life, music has been a consistent entity around me, forming my days, guiding my dance through life. I know that seems a bit overly poetic, but music is a really powerful force created by nature and reformed by humanity. I find that music of all types, even country (which I used to despise) has this amazing ability to connect people who in many instances don’t have a clue what the words are, if there is even a vocal going on with it.
Also, having been a singer, I’ve always found it interesting the subtle biases that people have. I never refer to myself as a musician, because I don’t play an instrument, I merely use the talent and genetic toolset for audio production that my particular combination of genetic quirks has produced. And that audio production tool is best described as “LOUD!” You can ask any of my co-workers at Rich’s about my ability to be heard over the million-dollar sound system of our club. In fact, one owner when responding to my yelling his name one night responded immediately with “It’s amazing, the system is so loud I can’t even hear myself think, but I can hear you.” Imagine!
But again, I don’t consider myself a musician. Now, before all the singers out there freak out and think that I think this of all singers, let me be clear, I don’t. In point of fact, I will consider anyone else who sings a musician until they prove otherwise. I just have already proven this to myself, or I’m having a humble moment, I’m not always sure on this.
However, I know that violinists are. Big time. They are sure singers are useless, and the oboist feels that way of the flutist. All just generalizations, but let’s face it, lots of people can make music, but that doesn’t make them musicians. And I’m a singer, that’s all.
And now, my point. (Yes, again, there is one.)
Last night at the club DJ Kimberly S. owned the dancefloor. She was casting this beautiful spell over the people at the club, causing them to jump, wiggle, shake, groove and prance, all in the rhythm of the music she was playing. She was playing lots of tracks we all know, several great remixes of various songs, and she picked up the energy of the crowd and like a diamond with a laser, reflected, refracted and split the energy a billion different ways before cycling it all back through the music and out the sound system and into the souls of everyone there. She kept the people who showed up and she kept them on the dancefloor. She was marvy.
In fact, DJ Kimberly S. is a true musician. I can hear the people in the orchestra asking about ‘pulling a Cheney‘ now.
The turntables, which in this case were digital and were holding CDs, are instruments of music creation. The fact that the sounds coming forth are recorded and mixed together prior is immaterial, they are instruments. The people who press ‘play’ aren’t musicians, but some people can do much more than press play. And that’s just it, it’s what Kimberly did last night. She took, in a sort of musical version of “Pimp My Ride” she created something more than the sum of it’s parts. She mixed them together, created a story, guided the crowd and kept them all entranced from 11 pm Saturday till just after 4 am Sunday. I’m just happy to point this out, there are very few things I enjoy for 5 hours non-stop, and music, while being amazing, is not always one of them. Hell, I can’t cope with the 4 hours of any part of the Ring Cycle which I actually do like, but fully agree needs more intermissions. There can be no intermission in a DJ’s performance, so it can’t suck at any time, or people will leave. So to be a good DJ, you need to take a stack of other’s art and make new art from it, live, for five hours non-stop, and you have to make it compelling enough that when someone is forced to have a break due to the need for water or to pee or just to get off the floor for a minute, it has to be compelling to hold onto them enough while they are away to bring them back. That’s amazingly difficult work!
Kimberly’s mastery of mixing live was beyond amazing, it’s colossal. She is a musician, she plays the turntables. Although, after last night, I think her real instrument of success was the people – she played (in a great way) the crowd.
Sidenote: I was asked to give Kimberly a ride back to her hotel, and she was planning on immediately going to the airport to catch an earlier flight back to her home, so I offered to give her a ride to the airport as well. Given that the drive in total was about 45 minutes, we had some time on our hands. She is an absolute doll, and we got to chit chat about just about everything, which was really nice. Her stories, her experiences, her actions, and her very real care for those around her is amazingly evident. She’s not just a DJ, not just a musician, not just a star, she’s a wonderful person. If you ever get the chance to hear her, do so. And I hope we bring her back, soon!