Interviews & Profiles

Interview by Francis Tanneur

  Hello Ceres, how are you?
I’m fine, thank you!

It’s a real pleasure to conduct your first interview for a Freestyle web site/ magazine. Thank you very much for accepting this interview.
You are welcome. My pleasure.

Could you introduce yourself?
I was born in Italy (Sicily). I spent my childhood in a little village with my grandparents. Currently I live in Germany and I am working in the IT for a hardware producing company.

Where does the name Ceres come from?
I have been always interested in Greek mythology. Ceres was a goddess. A little clumsy just like me. ;-)

Why did you decide to move from Italy to Germany? Is it only because of your singing career, or maybe for personal reasons?
My parents decided to move to Germany in 1986 in the hope of finding a job and a better life. The situation in Sicily was not good at all at this time. It proved to be the right decision for all of us.

How did you get in touch with Snark Music Productions and Flic Flac Records who produced and distributed all your songs, and most importantly, believed in you?
I started up as a background singer for MC. G. Gabriel. At some point of time I was offered the great opportunity for my own project with Snark Music Productions. This is my record “Ceres” which was published by Flic Flac Records.

How and when did get involved in music?
I was 11 years old when I recorded my first LP. My first song was an Italian song “Alla mia etá”– “At my age”. That was a super experience. Even now, recording a new song, I still think about that time.

Ceres, I want to know more about your first album? What kind of music was it? And why did you decide to release this LP at the age of 11 years old?
It was a song competition for kids and the winners were invited to the recording studios to record the winning song. All the winning songs were published on a  LP Compilation.

What do you really know about Freestyle music?
Usually, the lyrics are romantic. Not that political. There is a positive, optimistic message and atmosphere. And overall, cool is really the beat and sound itself. Very individual. I like this music and it gives me one more opportunity to express myself. Even I have to admit that this is not everyone’s music. But maybe with my songs I can reach and inspire more people in their daily life – and that’s what music is a lot about. JWhat his your personal definition of Freestyle music?
For me Freestyle is an another word for Liberty, the Liberty to create music.

When and where did you hear Freestyle music the first time?
The first experience was in a Disco at the end of the eighties.

Even if you never forget your Freestyle fans, you seem to orient your career toward Dance music/Euro Dance? For instance, in your two singles “Inside to outside” and “Open your eyes” there is a bunch of Euro and Dance versions, and only one or two Freestyle mixes? Is it a personal decision or a mutual decision taken with the label and the producers?

  Why did you make this choice?
It was a mutual decision with the producers of Snark Music and myself. The intention was to reach and interest also the public who normally does not listen to Freestyle music and to provide a broader range of different styles.

In which musical style do you feel more comfortable? And why?
I have no typical style. I love music in general; therefore I sing different styles for different fans. That is why the variety on the album “Deep from my heart” is so big. To reach as many people and bring joy.

Thanks to your first single “Inside to outside” (released in 2000), you gained an incredible notoriety in Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries. Why did you decide to launch your career with Lady’s Violet hit?
In 2000, some producers in Italy had covered that song (“Inside to outside” by Lady Violet) already and it was a no.1 hit in the Italian charts. In Germany however the Cover version of Lady Violet was not so well known and therefore Snark Music Productions decided to cover it again for the German market. Surprisingly the Cover version of Ceres became known and very popular far beyond the German region.

How did you react when you saw that many people really enjoyed your first single “Inside to outside”?
It was a great and satisfying feeling to experience. To see/feel people loving my music is the best in return from fans.

Last September, your first full-length album “Deep from my heart” was out in Germany. Could you tell us how and when the project was born?
We started to work first on the single “Inside to outside”. This version also contained the bonus track “Open your eyes” in addition. Meanwhile, we went on producing songs and suddenly got to know that “Open your eyes” really grew to a hit in Canada. This is probably why also the song got more known/famous in Germany. Thus, we produced a remix of the song and Flic Flac Records published the Single “Open your eyes”. Distributed by Sony Music. Three weeks later the album “Deep from my Heart” was completed and published now in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Canada.

How long did it take to release this album?
In total, we worked on the album over a period of 3 years from the first song until the album was accomplished.

Why did you release your fist album only now?
Well, we just did not want to produce another album for mass market. We wanted to produce music that a lot of people would like. And then, finally we had the feeling that this was good music and would be successful.

  What was your reaction and feeling when you got the album CD in your hands?
I sure was very happy. Very satisfied after this long a period. Finally, there was the result of all the persons work and you really could see it, touch it, feel it and best…. listen to it. So, here is what I did: I went to a CD shop, searched for MY/OUR piece of work, went to the shop-assistant and asked him if it would be possible to give this new CD a try. Of course, my intention was to find out if he would recognize me! Imagine how proud I was, he did!

Are you happy and satisfied with the final result?
I’m very satisfied, very happy. No doubt!

If you could only use three adjectives to describe your album, what would it be?
= fresh
= emotional
= crazy

Do you have any anecdote to tell about the recording of this album?
Oh, yes… there was one situation I remember. That was during the vocal coaching with the Spanish language teacher. He was trying to demonstrate to me how I was supposed to sing in his language. His singing was so awful that the whole team was almost rolling on the floor laughing. Over and over again. I mean, he is not a singer, but he really gave his best! Maybe I could give him a little lesson, too.

Could you tell us a little bit more about DJ Pasi, Lemos Rodrigues Nelson, MC. G. Gabriel who wrote the lyrics and composed the music on most of your songs?
They are very important personalities for me and for my carrier. They are not only my producers and songwriters, but also my personal friends and the most important for me is: they believe in me!!!

How did you meet them and why did you decide to work with them?
At that time, there was the wish to make a new kind of music, and these seemed to be the right people to work with. And now I’m very happy to be able to work with this excellent team.

You did two duets (“Dancing with an angel” & “Self Control”) with MC. G. Gabriel. Is it difficult to sing with somebody? How did you work on both these duets?
Not difficult at all. A real interesting experience and joy to sing with him. Our voices just fit to each other.

How was it to sing those two remakes? Why did you choose those two songs as remakes? Any other remakes that you would love to sing? It was a lot of fun to remake both songs. These songs recalled feelings out of the past. What will be done next is my secret. ;-)

Which artist you would love to do a duet with?
Stevie B. or Sting.

Are there any producers that you would love to work with in the future? I am now pretty happy with the producers of Snark Music Productions.

You have an incredible and lively way to sing whatever the musical style. Where does this energy and passion come from? 
This is so me! That is the fire of my Italian soul. I sing with all my soul and heart “Deep from my heart”. When I sing, I feel like being in an another world.

Your album is titled “Deep from my heart”. Is it because everything you do (musically talking) comes deep from your heart?
Exactly. How do you know?? ;-)

Shhhh…I just know! LOL

What is your main goal into the music industry, and most particularly in Freestyle music?
To place a No. 1 Hit in the charts! And to get Freestyle more popular on the scene.

Who have been your main influences in Freestyle music?
Stevie B.
Johnny O.
Lil’ Suzy

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle song? Why?
Johnny O. – Fantasy Girl. It’s a really good love song.

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle producer? Why?
SNARK of course! No question. We are a great, strong and creative team. And so much fun working together.

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle remixer/DJ”? Why?
My favorite remixer is DJ Pasi, an anonymous work-a-holic and Beatmaster.

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle female singer”? Why?
My favorite Freestyle female singer is Lil’ Suzy. Her music and her voice make her songs very special. So much harmony!

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle male singer”? Why?
My favorite Freestyle male singer is Stevie B., because his voice is pure soul and his songs are brilliant.

What do you think of the German Freestyle scene and market?
It’s great that there are people interested in this music in a way that they dedicate themselves to produce this music. Thus we keep it going on and on!

How is the market out there? Is Freestyle music famous in Germany?
Here in Germany Freestyle is mainly played in Clubs. It is an insider style of music and the fans are special people.

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community and to your fans from all around the world?
Keep on listening and producing Freestyle music! Your support is my greatest pleasure!

What advice or message would you give to future artists?
The most important is to keep on fighting and believing in your ability. Because only then will your dreams come true.

Good Luck!!!

What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to draw and talk with friends. I also spend a lot of time phoning with my mom.

  If you have to describe yourself in a few lines, what would say about you?
I am quite a sensitive character but at same time I have a very strong personality. Criticizing with myself, sometimes a little moody, crazy – in my music but also in my private life. I love to be close to my family and the warmth/support they give me. I really like to go shopping with my younger sister. And I love when my boy-friend and I have some time together. Surprises! I love surprises! If all my friends and family are feeling good – I do, too.

Anything else you want to talk about?

What’s left to say is only once again thanks to all who worked with me, supported me and trusted me. Big, big thank!

Thank you very much Ceres. I wish you all the best for the future and especially for your first album.
Well, I thank you, Francis!! The pleasure was on my side. It was really nice to meet you. Take care. See you next time?! Ciao ;-)




The Kromozone Project

The Kromozone Project
by: Francis Tanneur


Kromozone N°1.JPG (16834 bytes) Who are Randy Lance & Elle? Could you tell us a little bit more about ?Randy:Born in Cheektowaga, NY but raised in Indiana in the US. Realized at age 9, music was my calling… despite the fact that I couldn’t play any instruments or sing at the time. So, I began teaching myself to sing, play classical piano, program synthesizers and drum programmers, write songs and arrange them etc. which has lead me to owning my own independent record label and striking a distribution deal for international sales with radio airplay.Elle:Vivacious, sexy, hardworking, giving… there are so many, I cannot list them all. :)

When did you get into the music business?

Randy: I had taught myself to play classical piano (mostly by ear) at age 9, began programming synthesizers by age 15 and singing by age 17. I grew up on a farm so I didn’t have alot of access to technology and the expense of it. This made me concentrate more on the quality of my ‘skills’, rather than relying on great sounding equipment.

Elle: Since I was 2 years old.

Which have been your mains influences (artists, music, etc.)?

Randy: This is a difficult question. Many songs over life inspire a producer until his/her style becomes a “patchwork quilt” of elements. “Don’t go” by Yaz, the groups Kiss, Queen, early Depeche Mode, Ann Wilson of Heart’s vocals…


Elle: Everyone from all walks of life. Gospel music is a big influence.

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Why did you stop working for Phat Cat Records?

Randy: First, I only signed a ‘single’ deal for the song “Take My Love” with option for more if both parties wanted to continue. I believe someone should seek a record deal when they have taken their own music as far as they can go with it successfully. Many industry professionals turned me down because my music was too “sugary or happy” and they didn’t think it would sell. So it’s been a tough path for me to get my music out there.

Marco Navarra (of Phat Cat records) is from the Tampa area where I currently reside and was recommended through mutual industry friends we have in common. I was a little reluctant to sign any deal but he assured me that if either party wanted to go their separate ways following the single, they could. Basically, I did. Marco didn’t think “Take My Love” was strong enough for a single in the beginning and said he needed more proof that just a “kid raving about his own music to be interested”. I had seen people running to the dance floor screaming, so I knew it could go somewhere. In the meantime following the single deal (signed June 15, 1998), I realized I had made enough contacts to test the waters on my own with new material without having to run it by industry professionals. It’s kind of my way of letting the fans decide if they like my new songs or not, instead of a good song never making it out of the gate because it did not impress some industry higher ups. I feel this is how songs should be signed anyway.

Who are your partners in the business?

Randy: Randy, Randy and Randy. (Ha ha). Here’s a numbered list of what I do:

1. Come up with a name for a song and album. Get a visual image in my head of the feeling I want the music to give the listener.

2. Write the words.

3. Compose the background music with synthesizers, drum programmers, etc.

4. Print out lead sheets for Elle to take in studio.

5. Play the song and sing the song as it should be sung by her. She copies and sings exactly what I sing and then ad libs at the end of the track for possible use in the song.

6. I take her digitized vocals and process them onto the music track.

7. Next is hours and hours of mixdown, volume, panning, EQ, compression etc.

8. Finish all songs for a CD single or album and send to Mastering Plant in Miami.

9. Mastering plant sends mastered DAT (Digital Audio Tape) to the Pressing Plant.

10. I get with a Graphics Designer and together create the layout for the product. I tell him what emotion or feeling I’m going for with a few elements and he creates an image.

11. Press 2,000 vinyl records for Record Pools and DJs (Record Pool: an organization in a particular region that collects data from 25 to 125 dance clubs, monitor which songs hit from all record labels, major and minor, and report charts to radio and internet. I give these away for free in exchange for info on my releases to see if a track tests well.

12. Monitor all info on website and seek publicists, radio promoters, booking agents etc.

13. At the same time, send copies to distributors, trade magazines and Billboard reporters.

14. Fill purchase orders from distributors and collect all review and interviews from trades -this is where Francis fits in :)

15. Hopefully get picked up by major radio promoters to get nationwide airplay, contact booking agents and give info for shows (length, content, contests, giveaways etc)

And while all of this goes on, start thinking of new songs, stage show setups, videos, etc. So right now, it’s all me but I am receiving professional assistance as The KromOzone Project keeps growing! All of this from just a concept in my head.

Why did you choose Elle to be your leading vocalist for The KromOzone Project?Randy: I wanted to find a female that had some soul, looked really good, could sing well and had a very good attitude and personality. She was recommended to me through a producer friend (Dave Constanza). She’s beautiful, talented and is dedicated to the music. I knew she was “the one” to make it all come alive!How many years have you been working and knowing Elle?

Randy: I have known “Elle” for 2 ½ years now.


Why did you accept to work with Randy Lance?


Elle: I saw something in his work that I haven’t come across in music before…

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Your voice is incredible, how many years of practice did you need to get to this level of quality? Did you take some singing lessons?

Elle: I’ve taken very little voice lessons, but mainly my voice is a gift from God.

Why have you chosen the name “The KromOzone Project”?

Randy: I was a Psychiatric Major in College studying the chromosomes, DNA and genetic make-up of individuals at the same time I was experimenting with music. Later on as music became more dance oriented, I took the word chromosome and altered it (genetically) to KromOzone and added the “project” because I wanted it to be an on-going project of music through the years and possible

What are your thoughts on the album “Love & Energy”? Are you proud of it?

Randy: My songs are like pictures in a photo album… or like my children, love them all! Never sure which one’s will be the breadwinners, though.


Elle: I’m very proud of the album and extremely happy to be a part of it.

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Even if your album is mainly Freestyle oriented, there are so many different genres of Dance music in it. Why?

Randy: I actually come from a rock & roll background. I don’t plan a song to turn out a specific way. As I’m composing from melodies and rhythms inside my head, the pieces just fit together. I let the reviewers, interviewers and fans decide if they like it and what style it is. Usually works out better for the music that way.

Why are “Stay In Love” and “Take My Love” not on the album?

Randy: Because they are old songs. “Stay In Love” (1996), “Take My Love” (1997). They will be on The KromOzone Project’s greatest hits eventually, but it wasn’t fair to my new material to attach dated stigma from these previous hits. I am confident of my song writing and producing abilities that I don’t feel I need to constantly use these two songs as “crutches or training wheels”. A new millenium needs a new sound, and I gave them “Love & Energy”.

Why is “Energy” the first single release?

Randy: Good motto and positive message to start the millenium out for us. And I usually like short titles for my songs, so “Energy” seemed powerful and could relate to many different people for different reasons.

Many songs about love will soon follow. National radio airplay for “Energy” however will begin Summer 2000.

Why is Planet Rock your favorite style of Freestyle Music?

Randy: Clean, crisp, strong, uncluttered, EQ’d perfectly and I love Electro. Planet Rock is the Grand Daddy Beat of the Electro Freestyle. It always makes the girls move. It even makes me move!

Most Freestyle fans now think that Planet Rock beat is boring and a little bit obsolete. What do you think?

Randy: For the most part, they may be right. However, what is tired to some…is brand new for someone else. I’ve heard a lot of retro songs come back into rotation these last few years and I feel this is due to a lack of interesting NEW songs being released by the majors. So, on a couple of tracks, I give the feeling of RETRO, but with a brand new song. Killing two birds with one stone, if you will. (Psychology…)

What do you think of the Freestyle scene and market?

Randy: It’s sad to see a decline, that’s why I’m hitting it hard to radio and clubs in the US. Poor production and repetitive themes in writing has “deadened” alot of it for the industry as a whole. This doesn’t really affect me though. If I want to write Freestyle, I’M GONNA WRITE FREESTYLE! :) )

Elle: I like it!

What would you change in the Freestyle industry today?

Randy: Make more of it! Shower the record pools and mix shows with it. I sell a good number of records and make good money for live performances. Many are amazed at this because some radio “toppers” are getting less attention and money even though they are on the air in good rotation. It’s not about who pays who get chart action or radio airplay, not for the new generation. Everything’s changing. Major labels will see a big change coming and producers with their own labels making hit music, like myself, will be entering the big league…while not selling out their soul!

Elle: Do not have a comment.

What advice or message would you give to future artists?

Randy: Vocalists: Be faithful and loyal to your writers and producers. This is not the 80′s anymore where it’s cool to screw people over.

Producers: Don’t strive to be successful only for “Fame and Fortune”. People in the industry sense greed and will shy away from you. Be honest, relax the ego a bit, and then work hard to produce some killer tracks!

Elle: Always works hard and put your best foot forward, never give up on your dreams.

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Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community?

Randy: Freestyle to me is Good Beats, Good Melodies and a heavy dose of Love! Those who feel it know what I’m talking about.


Elle: Keep supporting it!


What is Randy Lance’s best quality?


Elle: Very hard working, believes in what he does and I like that drive! And the best quality of all is that he’s a good person.

What is Elle’s best quality?

Randy: Beautiful, talented and dedicated to the music!





Sharyn Maceren

Interviews & Profiles

Sharyn Maceren
Interview by Francis Tanneur

  Well, Sharyn I’m very happy to do this interview. I’ve been following you since the beginning of your singing career as The S Factor, and I was always wondering when you would release your first album. You finally did it last August. How do you feel now after all theses months of hard work?Every day is a surprise for me because I am still working (on promoting this album.) Every chance that I have to meet with fans, though, gives me a better idea on how much the album is connecting with the people and it’s in those moments that I feel the most reward.

Before we talk about your album in detail, I would really appreciate it if you could tell our readers: “Who is Sharyn Maceren?” LOL.

I am a singer/songwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born in the city of San Francisco and have lived in different parts of the Bay Area growing up. I’m a Filipino-American and as far as age goes… let’s just say… I’m not as young as I look. (laughing) I was born on February 26, which makes me a Pisces, and if you know anything about Pisces… it’s that we all love to be creative.

Is Sharyn Maceren your real name?Pretty much. It’s just been re-touched a little bit.So, what is it? I know Sharyn, I’m too curious!!! LOL

That’s it. Sharyn Maceren. It’s 99.9% close to my actual given name but I can’t say much more than that. (giggling) Sorry, Francis. I like to keep you guessing.

  You started your singing career with a song called “Hard to get”. How did you get involved on this project? Who were exactly the members of The S Factor’s band?I met with producer Sam Maxion and worked with him for a year on songs that I wrote, including “Mystery”, “You’re My Everything”, “Who Loves You”, “I Think He Knows” and “Hard to Get”. After our contract was over, I decided to leave the company for personal reasons. By the time I stopped working with him, he released the single and named me “The S Factor”. I never planned on using another name besides my own… so calling me “The S Factor” was all his idea.

The S Factor actually isn’t a band. I was the only vocalist and he was the only producer. Since I left, Sam currently owns the name “The S Factor” and when he uses it now, he adds the name of the featured vocalist.

When the single “Hard to get” was out on the American market in 1997 you were a teenager. What was your reaction when it started to have heavy rotations on your local radio stations but also in the rest of the USA, to finally become a huge Freestyle hit?Honestly, my reaction to it was mixed. On one hand, it was nice to know that my music was able to be so successful on radio and retail and with the general public… but on the other hand, I was never really recognized for my efforts (as a vocalist or as a songwriter). I mean, to this day, there are probably a bunch of people who are fans of “The S Factor” but have no ideas of who Sharyn Maceren is. It was hard to deal with because my art is really an extension of who I am. When I’d hear the radio and the DJ would say, “And that was ‘The S Factor’, it almost made me feel like it wasn’t me.  
  What was the reaction of your friends and relatives when they heard about your success? Did their behavior change?My friends and relatives were really cool about my music. If anything, they would just proud of me and tell me all about the times they’d hear me on the radio and stuff like that. Yeah, to this day, everyone around me has remained the same. I’m kinda waiting for the day when their behavior will change. (giggling) Nah, but seriously, they’re cool.

How did you manage to balance school and the studio?

It was hard because, like my album title, I was ALWAYS dreaming about making records. If you look at some of my notes in class, you’d probably see a list of tracks in order because I even imagined how I’d want my tracks listed. I dreamed of everything.  You name it… how many pages of the booklet… the cover… the producers that I’d want to work with. I dreamed of it all. Where the class notes were supposed to be written, I don’t know.

When you began to sing, why did you choose Freestyle Music?

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a Pop/R&B singer like Mariah (Carey). However, when I met up with Sam, he wanted to steer me into the direction of Freestyle music. I personally didn’t listen to a lot of Freestyle music except for the Cover Girls and Sweet Sensation. However, I kept writing and one of the songs that I came up with that year was “Hard to Get”. Since then, I have seen that it has gotten a big following from the Freestyle community. Because of that, I decided to continue making songs for them in addition to other types of music that I like.

Do you have a personal definition of what Freestyle music is?

Yes. Because it’s a personal definition, that means I’m not speaking for everybody… okay? (I know how all us Freestyle fans have our ideas) but to me, Freestyle music is a song with a strong melody and hard beats and a lot of emotion. It’s like a love song from the streets.

  Many Freestylers and also a few artists I talked to said that it’s very difficult to forget Freestyle music once you start listening to it. Do you have the same feeling? Is Freestyle music part of your life each single day?It is because it’s a music that I love. All types of music are part of my every day life. Freestyle music is just becoming to be a bigger part since a big portion of my fan base is there. Since I like to keep in touch and interact with the people who listen to my music, it increases my knowledge of what’s going on and encourages me to continue making music that they like.

In 2000, you made a new deal with Captaur Records, a label from San Francisco. This is also the first single under your name. Could you tell us how you met the owners and producers of this label Mario Bonilla and Jeremy Davis? Why did you decide to work with them?

I met with Mario and Jeremy after high school. Mario was going to school for Business and Jeremy was going to school for Anthropology but both were heavily interested in music. They wanted to start their own record label and knew that I had a single already so they asked me if I was interested in signing a deal with them. Having been through what I’ve been through in the past, I learned a lot in a short period of time. By then, I really knew what I was getting into and I knew what to expect from a label that I wanted to work with. They were both very music-business savvy and both very hardworking. I knew that if we worked together, we’d be able to make some noise.

This single “One and one” was produced and remixed by Joe C. Grandberg? Could you talk about this mutual collaboration?
You also did together the track “A little more time”. Sincerely, I think that Joe Grandberg really contributed to your notoriety. Do you think I’m exaggerating when I have this kind of words? :-) Jeremy and Mario were talking with distributors for the album and one of them had slipped us a demo CD of work produced by Joe Grandberg. I had actually had the chance to speak with him a couple years prior to that but I just been through the “Hard to Get” ordeal and I didn’t feel like dealing with music at that time. So, it was strange because I remembered him and I was just flabbergasted by his work. I told the guys, “I have to work with him!” and lucky for me, I had the chance.

Since then, Joe was just down to share his talent with me and I can’t forget that. His talent and generosity definitely helped me get to where I am today.

The single “One and One” is certainly one of my favorite songs. In your opinion, why didn’t it receive the success it deserved?

Well, it might not have received a lot of commercial success (like getting a lot of radio airplay and things of that nature) but whenever you’re on an indie label, you just try to keep giving the songs the opportunity to be heard and Mario and Jeremy certainly helped me with that.

However, we were all pretty happy with the way things went with “One and One” because they were able to sell all copies of the single. We broadened my fan base with all the performances that we did and the single got play on stations from Cali to New York to even Europe.

For me, I was able to do shows where people sang “One and One” along with me. Fans online also noted that “One and One” was one of their favorites for that year. Lastly, the work that we did on that project helped me get to where I am today… so I look at all the little things and feel like we did a good job. As long as we’re doing as much as we can, I don’t really look into the “Why didn’ts?” and the “How comes?”

The year 2002 appears certainly as one of your most successful and exhausting years of your young singing career for many reasons: You met and you decided to work with one of the most famous and respected Californian Freestyle producers Glenn Gutierrez; you released two singles (“In Just One Night” and “When the Record Spins”, your second single); and your first full-length album “Always dreamin’” and all the while, you have been doing a bunch of live performances. My first question will be simple: “How did you manage to do that? Any particular secret that you would accept to reveal to your fans? Please Sharyn, I want to know your secret…(laughing).

The secret is… my team. It takes every single person in my team to help me continue working and promoting and traveling and making sure everything is in order. Sometimes, I forget… but someone up there is watching me and says, “Okay, I’mma show you what it’s like when they’re not here.” And, then I’m like, “Whew. Let me recognize!”

Sometimes, we do shows day after day… and you need your booking agent to help you with your shows and then you need your road manager to help make sure that all the things you need are there. You need your dancers to make your show big and bad… and you need your label and promo team to help represent and get everything in order in every other level. Everyone makes a difference in helping me to do what I need to do and it’s because of them that I am able to promote like crazy.

Is it true that you met Glenn Gutierrez during one of your live performances in Cali?

Well, let’s see. The whole story goes like this. I was already working on completing my album when I was on Captaur (Records). I was working on songs with Joe (Grandberg) and somewhere along the line, was approached by Dadgel Atabay (best known for his works with Buffy and Stevie B.)

He was planning to work on his own project and asked if I wanted to work with him and I was like, “Okay… but only if you work with me on my project, too.” (giggles) So, we end up working on a couple of tracks when I guess (from what I hear from Glenn) he starts telling his industry friends, including Glenn, about me as an artist. At this time, Glenn had already formed Planet Hype (record label) and during a LIVE on-air interview with Delicious D on KSJS, Glenn had heard me singing “Hard to Get” acapella on the air. There was also a LIVE chat going on so when I wasn’t on the radio, I would go to the computer in the station and chat with the fans that were online. Glenn was there and said that he wanted to talk about music… and that’s how it all began.

Note: I used three of the tracks that Joe produced on the album but wasn’t able to use any of the tracks that Dadgel and I worked on because he had just gotten his family circle a little bit bigger and he became busy. But if he’s reading this… (you owe me, Dadg!) (laughing)


Before your meeting with Glenn Gutierrez, what was your knowledge of his previous works? I mean, do you know all that he did for Freestyle music in the past?No. I didn’t know about all of his works with artists like Stevie B, Jaya and others. My knowledge of his previous works started with Jocelyn’s “Lovely” album. At that time, I started paying attention to credits and I noticed that he wrote a lot and produced a lot on the album. On the “Jocelyn” album, I loved the work he did on “Do You Miss Me”- and “If I’m Falling In Love” in addition to everything else. After that, I fell in love with M:G’s “Make A Little Noise” album and I seriously thought that he was the one of the only producers left that I wanted to work with. Asides from being a genius in the production world, I was actually in awe of his songwriting skills.You mutually decided to work together. Why?

Sharyn: It was a dream of mine to work with him. Why not? (smiles)

Glenn Gutierrez: I’ve always wanted to work with someone like Sharyn, and a lot of fortunate coincidences occurred to bring us together at this point. As Planet Hype developed into a label and production company, I needed to find an artist who was talented, driven, marketable, not already signed, and wanted to do this kind of music. That’s an extremely rare package. Without gushing too much, Sharyn is all that and more. Her ability to write and learn quickly and have enabled us to go beyond anything I’d imagined.

You are both determined people and you know perfectly and exactly what you want, musically speaking. How did you decide the musical orientation and how did you figure what would be the best for this album? Did you make some compromises? How was it to work during the recording of this album?

Sharyn: Glenn was cool. I was so set in my mind with how I wanted this album to go and he respected that. I basically brought in all the songs that I wanted to use for the album. I’d tell him how I’d want each song to sound like and what styles I wanted to incorporate. Sometimes, I’d tell him what drum pattern I’d like for the song. Sometimes I’d tell him what bass line I’d like to use. Other times, he might figure out what lead to add or what style to try instead. He really complimented what I was trying to do and I think that’s how we were able to work so well together. He listened to what I had to say and helped to bring out my ideas in its finest form.

Beyond all that, it was fun working together but it was just a lot of time management because we only had two months to really work on the album and I really wanted to have at least 14 tracks on there (not including remixes) so… every day became an all-nighter. I practically slept in the studio because every day was filled with recording and producing. Sometimes, when Glenn would be working on certain things, I would be creating my album booklet (which I loved doing, by the way) but it was still work and everything had to be clean. Man, when that album was completed… it was like, “Yeah! I can sleep for once.” (giggling)

Glenn: It may have been a surprise for both of us at the beginning, but we work extremely well together. Even though we can talk about any song on the same level, most of our focus falls into different areas when creating new music. At first, I trusted Sharyn because I recognized her talent and because she is her own core demographic. She may have trusted me because of my prior work. As we pieced together each song for the album, Sharyn would have an idea for the style (being the songwriter), and I did my best to make that idea happen or push it higher. When you can work this closely, without stepping on each others’ toes, you don’t have to compromise. In fact, the only real issues we’ve ever run into are time and travel, since she lives far away by car or train.

Sharyn, could you describe in a few lines Glenn Gutierrez? And Glenn, could you do the same thing?

Sharyn: Glenn’s funny. Witty actually… Glenn is a combination of a brilliant mind, a generous heart and a joyful soul. He’s a great friend to have in addition to being a wicked partner in the studio.

Glenn: I’ve already run through the technical list, so I’ll just add that Sharyn is the kind of person you’d want to work with for the rest of your career. Great personality, good head on her shoulders, and an honest humility. I’m very lucky to have met her, let alone be working with her.

Do you have any story about the recording of this album?

Sharyn: Hmm… One day out of the entire recording process, Glenn decides that we should take time out and just do something out of the workplace so we decide to watch Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on the first night that it played. So, like I said, every day we worked was pretty much like a 19 hour day and we had already been recording… but we took a break to watch the showing. The movie played at midnight and it was over by 2AM. Afterwards, we headed back to the studio and had to record “Ain’t No Love”. I don’t think I had enough to eat that day and I was extremely tired but we had to record the vocals. So the entire time that I was recording, I was just like “I hope I don’t pass out.”

Glenn: While tracking vocals for Rainbow, Sharyn said she wanted to try a small talking part. I said “go ahead, Elvis!” and started recording. When we got to that part, I heard “It was telling me” on the monitors, then a distant laugh. I looked into the vocal room and couldn’t see Sharyn, but I could still hear her laughing hysterically. I stood up so I could see better… She was curled up on the floor. Eventually, we both stopped laughing long enough to track that part again, but I think we used that first take. And what’s the best way to get sexy, breathy vocals for an intimate song? Go see a Star Wars premiere at midnight before-hand, then start tracking at 3 am! Would “Ain’t No Love” be the same if we’d recorded it prior to Yoda’s big fight scene? No one knows…

Thanx Glenn for your cool and friendly intervention on Sharyn’s interview.

It’s an honor to intervene. :-) Thank you for your support, Francis!

Sharyn, your first-length album “Always dreamin’” is out on Planet Hype in last August. What was your first impression when you heard the whole CD?

I was nervous. I mean, the album came out just the way that I wanted it to but I kept listening to it over and over, trying to imagine how someone might react to it for the first time.

Sharyn, imagine for just a brief instant that you are a salesgirl. What would you say about the album to sell it as well as possible?

I probably wouldn’t say anything. I’d probably just direct them to the listening station and let the music speak for itself.

You did a wonderful album that should please every Freestyler. The success of this album is due to both the quality of the songs and the production. It is also due to the refreshing sound that you and Glenn have created for us.

I mean the Freestyle songs are mostly oriented to the West Coast Freestyle genre but nevertheless your style does sound the same? How did you work on this sound?

I think, as it is with most artists, you absorb the sounds that are around you and you combine it with all the sounds that you love. It’s a very organic thing. Because the music comes from your heart, you don’t really work on the end result. It just becomes. When your music is a part of you, it will always reflect your sound because there’s an element that only you can give. Being from the West Coast, the diverse styles of music that have been played on stations like WILD 94.9 have definitely been an influence.

The way you sing is very original and unique. You especially use a certain sensuality when you’re singing. Is it the Sharyn Maceren trademark?

Hmm… I never thought about it. Honestly, I have no idea how my voice comes across to other people but I only hope that the passion that I have while I’m singing comes through in the records.

  I was a little bit surprised to do not see any duet in your album. Which artist, you would love to do a duet with?As far as Freestyle/Dance artists go, I’d love to work with Angelina and M:G. I’ve always been a fan of their music, their styles, and their voices. On top of that, I’ve always heard good things about them. This year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet both of them and everything I heard was true. They’re both very cool. They are definitely my choices. As far as other types of music, I’d like to work with Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and Nelly Furtado. Their styles are off the hook. I really dig how they express their individuality in their music…

What is your main goal in the music industry, and most particularly in Freestyle music?

My main goal in the music industry is to have my music heard by as many people possible. I live, love, and breathe music and I have chosen this to be my career so I would like for it to be successful. As far as Freestyle music goes, my main goal is to continue bringing to the table what I feel represents Freestyle for me.

Who have been your main influences in Freestyle music, but also in Music in general?My main influences in Freestyle music have been The Cover Girls and Sweet Sensation. I remember hearing “Show Me” for the first time and just LOVING it. To this day, I still feel the same way about it. That’s the way I feel about both their first albums. I just loved them and I think that “In Just One Night” was like my little tribute to both of those groups. In other types of music, my main influence was Mariah Carey because I was a fan of every album she did. She was also a songwriter on top of being a powerful vocalist and I’ve always appreciated artists that wrote their own material.  

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle song? Why?

I think it is “Show Me” by the Cover Girls… There’s no reason why. When you have a favorite song… there are no words to describe why it gives you shivers and brings you to ecstasy. It just does.

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community and to your fans?

Yeah… You guys are so cool and I love you all. I feel so at home being able to chitchat with you guys on the boards and I love reading your e-mails so thank you to everyone who keeps in touch. The Freestyle Community is off the hook. We all have love for the styles that have been around and continue to come around and we all just gotta be thankful that there is still so much passion. Everyone has got different opinions but it’s all good. One of my favorite quotes is that you can’t please everyone. Still, it’s fun to know that we have a common bond and that the community is getting its voice heard. I know I’m listening.

What advice or message would you give to future artists?

Simple. Be educated about the business. Surround yourself with people you respect and trust to be on your team. Study your craft. Pray and love what you do. When you love what you do, obstacles never seem as hard.

  Is it true that you would love to become a model?Where’d you hear that from? (giggles) My main focus creativity-wise right now is in music. If someone hired me to be a spokes model or if there was a project that gave me good exposure, I would be down to do it… but it is not a career that I dream of pursuing. The thing that gets people confused is that I got involved to work with David Tan of modfxmodels.com .We were able to work together where I was able to use his images for promotional material and he was able to use my images for his highly visited website. I was a fan of his work and was fortunate that he wanted to have me on his site. Through that, I was able to use his work for a lot of the photos that are in my album booklet, on my website and on flyers and stuff of that nature. His work is dope! I hope I can work with him again…

One of your other centers of interest is photography. Why did you put so many snapshots in your album? This is the first time that I saw so many pix of an artist in his own album. Are you also interested by this art?

Yes, I love all types of art. Photography, drawing, graphic design…. Because of that, I was very interested in designing my own album booklet and the guys at Planet Hype were cool with that. I personally love photographs so since I had a lot of pictures in my archives, I decided to make a collage that would include new pictures, old pictures and pictures that displayed the things that I loved… like a sunset, flowers, treasured jewelry and my dogs (giggles) I had to put them in there. I figured a lot of people probably like photographs as much as I do and I tried to find a way to fit a bunch of em in there… and still make it look pretty. In the pages where I laid out the lyrics, I thought it would be a fun idea to make little album covers of each song so that the reader could also have a visual to match with the music.

As a fan, I’m the first to say that it was a great idea Sharyn!

Thank you, Francis… (smiling)

What are your favorite hobbies?

My favorite hobbies are writing, playing the piano, surfing the net, lounging, traveling, reading magazines (!), buying CDs, and anything creative.

If you have to describe yourself in a few lines, what would say about you?Hmm… I’m really silly. I feel like I’m a down to earth person… I like to treat everyone I meet with respect and have found that’s the best way to get it in return. I like to laugh a lot (so people tell me.) When I go out with my friends, they say I’m the life of the party… Thing is, I’m usually just chillin’ at home. I’m in love with love, music, nature and all beautiful and simple things that bring true joy.

Anything else you want to talk about?

I just want to say thank you to all the people who have touched my life in a positive way. Every single person who has taken the time to share their thoughts with me on how the music has connected with them makes everything that I have to do… worth it. Also, to all the fans who haven’t got the album yet, “Whattaya waiting for?” (winks)

And to all the people who don’t know how to get to my online home, all you gotta do is go to your browser, type in www.sharyn.net  and come on in. My home is your home. You’re always welcome and I wanna see you there!

Thank you so much Sharyn for accepting this interview.

Thank you, Francis. I had fun.

I appreciate you for being real in your reviews and for giving light to the new music that is being brought to the Freestyle Community. Much luv *



Miguel Reyes

Interviews & Profiles
“ Miguel Reyes ”
by: Francis Tanneur


Miguel, could you tell us a little bit more about you?

I am living in South Florida. I have a City job in community services division.
Hobbies include karate and swimming.

So, your career began in 1990 under the label Afecta Records with the first song “Remember the days” by Full Afekt (you were the lead singer of this band from Philly). How did you get involved in this project?

Yes, I was the lead singer.

Robert (Pacheco), Bobby (Rodriguez) and Larry (Webb) wanted to start forming a group and I met them through a mutual friend, and I was told they were looking for a lead singer. I sent them a demo when they heard my demo I got involved and that is when “Full Afekt” was born.

What was the part of each of them inside Afecta Records?

Bobby was the engineer, Robert was also involved in the production (assistant to Bobby), Larry was the DJ, and I the singer.

During the Afecta Records period, it was also the birth of an another terrific singer: Sammy Cazio Roman. How did you meet him?

I met Sammy through one of his friends who worked at a record store.

Is it by chance if both of you did start your career the same year, but not on the same label?(PS: Sammy C sang and produced in 1990“In your eyes” on his own label Hot Streak records)No. In my opinion I think it was a great experience for the both of us and brought us together.  

The end of the year 1992 marks the release of your next title “Don’t leave me now” but also and unfortunately the ending of Afecta records. What happened to Afecta records?

Everyone just decided to go their own way. Why? Costs, no distributors, it was too much for us to handle on our own.

Why did you make this kind of “retirement” between 1993 and 1994?

I took time to write, practicing my craft, and waited for an opportunity.

  At the end of 1994, it’s your come back as a solo artist with this wonderful gem “Those were the times”, and also your first single with Tazmania Records. How was this tune born and how has your collaboration been with this productive and excellent label from Philadelphia?Sammy was signed to the Label and guided me in talking to the producer – as I understood it at the time, they were interested in me and that is how I got involved with them. “Those Were the Times” was just a song that was created during my “absence”.

Your song “Those were the times” has been a hit during a big part of the year 1995. What were your feelings about this success?

I was very, very surprise, I never expected that any of my work would ever become a success as “Those were the times” did.

In your opinion, why did people react so well to your track?

The song “Those were the times” is a type of song everyone from any age can relate to, that’s why the song did so well; it was a different type of approach.

Many people discovered your amazing and unique voice. When did you start practicing? And through the years, did you feel the necessity to improve your voice?I’ve always loved to sing since a very young age. It wasn’t until high school when my teacher discovered my voice and basically guided me in the right direction. There is always a necessity to improve ones own voice. I think I have done some improving.Is it true that if you pursue a singing career it is due to your music teacher Charles Paul?Yes. He saw something in me that I didn’t see and he helped me bring it out.  

This person seemed to have a big influence on you?

Yes. Mr. Paul was not just a teacher. He was a good friend.

Also, in 1995, you were nominated “Hottest male vocalist” for the “Freestyle awards” (DMA magazine). How can we react to this kind of recognition from the professionals and especially from the Freestyle fans?

I was surprise considering the competition. Yet it is good to know that there are “professionals” and fans out there that look out for new talent.

Year after year, you’ve stayed faithful to Freestyle music.

I don’t think that i’ve stayed faithful to it. I think that I just haven’t been able to re-direct myself to a different style of music as of yet.

Why did you choose this music to start your career?

I grew up during the peak of the freestyle area, and was inspired by the new sound, which I later continued to pursue.

Did you always want to become a singer?



I just love to sing it relaxes me and makes me feel good and happy. It’s a gift the God has given me.

If you hadn’t begun a singer career, would you have finished as a Karate champion? Am I right… or is Karate just a hobby?

I have only been good at only two things in my life and that is music and martial arts.

When one of my favorite hobbies fail, I have another to fall back on.

Do you prefer to be considered as a Freestyle or as a Dance music artist?

A Dance music artist.

  In May 1996, it’s the consecration of Miguel Reyes with the release of your splendid album “May & everything after” on Tazmania Records/Metropolitan Records.Yeah that was my sweat and hard work all put into that album.Why did you write or co-wrote yourself most of the songs featured on your album?Actually, I wrote most of them all except for 1 or 2. I wrote them on my own because it was my goal to take freestyle to another level with my form of writing.

Why did the release of this album take so much time? This album was completed in September 1995, right?

It was the record company, when the song “ Those were the times” got dropped from the play list on B-96 from Chicago, Metropolitan Records decided not to release the album. What they should have done was promote the 2nd single “Someday” as a follow up to “Times.” The release of the album was due to an article written of myself on DMA, which gave Metro a bad reputation as a label. They really did not have much of a choice. I owe special thanks to the writer, Doug Bump. If it weren’t for him there would not have been an album.

Could you let us know about the photo collage on the back cover of the CD?

It was of my friends and family and all the people that were behind me since day 1. I wanted them to be apart of what I was experiencing and going to experience.

I’m sure that at this period Tazmania producers were very proud and happy to release your album. But at the same time, I was very astonished by the stupid decision made by Tazmania Records or Metropolitan Records (I don’t know!) to release your next two singles “You’re my everything” and “Because of you” on some EP editions which featured other Freestyle artists from Taz. Do you think that it’s the best thing to do, to promote your talent and album?

I wasn’t too happy with the EP idea, but at that time my opinions and concerns did not matter to the label.

Why did you decide to leave Tazmania Records?

It was time to move on to BETTER and new things.

After you said goodbye to Tazmania Records, what did you do?

I got married and had a family. I put music on hold for just little bit.

In 1998, you were supposed to release “Feel like the first time” (produced by JJ Flores and “Tim Spinnin’ Schommer”) on Throb Records, a label located in the suburb of Chicago. Why was this project miscarried?

I have no idea what happened! At one point, Freestyle was great then totally died in Chicago and I think that was their decision on putting the project to the rest.

Did you need a freethinker after this failure?

No, I needed to get connected with the right people and only the way to do that was by taking time to pick and choose the right projects and only SERIOUScontenders.

At this precise moment, what was your look on the Freestyle music business?

A great experience.

After this new absence of 2 years, Miguel Reyes is back in 2000/2001 with a Progressive Freestyle remix of “Those were the times” available on the awesome compilation “The SBP Product” distributed by Silverback Records. What were your motivations to re-release this hit 6 years after?

We were trying a new wave with a new generation.

How did you get in touch with Silverback Records’ producers? And why did you accept to work with them?

I decided to work with, Josey (Santos) from Silverback Records because it was a non-exclusive deal, and I had nothing to loose. He asked me if I wanted to do a remix of “Those were the Times.” I simply said, “as long as you provide for studio time here in Miami, I said yes! Let’s do it and see what happens.”

Who was your main influence?

My lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

What is your “all time” favorite Freestyle song?

I don’t have a favorite song. I enjoy listening to songs that just don’t sound cheesy.

C’mon Miguel, don’t you really have any favorite Freestyle song?

O.K, one of my all time favorite freestyle song would have to be, “In the name of love,” by Charlie Babie.

What his your favorite style of Freestyle (Latin Hip-Hop, Progressive Freestyle, etc.)?



I will always be a fan of old school freestyle, but for the freestyle market to survive it has to change even the title freestyle has to change it needs to be taken to another level. Most radio stations play the old school stuff, the only people that benefits off old school airplay are the publishers not the artist. We are in the year 2001, I think it’s about time to make a change in the dance market.

Over 10 years, what is your best and your worst souvenir in Freestyle music?

The responses I still get from the fans.

What is your worst?

My worst is not seeing any royalties of my past work, while everyone else still is.

In your opinion, why has Freestyle music become an underground music?

Because it doesn’t get airplay.

Do you have any upcoming projects for this year 2001, a new single for instance?

Perhaps, we are taking it at one song at time.

What do you think of the current Freestyle scene and market?

I am not sure what is being played in other States, but here in Miami it’s all old school. You don’t hear too much of the new school.

What is the future of Freestyle music?

It has to change and be taken to another level.

What do you mean?

There is no future for freestyle. The old school era is gone, as we get older we change same applies in music. Trance, and Progressive is actually the new market for freestyle, it’s just a different tittle no one wants to hear or use the word freestyle anymore.

What would you change in the Freestyle industry today?

The change has already been made to Trance, Progressive, and disco house. I would like to make it more inspirational and motivated and not so much heartthrob.

What advice or message would you give to future artists?

Learn the business of music first and don’t ever sign anything without lawyer.

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community?

Stop hating, and start playing.

…And to your fans?

Thanks for all your support it has been greatly appreciated, love and peace and have a great 2001.

Thank you very much Miguel

No problem…






Chris Barbosa

Interview by: Francis Tanneur

How and when did you start in the music business? 

I was 22 years old. I started as a mobile DJ in the Bronx. Then I became a WKTU reporter. I would report my top 20 list to the station once a week, which kind of got me in with various record companies, as they would call me to promote their material. I would also make the rounds to the record companies to get my promotional records, and met a lot of people in the business. I met Nelson Cruz, a Billboard reporter at the time and we started hanging out. Then Nelson joined a Mobile DJ crew that I headed called “The New York City Mixologists”.

As Nelson and I made the rounds at the labels, we would frequently see Sergio Cossa and Curtis Urbina at Emergency Records.

They thought we where a couple of funny wise guys and offered to sign us as a comedy team to do some stuff with the Emergency Filmworks side of the company. So we signed a recording contract.  With time passing and no action on the Filmworks side of Emergency taking off yet, Sergio suggested for us to do a Rap record or something. Sergio brought an instrumental track back from Italy and I wrote a Rap over it called “The game of life” He thought it sounded good and brought us into the studio to record it. Meanwhile, at home, my grandmother lent me some money to purchase a keyboard (Roland JX-3P) and some other drum and Bass boxes (Roland TB 303).

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The Roland JX-3p
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The famous classic – Roland TB 303

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Although I had no formal musical training, I wanted to mess around with the stuff to entertain all these musical ideas I had in my head and make tracks that I could play along at the Mobile DJ gigs I had. The first night I got the stuff home, I composed the track “Fire on Ice” which was the track to “Let The Music Play”. As I would go to get records at the record companies, I would play the track for people and they thought it sounded pretty cool and different from what they normally would here. I played the track for Sergio and he loved it as well.

Well, back to the studio with Nelson. We where in recording the Rap and Sergio brought in Mark Liggett to be the producer. Mark had just finished producing a cut for Sergio so he decided to bring him in on this project. We gave the rap a go and it was coming out ok. At the end of the session, I pulled out the “Fire and Ice” track and played it for Liggett. He got very excited and said why are we working on the Rap record when this shows so much more promise. I said kool, Sergio already loves it. I also expressed that fact that I would have to be the producer on it as well as it was my baby and also my foot in the door to producing. He said kool, let’s tell Sergio that this is what we should be working on.

Sergio gave us the green light. Mark asked me if I had lyrics. I said no but I would try and write some. He asked if at the same time, he could give the track to a songwriter friend to see what he comes up with. I said sure, whoever writes the best song, no problem.He gave the track to Ed Chisolm and when I heard the song over the track, I was very excited. We had the song. It was originally titled “Love put us into a groove” but we renamed it to what we felt was the obvious hook, “Let The Music Play”. We held auditions for vocalists. Shannon Green was the first to try out.The rest is history…. shan.jpg (42672 bytes)

I’m just curious, what was exactly the meaning of “The New York City Mixologist” (your mobile DJ crew) ?

Well, nothing too special. Just that “Mixologist” meaning an expert at mixing as in mixing records.  

How did a mobile DJ become a producer ? What was your main motivation ?

Basically, back then, like today, in fact today more than ever, as a DJ, you know what moves your crowd. The idea was to create beats and grooves that I could use to mix in and out of the records I was playing. I really didn’t buy the equipment to produce records but to just play live as I DJ’s. 

Could you tell us what is exactly the work of a producer ?

Well, the textbook definition of the “Producer” is the person who is basically responsible for the delivery of the master recording to the person or company that hires you. This means that you need to do anything and everything in you power to get the job done whether you do everything yourself or hire the people to do it. In Dance music particularly, most producers are also the arrangers (the person who actually comes up with the musical parts and ideas) This is not necessarily a requirement to be the producer. You can come up with all, some or none of the musical ideas just as long as you cause it to happen. The producer gets the glory if it’s a hit and gets the blame when it’s a stiff.

A   natural instinct being a DJ at the time. DJ’s where who you hired to do remixes. I started out as a DJ so it made sense. We had our DJ remixer in-house.

But for most of your production you also did the remix part of the work ? Why?

A   natural instinct being a DJ at the time. DJ’s where who you hired to do remixes. I started out as a DJ so it made sense. We had our DJ remixer in-house.

What is your criterion of selection when you decide to produce or remix an artist?

Song quality, singer and budget.

Are you also interested in the writing, or maybe by starting a singing carrer ?

Singing, no! Writing, of course, that’s been an important part of my career from the start.

What is the difference between a good producer and a bad one ?

The most important thing I think is how important the producer regards both the song quality and the vocal performance. 

Please, could you be more specific?

Anybody can sit and baby-sit good musicians playing parts on a song. What is important is how good the song is that the producer chooses to work on. Also, after a great song is chosen, a good producer will work hard with the lead vocalist to get the best vocal performance possible. A great song with a great singer will make most producers shine. 

In 1983, your producer’s career really began with “Let The Music Play” by Shannon on Emergency Records. This song was a huge international hit, is there any particular reason for this big success?

Who knows the reason for anything really? I could only echo other opinions I have heard as to why it happened so big.

1. The sound was fresh and new. Most beats at the time weren’t as syncopated as this track had. Mostly 4 on the floor stuff.
2. The bottom line is that the song had a hell of a hook.
3. Mostly LUCK

Do you think that this international success was because the song and the style of Shannon sounded different for the music lovers? And maybe the people expected something new musically talking?

Yes, I think so. Everybody was ready for some new ear candy. 

What are you thinking about the Y2K versions of ” Give Me Tonight” and “Let The Music Play” by Shannon on Contagious Records?

I loved the “Give Me Tonight” remix. I thought it sounded great. I just recently heard the “Let The Music Play”  remix and thought it was cool too but definitely liked the “Give Me Tonight” one better. 

Do you still work with Shannon? We didn’t see any new track from you on her recent album “The Best Is Yet To Come” ?

Shannon and I are very kool with each other. If the opportunity arises to work with her on something new again, it will happen. It just depends on how interested the record company is in the idea of putting us back together again for something new. I’m here, waiting and ready for whatever. I dream of the day that someone would have me write and produce a song in the old Shannon style and produce it with the same formula including using Jimi Tunnel on backgrounds etc. The works. The real Shannon 2000 so to speak. Can you imagine?

What does “Ligosa” mean?

Simply, Ligosa is a combination of the LIG in LIGgett and the OSA in BarbOSA. Nothing exciting and a pretty stupid sounding name I always thought but it stuck… 

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Why and when did you launch Ligosa Records?We started the label so we didn’t have to go out and shop every master we did. Probably the same reasons that why most producers and production companies do it. Creative control, more potential profits and to gain the experience of that side of the business. Our first release was “My heart gets all the breaks” by Monet in 1986, and was pretty successful.
Find Monet on the 80′s Dance Trax CD 

What were exactly the functions of Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa inside the Ligosa team?

Rather than break it down record to record and part to part, let’s just say one could not function without the other in that particular relationship in the delivery of those records. Regardless of whoever came up with most of the ideas on a particular song, the final outcome was always affected by the both of us. In general I could tell you that usually I would start with the bottom (Street) aspect of the records. Drums, Bass, groove and Marks embellishments would come over that with the more poppy radio ish overdubs. A good combination of 2 different worlds. He may have been on the phone more than me and me burning the midnight oil on the dub edits etc. more than him. But remember what I said about what a producer’s job is! Whatever it takes to deliver the finished master. One can’t function without the other.  

Do you think that being complementary in the work was the key for the success of your partnership?

Yes, as well as the mutual respect we had for each other at the time.  

Could you let us know what was the most successful record for Ligosa Records?

Probably – “Bad of the heart” George Lamond, but perhaps Monet’s “My heart gets all the breaks”. I don’t remember. 

Why did Ligosa Records definitively stop their activities after five years of existence (from 1986 to 1991)?

Lack of big enough hits, low activity (Not many records released). We were pretty occupied with George while he was on Columbia Records.  

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Can we expect, one day, to see Ligosa Records back on the Freestyle scene?

I wouldn’t count on the Ligosa imprint showing its face with anything new unfortunately. Those days are over L 

And at the same time Chris Barbosa and Mark Liggett split up, what really happened?

The answer to this question is what has taken me the longest to get this interview done with. At this point I really can’t even begin to get into it again. You are free to quote me from the DMA article where I covered this but really don’t want to hash over it again. All I will say is that Mark Liggett made certain decisions that would benefit him and not us as a team. His actions where not to my advantage and disregarded the 12 year relationship we had. I have never publicly bashed him and will not now so the details of what happened will remain personal and really doesn’t mater anyway. A sensitive area to say the least, but since I have moved on, I prefer to put the details behind me as well.

This is a good answer Chris, and I’m the first one to say that I totally respect it. So, after this sad separation, you didn’t opt for a solo career, but on the contrary, you did an another association with two producers/remixers: Lenny Holffman & Gaspare Valenti. Why?

They approached me to do some things with them. I found them to be very talented as well as good people. I felt we could do some cool things together and I’m happy we hooked up.

How did you get involved in this extraordinary project “We are the one’s” by Legends Of Style?

It was an idea I had for the longest. Over the years I gained relationships with all the artists so I was able to get them together for this. They thought it was a good idea that was never done before so I gave it a go.

How did you manage to rally all those Freestyle legends?

It was easy since I knew all of them and have worked with most of them in capacity or another. Surprisingly enough, It was relatively easy to get their schedules to jive and get it done. That part was pure luck since you can imagine they are all so busy. 

How was the recording at the studio?

Recording the legends of freestyle was an interesting procedure. Most of the artists sung their parts separately, sometimes with other artists present at the same time, sometimes alone. All the girls except for Brenda K. Starr did their background parts together then we added Brenda to the blend when she sang her lead. Same thing for the guys. They did their background parts together except for Tony Moran who also sung alone on another day. It all came together with the magic of mixing.

Why did this great record not encounter a larger audience? Is it a question of distribution?

Not really, distribution was set up to handle the record if it took off. It was radio’s unfortunate abandonment of New Freestyle music. I am truly surprised that that record didn’t get the radio play one would expect on a record with all those power house Freestyle artists weather one thought the song was strong or not.

I’m very intrigued by the Freestyle world because it’s certainly one of the genres that doesn’t possess any real structure! You don’t have any specialized distributor; the record companies have difficulties to sell their productions whereas the retail stores don’t understand why it is so difficult to get them. Weird isn’t it?

Yes, there seems to be a demand for it on one end but no answer to meet that demand in the sense of record companies releasing quality material and radio stations willing to play it.

After all these years, you continue to manage and produce this terrific artist called George Lamond. How and when did you get in touch with him; and why you are so involved in his career?

Well, as for being so involved in his career, the simple fact that I am his manager explains that. I met George whatever year it was that I signed him. I believe it was around 1987. I was played a demo of his stuff by Marilyn Rodriguez (Writer of “No reason to cry” by Judy Torres and” I won’t stop loving you” by C-Bank. By the way, “No reason to cry” was a ballad demos by George before it was given to Judy to be cut as a Freestyle song) I thought George was a great talent so I signed him. The rest is as they say, “history”!

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Do we stand a chance to see you produce the next Freestyle single of George Lamond? As for instance, a single release of “Just in time” or “Someone like you” available on his compilation!

If and when George records more Freestyle, chances are good that I will do some of it. Let’s hope he does more stuff. I know he wants to so when the right opportunity arises, it will happen.

Since the beginning of your carrer, you worked with such great artists as Shannon, Monet, Fascination, Jason Tomi, Luis Damon, Cynthia, Sa-Fire, Jay Novelle, Jimi Tunnel, Judy Torres, Patti Day, Zee, Ray Guell… Is it easier to work with male singers, females singers or group ?

Probably male vocalists are the easier to work with. They aren’t as demanding and particular as most female artists I have worked with. Of course there are exceptions to that rule. Bands are the hardest as you need to try and satisfy more than one person. That’s usually impossible.

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Most of the titles that you produced (with or without Mark Liggett) contain fat rhythm beat. How did you create this sound that certain other professionals tried to plagiarize, in vain?

If you are referring to the actual programming of the rhythms, then all I can say is it is just what’s in me growing up on Salsa, Pop & R&B. If, when you say Fat rhythms you’re referring to the size of the drum sounds themselves, It started with “Let the music play” I wanted to mimic the ambient sound that “Looking for the perfect beat” by Soul Sonic Force had in that part of the song when they say “Beat this” As a DJ, I always liked how big that part sounded. With the Shannon record, it was the first time to my knowledge that such an ambient drum sound was used for the whole record, not just in one section. I played the Soul Sonic Force snippet to Liggett and Rod Hui (Engineer and listed co-producer on the Shannon song) Rod went to work trying to mimic that sound with Liggett on shotgun with his studio experience and the hybrid ambient drum sound on Shannon was born. We simply continued the process after that. Then when sampling came along, it was even easier for us to attain as well as anyone else at that point who just had to sample it if they wanted it.

At the present time, there are more women in the business on the Freestyle scene? Why are the male singers so rare?

I’m not sure. Perhaps some guys feel like Freestyle songs touch too often on romance, tragedy and emotions that would require them to tap into their feminine side. We must be true to the macho thing right? 

Throughout the years you remained faithful to this music, why?

Although I dabbled, unsuccessfully in other musical areas and feel I have the chops to go other places, my success has always been with Freestyle and dance music in general. Plus, I really do love it.

How did you get involved on some singles or LP’s with such non-Freestyle artists like Billy Idol, George Michael / Queen, New Kids On The Block, The Spinners, Public Enemy, etc.? Why this personal choice?

Any opportunity to work with such great names as you have mentioned is a great opportunity. We where hired to do stuff for them based on our success with Shannon. When you’re the flavor of the month and the phone is ringing, you strike when the iron is hot.

A lot of Freestyle amateurs say that it’s the only music with a soul and a meaning, while others who are not very familiar with this music say that Freestyle is old-fashioned and cheesy! What is your opinion?

I believe it is music with a soul and a meaning but not the only music like that. As for old-fashioned and cheesy, some of it was. I suppose everyone’s right to an extent.

In the Eighties, this music was called Latin Hip-Hop, and now Freestyle? Why?

Beats me??? Somebody just named it Freestyle for a reason and it stuck…

Any idea of who did that first?

Not really. I have heard of a few people claim to be the pioneers of Freestyle in a recent Freestyle chat room bulletin board  but I really don’t know who coined the phrase.

“Let the music play” by Shannon was the first Latin Hip-Hop/Freestyle song. Is it true?

Yes and No. I believe it was one of the first Dance records to incorporate a syncopated kick drum pattern, but I’m not sure that alone constitutes Freestyle. I do agree that it could be in the Freestyle category. 

Why did Freestyle music become an underground music?

Because of the vast number of Freestyle followers there still are and that fact that radio has abandoned this format except for the classics. “Underground” so to speak I guess is the only way to get it…

What do you think of the new Freestyle sound (Progressive Freestyle)? Is there a real market for this genre?

It’s kool. Some overuse of Planet Rock I suppose but then again that’s what they want. Give it to them. Yes, I think there is an apparent market for it.

Which songs or artists in Progressive Freestyle did you like recently?

Sonique is definitely kool. Also La Rissa, etc…

Year after year, Freestyle music seems to have lost an important element: the Latin flavor. Is it because there are less Latinos in the Freestyle business?

That’s possible, but probably not. In some cases, things just seem to have gotten more Techno based and electronic paying less attention to the rhythms.

In your eyes, what was (were) the best year(s) for Freestyle? Why?

The early nineties seem to be the best days of freestyle simply because that’s when it was most popular here in the US. 

What do you think of the comeback of the legendary TKA? Is it good for the image and the future of Freestyle music?

Yes I think it’s great. They are Freestyle legends and their return definitely strengthens the Genre.

Do you miss the Latin Hip-Hop genre?

That’s a question for them not me. I would like to think so. 

Which artist or band would you love to work with?

In a non-Freestyle mode, Jennifer Lopez, Christine Aguilar etc. Same artists most people would love an opportunity to produce.

Your last Freestyle project (two years ago) was for a very talented artist called Shawn Michael, “From this moment on”; Could you let us know why this fantastic song and artist never found a label ?

What can I say? It happens everyday. Some people loved it. Some people didn’t like it enough to commit to it. I’m not sure it was really shopped thoroughly enough. Perhaps it was. Who will ever know? All you can do is move on to the next thing and hope for the best. Best of luck to Shawn.

Shawn Michaels’ project never got released as a single ! Why is it so difficult for a new artist to get a record deal, even if the singer is full of talent…as Shawn (one of the most beautiful voice and great artist at the present time) ?

It has always been hard to get noticed in the Rec biz. It always will be. Freestyle has an even harder time getting noticed and taken seriously due to the lack of support at radio these days. I think that with that in mind, most record co. are putting out these compilations as a more affordable way to give multiple artists shot.

What is the future for Chris Barbosa? Do we have the chance to see you back more active in Freestyle music?

Sure, hopefully in 2001. I got sidetracked with my son a little here in 2000 but have some good plans for next year in Freestyle as well as other types of music. Mostly writing.

Why have you been so discreet in the business these lasts past years ?

Lamond management; my new family and that fact that I always have been somewhat discrete. I have always flown in low under the radar.

Are you working on any new Freestyle project(s) ?

I’ve been approached to do a Freestyle remake album with Classic Freestyle artists. Producing up to date versions of their hits. Let’s hope it happens.

I would love to send some of the mixes to Patrice in France for some of his awesome edit work. I think he’s a genius. I would love to work with him. It takes a lot to impress me. ( You know Chris, you certainly are the only person to possess all the remixes done by Patrice (a French DJ specialized in editing). And you will be (maybe) the only one ‘cause the professionals that I contact seem not to care about his talent. Or maybe they don’t like edits anymore?! Anyway, he will be very happy and proud to work with you in the future. So, don’t hesitate to ask him…some work!

What do you think of the Freestyle scene ?

It seems to have a pretty strong following underground as you have mentioned. I hope it gets better. I hope it comes back to the surface again. By that time, if I’m not walking around with a cane trying to find my teeth, perhaps I could make a comeback J

Do you still see a market ?

At one point I thought “No” but I really do now as I see the reaction when George performs his classics at the clubs. I see the hunger in the audience for more. I think so… Yes.

What would you change in the Freestyle industry today ?

Aside from waving a magic wand and bringing it back to the popularity level it once enjoyed, I wouldn’t change much about it. Let it evolve. The younger ears are hearing something different then what we where hearing so let all the new school styles flow. Just keep some “New” old school stuff coming for the die-hards.

What advice or message would you give to future artists/producers ?

Work hard at your craft. Strive for great songs and good sounding productions. Producers, work with great singers. Let’s get the quality back. Most importantly Song, Song, Song!

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community ?

Although by choice I don’t really have that much of a “Visual presence” on the Freestyle scene like other producers, understand that it is in no way a Dis to the style of music. I just am more on the Down low because that’s just me. I love the music and very much appreciate all the support I get from everyone who has expressed their admiration for my work. Thanks to all…

Thank you Chris for arranging this interview…


Carlos Berrios

Interview by Francis Tanneur

“Photo courtesy of groovemagazine.com.
No unauthorized reproduction allowed.”

Could you tell us a little bit more about you?

I was born in Bogota (Colombia) to a Colombian Mother and a Peruvian father. Apparently my parents, who were already living in New York at the time, thought it would be a good idea if I were born in South America. Soon after I was born, we all came back to New York. That’s where I was raised. In Flushing, New York. My father left us when I was about six years old. When I was 15 years old my mother, stepfather and brother moved a few miles away to Rego Park, where I’ve been ever since. I have a small studio in my apartment where I do most of my work now. But in the early days I spent most of my time at the world famous Unique Recording Studios in Manhattan.


How and when did you start in the music business?

My love with music started when I was very young. Do you want to hear the story from the beginning?


Yes please!!!

Well, one of my earliest memories involves attending a Boys Club dance in Flushing, Queens. I was about twelve or thirteen years old and I was handed a flyer for the jam in the street. When I walked into the gym, which is where the dance was held, I realized that I was the only non-black person in the room. Except for this one old white man in a white, Saturday Night Fever, three piece suit. He was dancing in the middle of a circle of hoods, which were having fun with him. They weren’t hurting him or anything. They were just laughing and having a good time. The old man was having a great time too. I walked over to the DJ area and noticed that they tried really hard to block him off. But I was able to see enough when he slipped on a record called “Super sperm” by Captain Skyy. He started spinning back the break and it was the first time I ever saw anything like that. I stood there for several hours watching him spin. I also noticed that he had certain records where the label was blackened out. This was so that no other DJ could get that record if they didn’t already know what it was. I learned later how competitive DJ’s could be.


This experience led me to want to be a DJ myself. Especially when I started to go to house parties where the DJ’s always looked so cool to me. I always wanted to touch the platter. But I had to learn how to DJ first. So I begged this guy who was a few years older than I was, from the neighborhood. Rick used to have a crew called “Maximum Force”. I would beg him to teach me how to DJ, but he would wave me off because I was just a punk kid who was being annoying. But I got him one day when he wasn’t doing anything and convinced him to take me up to his apartment, where he kept his equipment. That was my first experience with a turntable. I was pretty good too. After that I begged and begged my mother to get me turntables, which was pretty selfish of me because we never really had money. After my father left us we even had to go on welfare for a while. But somehow, my mom managed to keep our place nice and we never went hungry. After my mom got her first job with decent pay, my brother and I became latch key kids. That’s a whole other story.


But one day my mother walked in with two Technics boxes. SL-5100’s. The first quartz lock model that Technic’s made. They were incredible turntables. So of course, I paid my mother back by cutting out of school in order to practice on my new turntables. I used to practice at least eight hours a day. Then when I got really good I was asked to play at parties. This was always exciting for me because it always felt as though I was performing. The house parties in my neighborhood were always a bit dangerous though. They always ended in a brawl or worse. One night I was playing a house party when I realized that someone had stolen one of my Pizo tweeters. At the same time, one of the leaders of a gang called the “20 Crew” strolled in and saw that I was upset. I told him what had happened and he started a melee that ended in a shootout. I was only fourteen.


Later when I had moved to Rego Park. I only had one friend left. Rick, the guy who taught me how to DJ. One late night we decided to check out my new neighborhood, when we came across a group of guys as we tried to cross through a schoolyard. One of them stood up and asked what we were doing in his neighborhood. When I explained that I had just moved into the neighborhood, he looked at my jacket, which said “After Dark Crew” and asked if it was a gang. I said no. It’s the name of my DJ crew. He asked me if I had protection. I said no. He asked if I wanted some. I said okay. He stood up, took a can of spray paint from his back pocket and wrote “After Dark Crew” on the back of his jacket. “I’m with you now”, he said. Jesus Sanes was the toughest kid I ever knew. With the biggest heart. He was killed years later by his girlfriend’s uncle, shot in the head.


But “After Dark” started on that night. Before that it was only a name. After that it became a family. At one time we had about forty members. And no one could fuck with us. We got into all kinds of scrapes and we never lost a fight. And the music was always good. We even had groupies. A crew of girls that would take care of us that we called “The Krizzles”.


It was about this time that I started wanting more excitement in my life. So I started stealing cars for kicks. Just to joyride in and then leave them somewhere. When my best friend Rick found out he yelled at me. He was the older brother that I didn’t have. Then my mother felt that she couldn’t control me anymore and asked my father to take over. At that time he was working for a company called “Morrison Knudsen” based out of Boise, Idaho. The largest construction company in the world. They had jobs going on in different countries around the world. My father’s next job was taking him to Barranquilla, Colombia. The country where I was born. So both my Mother and Father thought it would be a good idea for me to leave New York for a while.


I went kicking and screaming. Crying. I was in love with my first girlfriend and “After Dark” was my family. But leaving New York was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was in Colombia that my music career started.


What did you do exactly in Colombia, before going back to the United States?

Well, my experience in Colombia was extraordinary. From the moment the plane landed I knew that this was going to be a very different existence. As soon as we landed, the plane was escorted on both sides by jeeps with machine guns on tripods. We learned that we were going to be staying at the largest and oldest hotel in the city, “El Prado”. The hotel was huge and even had a concert hall by the pool in the middle of the courtyard, where they held concerts. While we were there, we got to see Julio Iglesias and Gloria Gaynor. We were warned not to travel outside of the hotel at night because it was dangerous. Eventually we met the other American families staying in the hotel and became friends with the other kids. We would all take turns buying meals for the group and signing the checks to our rooms because the company was paying for everything. It took several months before the company and our parents caught on and stopped it. We ate real well for a while. When the time came to go to school I learned that my brother and I would be attending a college prep school called Karl C. Parrish. I might as well tell you right now that I was a terrible student. But a big part of that was my rebelliousness at the time. I just felt so out of place. Only rich Colombian kids went to this school. So you would see things like the kids being driven to school by chauffeurs in BMW’s and Jaguars. The American kids were all picked up by a company school bus. The whole thing was weird.


Jumping ahead about a year. I eventually made friends with people and found that I wanted to experience Colombia a little more. So I started to change as a person. After the first school year I went back to New York for summer vacation and found a different place than I had remembered. Some friends had died, been killed, some friends were still on the path tonowhere and my best friends, the other leaders of the After Dark Crew, had moved on with their lives.


When I left New York again, I had a different purpose. I didn’t want to take my real turntables so I bought two new ones and a clubman mixer. I took a suitcase full of the newest records with me. When I got back to Colombia I found the most popular nightclub and went there on a Friday night. I sat at the bar and watched the dance floor all night. I saw that they weren’t mixing the records at all. They would just let one end and the people on the dance floor would applaud and then the next record would play. The next night I went early in the hope that I might speak to the manager. I sat at the bar for a while and this guy comes up to use the phone. So I ask him if he was the manager and he asks me, why. So I tell him that I’m from New York and that I’m a DJ and how I was there the night before and that the music was terrible that the DJ was terrible and that I had all the newest records and DJ equipment back at my apartment. So he asks me if I wanted to bring the stuff to the club that night. I said sure. I asked him who he was and he tells me he was the DJ. I was so embarrassed. But to his credit, he wasn’t offended, he was curious. We went and got the gear and records and carried it all into the nightclub, which was already open for business. I set everything up and had to switch the system. I waited until the record that was playing ended. Then I unplugged their system and plugged mine in.


I played for several hours with my new friend watching in amazement because he had never seen anyone blend records before. The dance floor was packed for hours until finally people started jamming the DJ booth asking for the tape that was playing. It created quite a scene, sothe club owner came and asked what was going on. So my friend explained to him what we had done. He looks at me and offers me a job on the spot. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes so I said that I would teach Tony and help out, but that all I wanted was to come and go in the club whenever I wanted and he agreed. He offered me full access to the club with drinks on the house for me, and any guests that I may want to bring. I was 14 years old. That started my nightclub life. And to top that off I found out that my new friend, Tony Jimenez, was the music programmer for the biggest radio station in that city; Universal Stereo. We had a great time playing the clubs and eventually Tony became a great DJ. I told Tony about the Latin Rascals and how they edited tape and did master mixes for the original KTU radio station in New York. He convinced me to try and edit tape at the radio station. But what he did was to borrow a reel to reel from the radio station on loan and ordered an edit-all edit block from Miami. And that’s how I learned how to edit. I made my first edit mix in Colombia. Tony had it aired on the radio station and it was just like a New York weekend mix party. I was in the music biz!


Even though, you had already produced some songs, you did a lot of editing. Why did you make that choice?

I don’t remember making those kinds of decisions at that time. I wasn’t in the position yet where I could turn down any work. But most of the work that came my way was for editing because that’s how I had made my name, initially. My entire career was built on whatever happened to be available to me at any given moment. I took advantage of it all. A time for me to learn. At the age of 21 I married a girl from Laredo, Texas. I had gone to Texas after my time in Colombia because I wasn’t ready to go back to New York. My family wasn’t as supportive as it could’ve been at that time because all they remembered were the troublemakers that my little brother and I were, before we left to Colombia. They thought we were the same little hoods from before. But my experience in Colombia definitely changed me. I had ambition now. I decided that I wanted to go to college, and it was decided that I would go Texas where my uncle was a professor of Sociology at a junior college. I figured I would study for two years there and then transfer to Texas A&M. But I was side tracked when I found a break-dance troupe at the mall and ended up joining them and then touring Texas. We won a lot of trophies. In year two I moved out of my uncles home, because he was too strict, and I moved in with a Puerto Rican family originally from Chicago.  I became one of the older brothers in a family of five. I had chores like mowing the lawn and fixing the truck. I almost killed myself doing both. I was dating a lot but ended up falling in love with a Mexican girl. I married her in Chicago on the way back to New York. I didn’t tell anyone until I arrived in New York and introduced everyone to my wife. I was 20 years old.


When I got back to New York I had to get a job to start supporting my wife. My first job was sweeping LaGuardia Airport. All of it. My friend’s father in-law was the night crew boss; so trust me, I did as little work as humanly possible. My wife and I had to live with another one of my friends until I could get on my feet. I eventually got a job at a Steel Company as a manager in the expediting department; even though I didn’t have a clue as to what I was supposed to be doing. I managed to hold on to that job for about six months before I was exposed and then fired. I had the most well organized file cabinet when I left though. Then I managed to land a job as a bank teller in Citibank.


Around this time I was hanging out with another DJ, Louie Martinez, who was working as an assistant at “Sync Sound” in Manhattan. Sync Sound is the top mixing studio for film and television in New York. From the moment I walked into that place I knew that I wanted to get in that business. This in turn convinced me to attend the “Institute of Audio Research” in Greenwich Village and this is where I met Norty Cotto. I used to show up to class with a hang over and copy all of his homework. Because I never did mine. I didn’t graduate because I got into a fight with the editing teacher; but Norty did. Norty was the first person to offer me paid work, first as an editor, then as a producer.  He had met a bootlegger that wanted to put out some mixes. So I put together a mix that ended up on vinyl as “Bits & Pieces 86”. I also did “Bits & Pieces 87”. Norty and I never got paid for them.


But this opened other doors for me and I found that could make a small living editing. It wasn’t until I met Omar Santana that I got the bug to create music. Watching him work was a fantastic learning experience. Spending time with him in the studio. This of course affected my marriage. My wife from never really understood what I was trying to do. So after several breakups, we parted ways for good.


Omar & I started “The Hit Squad”. Together we edited many records for artists like, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Samantha Fox, and of course several Freestyle and Hip Hop acts.


Could you tell us what the work of editing entails?

Editing is a technique that has many functions. The most important is the structuring or restructuring of a song or track when it’s necessary to extend it to a club version that a D.J. can play or to shorten it so that it doesn’t go over the 4 minute limit that radio stations insist on. It also is a way of piecing together a coherent flow from different kinds of mixes. Editing was different when I first started. We used to edit on 1/2 inch tape with a razor blade and an “Edit All” edit block. We were hired by producers who would hand us as many as twelve reels of recorded tape with very different mix variations of the same song. Each reel had about 4 songs on it so if you do the math…. We did a lot of listening before we cut.


How would you define the importance of your job?

Before the advent of ProTools it was the only way to alter the structure of a mix. The editor had to physically handle the master tape with his hands. So record companies only trusted a select few with these masters that cost sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce. If you think about it, it seems significant that the editors who made their mark innovating the art of editing were all Latino: Santana, Nuñez, Moran, Cabrera, Berrios, etc.


Do you think that there is any particular reason that the Latinos seemed to be more innovating and interested by “The art of editing”?

I think that it was an extension of the times. The whole Hip Hop movement was under way and radio was exciting in a way that is impossible today. There was a creative renaissance happening that Blacks and Latinos were on the cusp of. That’s because the hippest clubs at that time were the urban clubs like The Roxy, The Funhouse, Disco Fever, etc. Scratching, break dancing, graffiti. It was a time when we were coming up with all kinds of ways to express ourselves. It really says a lot about where we were at that time. It was a very creative time for us. It’s almost impossible for that sort of thing to happen again in the same way because the culture won’t allow it at the moment. Radio is stagnant and boring, clubs are boring everything is boring.


Am I right if I say that an editor could be considered as a kind of musical composer? I mean, technically, you compose different sound effects!

An ordinary editor’s job was simply to arrange pieces of recorded tape so that changes would occur, if it was called for, every 4, 8, or 16 bars. The thing with us is that we weren’t ordinary editors. Between us, we edited just about every record that came out in the 80’s. Along the way we added more and more of ourselves until finally, we were allowed to perform as artists. Special bonus beats comprised of little slices of tape, pasted together to create a sonic rhythmic pattern that was far from the producer’s original intended musical vision. We performed little editing masterpieces.


How do you decide the moment in the song where an edit or a series of effects will take place?

After a while it becomes instinct. Like when you compose a song. You can say, “I think the bridge should go here”. And then you try it. It’s all feel and instinct after a while. Sometimes the producer knows exactly what he wants. It depends on what the song needs. Sometimes it doesn’t need anything.


You already worked on more than 80 singles. How and where did you find the inspiration? And most importantly what is your secret to avoid repeating yourself, technically speaking?

My inspiration came from different places. I was inspired by Arthur Baker’s work, Chris Barbosa’s work, Omar’s work. The Rascal’s, Joey Gardner, Andy Panda. I loved all those guys. They were the era. I don’t remember the majority of the records I’ve worked on. But that’s because I was learning as I went and I was more concerned with not fucking anything up. So all my work was inspired by whatever I was doing at the moment. My entire experience as an editor and as a composer-producer was the learning process. My goal was to try and make it better than the last time, but always on my terms. I’ve always been known for experimenting. I was always creating weird and moody tracks that no record company wanted to sign. If it wasn’t for Brian Chin, who was working at Profile Records at the time; if he hadn’t signed “Make Noise”, both Lisette Melendez and myself would probably not had the careers that we did. It all started with “Make Noise”. The fact that it got picked up gave me the encouragement to continue to experiment, to try and find my voice. 


As an editor, which important factors determine your choice of working on a song?

I don’t think that I was ever picky. I worked on some big Artist’s records. But I also worked on records that never came out, with terrible vocals and ridiculously bad mixes. I remember looking at it as a sacrifice. Paying my dues. Also, I had to take every job that came my way in order to finance the demos for my later productions. I survived gig to gig. 


You sometimes teamed up with other professionals such as Henry Santos, Luis Martinez, Norty Cotto, Owen “O.S. Soba, Omar Santana, Tomax, to name a few. How is it possible to work with somebody who does the same job as you?

I think that it’s very difficult to work with other people. Whenever I worked with other people I always felt that they were doing it wrong and I was doing it right. But that’s because I had such a strong impulse when it came to music. I knew where I wanted my music to go. It didn’t always get there but I knew what I wanted. Or at least what I didn’t want. A lot of people base their feelings on what they know, based on what they’ve heard before. I based mine on what I wanted to hear. What I thought was right. And in a collaborative effort, this is the perfect recipe for conflict. And I’ve had conflict with just about every one of my partners. The two people I had the least conflict with was Omar (because I trusted him) and Franc. Reyes (because he trusted me).


Could you give us a few examples of how it works?

I’ll give you a few examples because they’re all different. Henry Santos was a kid from the neighborhood who wanted to edit on records. I heard his tape and thought it was pretty good. So I started using him on some of the records that I couldn’t do myself and made sure that he got the proper credit for it.


I also worked with a writer/artist named Tomax. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things but he’s the one that introduced me to Lisette Melendez. He wrote the lyrics to Make Noise and I also produced his record that was released on Fever Records called “Regrets Only”. I was hard to get along with at that time and we fought a lot.


Lisette and I were released from Profile and then we did “Together Forever” as a demo. “Together Forever” was originally created for Frankie Cutlass, who I met when he was in the group “& More”. I loved their song “You’ll never find another love” and when they recorded “Materialistic Girl” they hired me to mix and edit that single. We had always wanted to work together again and Frankie came to me with the idea of using the “Sing Sing” loop since I had already been experimenting combining Freestyle Beats with Hip Hop loops. The song was written by Franc. Reyes, Frankie Cutlass and myself. But after the song was written, Frankie realized that it was a girl’s song and he suggested that Lisette Melendez sing it instead.


How do each of you decide their tasks on the same project?

I always want to do everything myself. It’s a terrible habit that I’ve never been able to break. I have a terrible need to know how everything works and I want to be able to do everything myself if I have to. I have no idea where that comes from. But I think that it may have started when I was paying $30.00 an hour to rent a small studio in lower Manhattan to create demos. I remember getting frustrated with the engineer because he was always trying to correct me. I hated it and I didn’t know how to work around it. I always let it get to me and sometimes I would just give up. But when I started to make money, what I did was I asked this guy to teach me how to use his computer. Then I bought it from him. I never saw that guy again. That’s when it occurred to me that I should just put together my own studio and learn how to do everything myself.


In the span of your career you have edited and mixed a few tracks with Omar Santana who is considered by many fans as one of most talented and famous editors in Freestyle music. How did you meet him? Why did you decide to work with him?

I forget what year it was, but there was a summer that I had decided to teach myself how to edit more like the Latin Rascals. So I bought a small “Akai” reel to reel and an “Edit All” edit block and started splicing away. Eventually I had a few mixes that I transferred to cassette and handed out to my friends. They had a label in red letters that read “After Dark”. Well, one of these tapes ended up in Omar’s hands and he somehow tracked me down.


He sat in my room for about half an hour listening to me talk shit. He had come over with an acquaintance of mine but never bothered to introduce himself until he was almost out the door. I asked him, “what’s your name again”? He said, “Omar”. And I remember my instinct pushed me to ask, “Omar what?” And he said, “Santana”. I said, “Get the fuck out of here!” And he laughed. I never forget that. In that moment he said he loved my work and then asked me if I wanted to be his partner. I said, “Okay”.


Why did you say “Okay” immediately? You didn’t really know him at that time and you weren’t very familiar with his work were you? Any particular reasons?

I was very aware of the up and coming editors and he was the best of the unknown at that time. I had heard his work on Leather and Lace’s records and I remember having feelings of envy because not only was this new guy already doing what I wanted to do but he was good, and he had that cool fucking name. So when I met him, I knew that he was someone that I could learn from. And I did. I learned not just about editing but I also learned how to produce records from him. I also learned the value of self-promotion from him. He was great at coming up with ideas on how to make people talk about him. It usually meant challenging someone talent to talent.


Do you know what happened to Omar Santana? Why did he quit the Freestyle business for Hardcore/Techno genres? Because one of his last Freestyle productions (maybe it was the last one?) was “Back in tyme” (available on the compilation “After Dark Freestyle vol.1)” on your label. Once again, he did an incredible editing work.

I’m asking you this question because many fans especially the Old School Freestylers wonder what happened to him.

Omar was always into noise, loud chaotic noise. It was natural for him to go the way of Techno. Especially since many feel that the editors were part of the inspiration for Techno. The harsh insert style of editing was a predecessor to hard stabbing style of Techno. The other reason I think Omar likes Techno is that he doesn’t have to work with singers. Where the singer will get credit for a song’s success. In Techno it’s all about the producer. And of course, the world of freestyle changed dramatically over the years. Omar is the type of person that likes to reach a lot of people. You can’t do that in freestyle anymore.


Could you name other editors that you respect in the Freestyle business? And why?

I have to respect all of them because we were all a part of an art that to this day goes unknown to the public. It was truly a thankless job. We did it purely for the passion of it. Whenever I talk about the editors I always find it strange that at the peak of our reign in this business, the most important ones were all Latino and specifically from New York. Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran who started it all, Omar Santana who everyone credits with pushing the envelope whenever it got stale. And finally Chep Nuñez, rest in peace, was probably the hardest working of us all. He was incredible as an editor and as a person.


How did you start your first edits?

When I was a DJ, I was obsessed with taking my mixes to the next level. Since I didn’t have any point of reference, except for the Latin Rascals’ work on the radio and on records, I went and bought a small “Akai” reel to reel and an “Edit All” edit block. I also bought an Effectron digital delay. With these pieces of equipment I started mixing onto the reel. Then I started experimenting, sometimes taking simple edits and playing them onto a cassette so I could play that back and overdub back onto the reel. It was crazy. Sometimes, because I was working with 1/4 inch tape running at 7 1/2 inches per second, the edit tape would melt in the heat of my apartment. So after I figured out what I wanted to do, I would have to re do it all over again from scratch before the tape could melt.


Now, what equipment do you use to edit your productions?

I don’t edit any more. But the first piece of gear that I learned on was the Mac. I started out with Performer on the first Mac ever released. They had one at Sync Sound. It used to crash all the time. Louie Martinez was allowed to go in on the weekends when they were closed and he would bring me in. There was a composer by the name of Chuck Hammer that had a room there. On his equipment I created Corina’s “Out of control” and Jasmin’s “On the loose”. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing but I ended up playing everything because I thought that this was the way that everyone was doing it. I didn’t know that everyone else was hiring professional keyboard players.


As far as editing goes, I don’t do it any more because it’s not worth the effort anymore. And the art has all but disappeared. After a while I got sick of cutting so much tape and not being appreciated for the incredible amount of hours that it takes to create those complicated patterns. I decided that I would quit editing after “Together forever”. That’s the last Berrios Beat I did. That was 11 years ago.


I have, however, experimented recently, doing multiple edits in ProTools. I was inspired by the first Bad Boy Joe CD that came out. So I did a Berrios Beat on computer, but I didn’t tell anybody because I was a little ashamed of doing it on a computer instead of tape. As far as I’m concerned you’re not an editor if you can’t cut tape. But that’s because I’m old school. Still, Joe inspired me to give it a shot. And then I learned about a website called “Hip to The Game” where all these fans of editing have kept the style alive. There are editors from all over the world. And now, Joey Altura and his boys have a website called “EditsGoneWild.com”. What they’ve done is great because the craft has survived through them. I like that. I produced a track for Safire titled, “Eyes of a Stranger”. The Single version was never released but it features the first Berrios Beat in 11 years, cut on ProTools. As far as I know, it’s never going to be released.


It’s funny that you are talking about this site “Editsgonewild.com” (this is one of the best sites dedicated to the work of editing) because I was talking the other day with some friends about this site, and we thought that it would be cool to see some of never-released-before productions or old productions you did on this site. For instance, I’m sure that many people would be delighted to hear the great “Berrios beat” of “Eyes of the stranger”! Don’t you think it could be a great idea?

I already submitted that edit to the site called “Hip to the Game.com”. I actually submitted it anonymously. But an editor that was from, I believe, Germany wrote that he recognized the style and asked if it was me. That was cool. That’s how I learned about all the other editors out there. He only thing that I noticed about many of the edit works is that they’re not restricted by commercial structure. In other words, when we edited, it always had to fall within the structure and style of the song we were hired to edit. If the song was mellow the edits could me mellow. If the song was loud the edits could be wild. So there were aesthetic considerations that the street editors don’t have to adhere to. So sometimes I hear incredible edits that have been jammed into a song without a disciplined structure or form. That disciplined structure is what was hardest to learn in the business because we were creating it along with the record producers as we worked. You don’t know the incredible amount of yelling and screaming we had to do whenever a record company wanted to remove a new edit because they simply didn’t understand it. As a matter of fact, Omar and I were thrown off a job once because we wouldn’t change a mega medley we did for Mantronix. They said it was too crazy and we said “Fuck you”. So they fired us and hired Chep Nuñez.


In 1986, you started your career in the music business as a DJ/mixer with a series of medleys “Bits & Pieces”. How did you get involved on this project and why did you accept this job?

I’m probably not supposed to talk about this but, when I was a young D.J., “Bits and Pieces” was the name of one of the best bootleg mixes on vinyl. That and Deadly Medleys. When I met Norty Cotto he suggested putting out a bootleg of one of my mix tapes and calling it “Bits and Pieces”. I loved the idea so we did it.


Did you DJ to start off your career as an editor and producer?

I wasn’t aggressive enough to go out and beg for a shot at playing in a club. I didn’t get a club gig until I was in the middle of working on “Out Of Control”. One of my After Dark Brothers introduced me to James Streppone who owned a concession stand at the Whitestone Lanes Bowling alley in Queens, New York. He wanted to throw a party at an old Rock palace called “L’Amour East”. They rented it to him for $1,000.00. He came to me and asked me to become his partner. I turned him down because I wasn’t interested in running a club, but I introduced him to someone who was doing club promotions for Hot 103. Together they decided to hire 12 of the hottest acts at that time. I still have the original poster. This place had the biggest stage of any club you’ve ever seen. The party was so successful that they opened L’Amour up as a Dance club and I ended up as the main DJ. Everyone loved performing on that stage. The place was huge.


What is the first Freestyle song that you edited? Is it “On the loose” by Jasmin (Southway/Easy Street records-1987)?

 “On the loose” was the first record I ever produced. Actually, I forget which one came out first but I produced “Out of Control” and “On the loose” at about the same time. The first edit I ever did was with Omar on a record by a Rap artist called Fat Larry. The song was called “Tina Tina”.


During the span of your career you have had the opportunity to produce or to work with famous Freestyle singers like Corina, Lisette Melendez, Charlie Rock, Coro, Rockell, George Lamond, Safire, etc. Any other artists that you would love to work with?

Corina and Lisette Melendez are probably the most important people I worked with because we started out together. I gave them both their first shot when I didn’t know what I was doing, and eventually when we did know what we were doing we all had the biggest records of our careers with each other. I always wanted to work with the other Freestyle artists but I didn’t get a chance to work with them until after they had their hits. It’s funny because they always say that they wanted to work with me but didn’t know how to ask. I guess I’m not very approachable.


Well, I’ll share a secret with you; I’ve waited a few years before I decided to contact you. In fact, it’s Bernie Rosenberg who pushed me to get in touch with you.

I always thought: that’s because you became so popular and respected in the Freestyle world over the years that people (even artists) hesitated to “disturb” you. You stayed so humble and discreet all those years that indirectly you’ve gotten a certain reputation because of this respectability and discretion which certainly frightened many people from approaching you. (Wink).

I’m just shy.


What are the most important reasons that pushed you and gave you the envy to work with one artist more than another?

I don’t really have any guidelines. I like working with different singers, especially the established ones.


But as far as new artists go, I don’t really have any patience for stupidity so first and foremost they have to have a professional attitude. Be on time, be prepared, that sort of thing. There have been many sessions that I’ve walked out on because I realized that the singer couldn’t sing or he/she wasn’t prepared or the situation just wasn’t right.


Among your own Freestyle productions, what are your three favorite ones?

“Together Forever”, “Temptation”, “Make Noise”.


During your career as an editor you used “nicknames” such as “Creativity”, “Homeboy” & “The Man” before to finally opting for Carlos “After Dark” Berrios? What is the meaning of those “nicknames” and especially of “After Dark”?

Those were names given to me by Producers or Executive Producers I edited or remixed for. We always have a good time in the studio and the nicknames, I suppose, are a refection of the fun we had while working together.


“After Dark” is different because the name represents my street family. After Dark is a brotherhood. It’s where I come from.


Do you disown those nicknames or do you simply really don’t care about this Producer’s choice? LOL.

The only name that matters is After Dark because that’s where I come from. The After Dark Crew.


It’s an excellent transition for me to talk about After Dark records that you owned from 1993 to 1996! Why did you decide to create your own label?

Because I wanted to continue making Freestyle records my way. I figured with my own label I could do whatever I wanted. I started the record company with Will Socolov who used to own Sleeping Bag Records. He was also partners with Todd Terry and Frankie Cutlass on their labels. At the time, R&B and Hip Hop were starting to dominate radio. None of the record companies could justify paying top dollar for a Freestyle record that probably wouldn’t get radio play. So it was my last effort to keep Freestyle on the radio. It didn’t work so I shut down after two years.


What is the most successful single that you produced on After Dark Records?

“Promise me your heart” by Joei Mae. Written by Franc. Reyes, it was the only single that was picked up by Priority Records for distribution.


Although you started to work with Franc. Reyes in 1990 (on “Together forever” track interpreted by Lisette Melendez), he has been very productive on many After Dark Records’ songs. How did you meet him and why did you decided to work together?

One day Franc. called me and asked if he could come over to write with me. Well, he came over that day, and stayed for three years. We wrote a lot of songs before “Together forever”. And then after it hit Franc. ended up writing 99% of the album.


Could you tell us who Franc. Reyes is? He always stayed extremely discreet in the Freestyle business in spite of his talent and fame.

Franc. was a choreographer for Corina when I met him. When we started working together he was known for his skill as a dancer and choreographer. But he loved writing songs. He was always good at melodies but I taught him structure. The way Omar taught it to me. We had a good chemistry, my tracks, and his lyrics and melody. I taught him structure and he taught me about the Beatles. One or the other got us both publishing deals with EMI Music Publishing. I’m still not sure which.


What happened to Franc. Reyes, is he still in the music business?

Franc. has moved on to making films. His first Movie “Empire” was released in December and did well. The movie was filmed for 3.5 Million dollars and made close to 20 Million. That’s an incredible profit margin for a movie that Hollywood didn’t even want to know how to market. It doesn’t hurt that I have a song on the soundtrack. He’s starting production on his next movie called “The Ministers”.


Unintentionally, has Franc. inspired you or given you a bigger impulse (with the release of his 1st movie “Empire”) to put all your forces in making movies and to embrace this new career?

I remind our readers that you haven’t shot a movie yet.

Franc. and I have a long relationship based partly on competition and mostly on respect for each others work. He was incredibly supportive when I was at the top of my game. So it’s only right that I support him now that he’s at the top of his game. I’m going to film my first feature this year, that’s a given. But what Franc. has accomplished will definitely make it easier for me now.


How did the New School beat (that you created on “Together forever” by Lisette Melendez) come to mind? Do you know that you created one of the most popular genres of Freestyle music?

The specific combination of the “Sing Sing” loop and my beats was the idea of Frankie Cutlass. But “Together forever” was not the first record that I combined a loop with my Freestyle beats. I did it first on “Make noise”. The difference between the two was that “Make noise” was a DJ track and “Together forever” was a song. Even though it turned out to be a very commercial record, I had a lot of problems getting “Together forever” signed. No record company liked it and dismissed it as just another Freestyle record. And when the record was finally picked up by RAL/Columbia the first thing they wanted to do was remix it so that it would be more radio friendly. They hired Tony Moran to do the mix. I wanted to die. Not because Tony did a bad mix, but because it had nothing to do with what I was trying to do. So I fought against that and any other mix. In the end, Andy Panda fought for the record to stay untouched. That’s what hit.


My mistake Carlos, I forgot “Make noise”! Why didn’t you build “Make noise” as a song? Many people think that Berrios New School genre was born with “Together forever”!

“Make noise” was my experiment with samples at that time. I wanted to use every single sample that I could think of over a beat. But every sample that I used means something to me. From Planet Rock, which started it all, to Depeche Mode’s “It doesn’t Matter”, which always touched me with it’s hauntingly sad lyrics. “Make Noise” wasn’t structured like a regular song because I knew that I would never get away with all those samples in a regular song. Plus that record was about the samples. But what ended up happening was that Cory Robbins, the owner of Profile Records at that time, changed his mind and wanted a lyric inserted in the track. Well I went in with Tomax, who wrote the melody to a string arrangement that I did, and we recorded a version with Nayobe, who was my girlfriend at the time. But because she was signed to Fever Records, she couldn’t get a release. Then Tomax brought me Lisette who I didn’t know and she sang the simple verse for $200.00. We didn’t like each other very much and I couldn’t wait for the session to be over. Two months later Profile calls to let me know that the record is a club hit and that booking agents were calling to hire the group. I said what group? It’s a DJ record! They said well put a group together other wise you’re going to miss the boat. So I called Lisette, who like I said I didn’t like very much, and asked her if she wanted to perform the record on stage. She said she wasn’t sure. She gave me a hard time. And what I said to her was, “look, I don’t know what I’m doing but we have an opportunity to make some money and possibly make another record”. So she agreed. And that’s how we ended up working together. She went from someone I didn’t like, to someone that I care very much for, and together, with Franc., we had a good run.


As a Freestyle producer how would you define your style?

Freestyle is freestyle. I learned that the hard way. As much as I wanted to try and experiment with the genre I was never successful after the “New School” thing died down. You have to remember, the style wasn’t a gimmick, it was my style. It took years to cultivate it. But once it hit, it became a gimmick and as far as I’m concerned, it was the end for that style. Over the years I’ve taught myself how to produce everything from Rock to Hip Hop. But I’ve really relaxed the music thing. It’s not that important to me anymore. I’m moving into the film world. I have a passion for all the technical aspects of filmmaking.


You are always experimenting with new sounds meanwhile most of the other Freestyle producers stay in the same style that made their fame. Do you think that their lack of creativity and the use over and over of the same beat, keys, vocals, etc, is the reason of the death of Freestyle music?



What is your personal definition of Freestyle music?

I couldn’t define it in words. But I could do a track. (smiles)


What do you think of the present Freestyle scene and market?

I don’t really follow it anymore. I’m out of touch with the whole scene. Sometimes I’ll go to one of the web sites and hang out for a few days but I don’t really have the time anymore.


In the 80’s, this music was called “Latin Hip-Hop”. In your opinion, who named it first “Freestyle music”?

I don’t know.


Do you think that this change of name was a benefit for the music?

Obviously if the name changed it was for a reason. What that reason is I don’t know. But a name doesn’t make a style. The style makes the name. I learned that when we were thinking about changing Lisette’s last name to something more generic because we were aware that her Latin last name might work against her. But then I realized that if she were to have a hit record, it wouldn’t matter what her name was. That name would work in relation to the hit record. So we left her name alone.


What is your favorite Freestyle genre(s) (Electro, New or Old School, Progressive Freestyle, etc.)? Why?

I like the new Electro stuff that’s coming from the south.


Could you be more specific? Any references to give us?

I occasionally hear songs that I like but I have no idea who sings or produces them. The last song that I cared to find about was, “I do both Jay and Jane”. I loved that record so much. I heard it when I hung out in Orlando a few years ago and every time I heard it I wanted to battle on the dance floor. And I did. I haven’t done that since Texas.


What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle song?

It’s a toss up between “Tears may fall” by TKA and “Let me be the one” by Safire.


I might as well confess here that I patterned the drums to “Make noise” after “Tears may fall”. If you play them together, the beat is identical, except for the James Brown loop.


What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle remixer/DJ”? Why?

I never really had one. When I was coming up. There were so many doing incredible work. I was influence by all of them. But my favorite radio mixers were The Latin Rascals.


What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle female singer”? Why?

Judy Torres, because she was the first. She set the standard for all the female singers. All the girls wanted to sing like Judy.


What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle male singer”? Why?

George Lamond was definitely the best male Freestyle singer ever, but there’s a demo version of “Give Your Love to Me” that features Frankie Cutlass singing lead, and had George Lamond, Chrissy I-eece, and Marc Anthony singing adlibs at the end. Marc did an adlib that just sent chills up your spine. We all knew that he had an amazing talent. I’m still begging Cutlass for a copy.


Who has been your main influence?

I think that I’ve had so many influences that it would be impossible to list them. I’m still constantly influenced by other people who do what I want to do. Now, it’s happening in the film world.


What would you change in the Freestyle industry today?

Is there an industry?


Don’t you think that your short reply risks to hurt many people, especially the fans? You seem to be very disappointed by the industry?

Okay, since you insist that I talk about it. Freestyle is no longer a part of the music industry. It’s a music that’s looked down upon because the people that created it are looked down upon. And what I mean by that specifically is the Latino. It was a racist situation when I was doing it and it’s racist today. Let me give you an example. Nothing bothers me more than when I stay up late at night and watch TV. There are commercials for CD compilations for the 80’s and now for the 90’s that never include one Freestyle record. And we had huge records in the late 80’s and early 90’s. But I know the reason why were not included. The reason is that MTV had a policy to not play anything Black or Latino at that time. People like Russell Simmons changed all that for the blacks but we didn’t have anyone to step up to the plate for us. So we were not included in MTV’s driven pop culture. We filmed music videos for our records but they were never played. Ever. So even though we had huge records, no one knew what we looked like. So if you ask the average Joe if they’ve ever heard “Let me be the one”, chances are that they’ll have heard the record. But they won’t know what Safire looks like because they never saw her on MTV. They can’t connect a face to the music. So as far as I’m concerned, racism has kept us out of pop culture. It minimized all the hard work that we did and kept us out of the running for anything as Pop Cultural as the Grammy. Now, with Marc and Jennifer it’s different because Ricky Martin changed everything. Now, the “Latin Thing” is an accepted expression on MTV. But it’s too late for Freestyle because it is now seen as music from the 80’s.


Do you have any upcoming projects in music?

No. I only want to do music for my movies now. When the time comes, that’s what I’ll do.


What happened to your documentary on Freestyle music project?

I still want to do it. I want to tell the story from the point of view that I expressed a moment ago. It’s important that everyone realize that most of what was considered pop music at that time was created by us. Then it was taken from us. I really want to do that right. Which means I need a decent budget. Galley Molina from the West Coast is doing one. I’m in that one.


Where did this passion for Cinema come from?

I’ve always loved movies. I just never dreamed that I might one day make one. But all it really takes is the idea that you can. Then that drives you to “how”. Then that drives you to “when”. And so on. I’m past the “how”. I’m up to the “when”.


What are your goals in the cinema industry?

Right now my goal is to get in. It’s really like starting over again. The screenplay is the director’s currency. So I had to teach myself how to write. It’s not easy and I’ve had a hell of a time doing it. But it’s finally coming together.


Is it true that you took some acting lessons during few years?

Yeah. When I realized that I was losing interest in music, I reached for anything that I thought I might be able to learn from. I was in class at the same time that I had the record company. 


Why did you take those lessons?

For what I know, you want to be a director not an actor! Am I right?

I wanted to be an actor before I wanted to direct. When I took class, I realized how humiliating it is to put your self in such a vulnerable position. I never imagined that it would be that way. I had to re-evaluate how I saw singers after that because to a certain extent, it’s the same thing. So I had a chance to feel what it’s like to be on a stage in front of people; Butterflies in the stomach, the whole nine. I had a lot of fun but it was humiliating. After two years of that I picked up a video camera and started shooting.


Did you already play in some movies?

I get my ass kicked in a movie called “Home Invaders” starring Yancy Arias, the star of NBC’s “KingPin”. It hasn’t been released yet. I did a few stage things. That’s it.


When will “Home invaders” be released? Any idea? I can’t wait to see this. LOL

I have no idea.


Could you talk about your most important “stage things”?

Important? If you’re asking if there’s anything that you’ll ever see the answer is no. Although I still want to act I think that my place is behind the camera. I love the challenge of it. I think that everything I do is important in the sense that I learn from it. Every time I do something different I learn from it. If I don’t think I can learn from something, I won’t do it. Acting is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I hope I can still fit it in somehow.


What kind of movies do you go to see in theatres or enjoy watching on TV?

I love all kinds of movies. I watch movies to match my mood. Or if I want to change my mood. I love movies that challenge you. That makes you think. But I can also enjoy Austin Powers. I tell you though; the history of movies is so interesting. I think I can study that for the rest of my life. The way that modern cinema has settled into a pattern that was set by the maverick filmmakers of the past. It just very interesting.


Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community, and especially to your fans?

Keep hope alive!!!


What are your favorite hobbies?

I read books. Usually the same books. Over and over again. I have no idea why. Ever since I was a kid, I always felt that I was the only one in the world who didn’t get it. Get what? Who the fuck knows. I just knew I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until later on in life that I realized that no one gets it. I’m using the term “get it” because I actually went to an EST seminar when I was a teenager. My family tried everything to try and straighten me out. And at the end of it, everyone was walking around saying “I get it”. Well, I didn’t get it and it really pissed me off. The one thing that I was able to walk away with from the seminar was the concept of taking responsibility for your actions. That’s stayed with me all of my life.


Anything else you want to talk about?

I think you covered everything. Is there anything left to talk about? If there is just let me get a cup of coffee first.


Okay. Have you finished your cup of coffee? Can we continue the interview…I have another 50 questions to ask you. LOL.



Well, this is the end of your interview. Before leaving you to your duties, I just want to thank you for accepting this interview. You know that this interview really meant to me.

And even if you have other priorities now, I hope that one day you will come back to Freestyle music. Your fans will always be here for you!

This is the longest interview I’ve ever done but I had a lot of fun. Thank You.


Tears of Technology

An interview by Francis Tanneur

Could you introduce yourself? Who is Daniel Carrone (a.k.a Tears of Technology)?

I was born in a small town in Indiana in 1971. My father was a musician in a touring band who happens to meet my mother at a night club he was performing at. Soon after my birth, my parents moved to my father’s hometown, New Orleans La. I was raised in this city and feel New Orleans is my real home compared to where I was born. I am now 34 years old and am actively helping the local music scene that not only my father was a part of, but also I am a part of too. I own and maintain the website www.neworleansbands.net for the local musicians in my city. 

Before being involved in production and remixing services, had you been a DJ for years? When did you start spinning music?

About 1986 or so I heard a DJ mix 2 songs together at once and knew this was what I wanted to do. I started mixing in early years of my teens. My first set up was 2 tape decks and a stereo receiver I had rigged to act as a mixer between the decks. I had no pitch controls and my tapes were the hottest thing among all my friends. After a few years I was able to get a turntable and build from there. I had my first real club gig when I was 21. I spent quite a few years spinning in the local club scene. 

How do you prepare your sets?

Really I have no preparation. I am from the old school, and we believe in freestylin’ it. I usually throw a record on and just go at it. The hardest part is finding that first song to start! Once I find that, the rest is easy…second nature….

Where do you like spinning music?

I never have found an environment in a club setting I enjoyed. The best place I have found yet to spin, is in my house on my show once a week. I am free to be a real DJ and not a salesman. I can say and play what I want without censorship. I have spun in clubs and radio, and anymore it is more about image and sales. I am not a salesman, just a DJ. To me, it is about the music….

During your set, what is the music that you particularly like playing for the audience?

If I had my way, I play old school all the time. The sound out of Miami in the 80′s was awesome. I spin though a blend of Breaks, Electro, Freestyle and Old School Miami sound….

Where do you buy your records?

I get my records from different sources. Ebay for the old stuff! We do not have any local record stores anymore except for Tower and Virgin. They do not carry vinyl like they used too. Satellite Records, and Upstairs Records. Anymore it is becoming where you must order online to just buy the records. 

Even if now you seem to be “more” concerned by production, do you still spin music in clubs?


When I discovered your productions, I was immediately intrigued by your name. What is the meaning of “Tears Of Technology”?

Many ask. Many think it is a band…more than one person. It is not it is mean and the meaning of the name fits into my persona of who my artist self is. Tears is the emotions. The emotions within me. These emotions can be sad, or happy. Tears is not an absolute. The Technology is the power that allows me to express these emotions. It is about expression with me. Who I am and who can benefit from that. We must use our gifts for the world, and that is what I do. You can see the expression of my persona in the titles to my works and the writings I sometimes dabble in. It is amazing how one can construct such a powerful message through symbols and metaphors.

Could you tell us what 504 Productions is?

504 is the area code in the New Orleans area. 504 Productions is a company I started. I wanted to have an Indie label for my music and created the business to aid in that. Through 504 Productions I offer services such web design, beat making, dj drops and free music to download. It really is just a place to compile all my work. When I design, I am Dan at 504…when I do music I am Tears at 504….instead of managing many websites, I chose just one….I do it all myself, so I must have things set up easy for me. That is why I just use my MySpace profile for my Tears of Technology.net site.

When did Tears Of Technology’s name come up?

I came up with the name in 1996. I was looking for a better DJ name. When I came up with it, I originally intended to use it as my production companies’ name. Tears Of Technology Productions. Was not until 1998 when I wrote my first track that I took the name for my artist name and invented 504 Productions.

How would you define the style of your album “The soul never forgets”?

I would say it’s Electro / Trance…You can hear the influences of many styles though….Miami Bass, Breaks, Trance, Freestyle, Old School…

This is not only music; this album also has a message, isn’t it?

Yes, I am concerned with our world. I always have been since I was a child. I never understood the way we live as people. In my album, I have no lyrics, so I wanted to fill the inside of the cover up with something. I tried to put into words what I am expressing in my music on the inside cover. Many who have bought the CD have emailed me and thanked me. That is my all time pay off. To know I am touching and giving back….

For instance, the song “Make me cry” contains the speech by Mayor Ray Nagin after the Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area. Did you want to pay homage to someone in particular?

No, this was more of a message of truth. A message of how we let bureaucracy stop us from taking care of the people. What happened days after by the officials who run our governments was unacceptable. It took over 4 days for the troops to arrive. When 911 happened, it was that day the troops arrived in NY. There seems to be a problem in our country. If it does not benefit big business, we see no help until it is too late. I believe actions like these and the atrocities committed by our government should stop. It is the people who power them…..they should begin to work for the people once again.

The first time that I listened to your album I was most enchanted by most of the tracks. For those who are found of Breakbeat, Breaks and especially Electro Freestyle, The Tears Of Technology’s album is a CD to buy quickly.

But the thing that most seduced me is that you managed to build a certain mood and atmosphere whatever the genres (that I mentioned above) for each title. How did you come to this successful result?

Free flowing….I do not understand the gift nor the creation. I just enjoy it as you do. I believe it is higher self that you feel and hear in music. What I hear come out of me, blows me away. Sometimes things simply fall in place like it was meant to be. I do not know how it happens, it just does….I never find an answer when I ask how I came up with that. I myself am a perfectionist. I felt proud of it, but felt I could have made the album alot better. After Katrina, I felt a need to finally put it together and get it out. I had been planning another album for a few years, but until Katrina, it was not important to me.

How did hurricane Katrina personally affect you?

I was here for the event. I sat through it. I live west of the city. Not once was I worried during the storm. I had sat through many before. After the storm, we started hearing stories about how the levees had broke. We decided to leave the city b/c we were so unsure about what was going to happen to our area. We were hearing that we would have 6 foot of water in our neighbourhood. Well our area did not flood, but most of the city did. We were spared and I am very grateful and thankful for it.

And musically speaking?

 I do not know why but after the storm I dropped several powerful tracks that helped me wrap my last album up. It was like the experienced help provoke inspiration inside of me.

In the majority of your tracks, some melodies and keys are very Trance-like combined to a heavy rhythm beat. The kind of songs that you listen to more in Europe (especially in Germany) but less often in the USA (especially from an American producer/remixer). Why did you choose this musical formula?

I enjoy the atmosphere type music. Angel like pads and these Trance leads….and I like breaks…especially 808 breaks. So I just combined what I enjoy to hear. I am influenced by many styles of music. I never limit music…..  

Last June, you released a new album “Free to be me”. Could you tell us a little bit more about this compilation?

It was an Extended Play entitled “Free to be me”. It contained material from the new album to be released in 2007 entitled “This is how I cry”. The CD features the vocals of Serenity. I feel with the addition of Serenity, I am beginning to evolve in to the artist that I have always wanted to be. We currently have done 3 songs together and each one is powerfully emotional. The feedback from fans have blown my mind. A 36 year old man wrote me a message letting me know I had not only gave him chills, but he also was in tears when he heard “Free to be me”. I am very excited thinking about the future of my musical projects.

Are you familiar with the German Electro Freestyle market?

Because one of your titles (“Just Dance”) sounds as some Freestyle Project’s songs.

No I am not, but I do listen to the Freestyle Project. Mostly that influence is from Kyper, Egyptian Lover, DJ Matrix and the Miami group Freestyle who did “Don’t stop the rock”.

You meant Freestyle, the group who did “Don’t stop the rock” (produced by Tony Butler on Pandisc Records)? How did these groups influence you?

Yes, I did. These groups were major influences. These are the tracks I was spinning in my beginning DJ days. It was all I listened too….

Do you think that the vocoders are important in an Electro Freestyle song?

Very. I am glad I have learned the basics. I am thinking of buying a nice Korg that does this….

Sorry, but some of readers are certainly not familiar with “Korg”. Could you let me know what it is exactly?

Korg is a manufacturer that makes synthesizers. They have a synthesizer with a vocoder built in to the module.

Was the Electro Hip Hop (Electro Funk) style influential to you in the 80’s?

Oh yeah…..how many can I list? lol….All the usuals…

I was talking mostly about the Genre.

Yes…this genre played a big part, but it was freestyle (the style) that pulled me into these styles.

What were your favorite Electro Funk band(s)?

My favorites were DJ Matrix, Planet Patrol, Cybotron.

What equipment do you use to work your productions?

Hardware: 64 Note MIDI Controller, X-Session MIDI Controller, AKG Perception 200 Mic, Berhringer mixer, 2 1200 Turntables, .Stanton mixer, Pair of Numark CD Players.

Software: FL Studio, Cool Edit Pro, V-Station, Pro 53.  

Musically speaking, you are very versatile! You are capable of producing different kinds of music (from Trance / Dance / Hip Hop to Breakbeat / Breaks / Freestyle /  Electro /…). Nevertheless, in which musical style(s) do you feel more at ease: producing, remixing, or both?

The Miami Sound. That Freestyle and Electro Old School sound.

Why are you such an open-minded producer/remixer? Do you think that each genre brings you something different or special?

No, more of experience with life. Plus I do not watch TV, I read. I grew up questioning everything. Especially authority. Just never seemed right to force others with God given free will to do things they do not want to do. It was hard for me. I feel like I was free, then I became programmed and the last 6 or 7 years I have been unprogramming myself. I do not think though it is a coincidence that as I have evolved as an artist, my self has changed and evolved also. I believe it all goes hand in hand….

Have you been influenced by someone in particular to start in the music business?

A local producer named Michael Scott was what inspired me to get into production. Other influences are Ford, DJ Trashy, Lasgo, Ian Van Dahl, Ferry Corsten and Infiniti. 

Do you play any instrument?

Piano, Saxophone, oh and those 2 turntables if you want to consider them as instruments.

What are the radio stations that play Freestyle music in Louisiana?

None that I know of……

And on the web, which radio do you listen to regularly?

I kinda bounce around…I like High Power Records Radio and LA Entertainment.

What is you personal definition of Freestyle music?

Music from the heart. It was the first style of music to ever give me chills.

What do you think of the Freestyle scene? Do you still see a market?

I believe there is still a fan base if the DJ’s play it. Many still listen. Many do here, but no one but a select few play it. You know the whole image thing. Hip Hop has taken over here. It is all we hear on the radio. It is why I do not listen to radio. Now Paris Hilton has a song on the radio I understand, and that there tells me that radio is dying…. 

What would you change in the Freestyle industry today?


In your opinion, does the Internet change things into the music industry?

Yes, put the power in the Indies hands.

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle song? Why?

Tonasia: “Wondering”

Was one of the first songs I heard. Man such a great unique song…. 

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle female singer? Why?

Don’t know. Too many!

C’mon Dan, you have to give me at least one female singer!

Christina Marie is hot. I like alot of her stuff… I have to say though the Stephanie Bennett is hot also. I like the song “Back for my love”. Really great track.

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle male singer? Why?

Peter Fontaine for “Just like the wind”…I love that song… 

What is your “all time favorite” Freestyle remixer? Why?

I loved Omar Santana’s work in the 80′s on the edit mixes. He was great.

Which artist or band would you love to work with?

Ha…I do not think I am worthy of such a thing……

Why is that? As any producer you certainly have a few artists that you would love to work with?

I wouldn’t mind working with Producer Ford. I really don’t know. There are so many great artists out there.

What is your criterion of selection when you decide to produce an artist or remix a song?

I must be able to feel what they are expressing…. 

What will your main goal be for the future?

Going to keep producing. I have songs with a vocalist named Serenity coming out. We have done 2 tracks so far. “Higher ground” and “Free to be me”. I want to do one more album and then see what is in store. I sorta live for the now…..

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community, and most particularly to your fans?

I appreciate the support and the emails. It is the fuel I need to rock hard….THANKS!

What is a typical day for you when you are not into the recording studio or on your computer, working on some new music?

I am a documentary buff and movie buff….I like the zoo, and to just chill outside in the grass sometimes. I love to go for long walks with headphones on loud and alone…. 

Thank you very much Dan for accepting this interview. 

Johnny O – Invades Wepa.Fm on T.G.I.F 11-16-17

LIVE in the Wepa.Fm Studios – JOHNNY O, for the T.G.I.F Show (Thank God It’s Freestyle) Nov 16th from 7pm-10pm Est, hosted by DJ Otto, Sassy Sandy & spinning your favorite Freestyle tunes for 3 hrs straight DJ Stunna. Only on www.Wepa.Fm – Powered by AddictedToRadio.Com

LIVE in the Wepa.Fm Studios – JOHNNY O, for the T.G.I.F Show (Thank God It’s Freestyle) Nov 16th from 7pm-10pm Est, hosted by DJ Otto, Sassy Sandy & spinning your favorite Freestyle tunes for 3 hrs straight DJ Stunna. Only on www.Wepa.Fm – Powered by AddictedToRadio.Com

Charlie Rock – Invades Wepa.Fm on T.G.I.F

Charlie Rock - Invades Wepa.Fm on T.G.I.F

Charlie Rock Jimenez Invades Wepa.Fm TGIF Thank God Its Freestyle with DJ Otto & Sassy Sandy with DJ Stunna 7pm EST Check him out on webcam This Friday Night















Charlie Rock Jimenez Invades Wepa.Fm TGIF Thank God Its Freestyle with DJ Otto & Sassy Sandy with DJ Stunna 7pm EST Check him out on webcam This Friday Night

Issue #4

Community Report

Its April! “Some one to hold in the middle of the night….” No, not that April…the month of April. Already the fourth month in the year of 1988 and although there really is no bad news, there is a lot to tell, so lets begin.

Before we begin there is some serious news that we will focus on.

Recently everyone has heard of rumors about a situation that occurred at South Beach’s Amnesia, but don’t know specifically what happened. A couple of days ago someone called Club Amnesia during the club’s normal function and according to the person who received the call, the caller stated “Amnesia Boom!”. This call was taken as a serious bomb threat and within minutes the club was evacuated around one- O clock in the morning. After the bomb squad was called in , they indeed found that someone had planted a pipe bomb right outside of the club. Although authorities took care of the situation, the motive for the planted pipe bomb is not yet known. Authorities are continuing to investigate as another bomb scare followed days later at another popular South Beach Club, Salvation. Luckily the Salvation situation was just a bomb scare, but the Amnesia incident was not and people are keeping a look out. Fortunately no one was hurt. Authorities and media call this an isolated incident, but according to club goers its things like this they rather the media not keep quite. Hopefully this won’t turn into a trend on South Beach or any other club strips anywhere. People go out to have fun and escape their every day lives, but not to lose them.

Amnesia was one of many clubs that hosted events during the Winter Music Conference. One major Freestyle event the club hosted was a event on Monday the 9th of March, were Tony Moran, Shannon, TKA, and Todd Terry shared the light. Definitely one of the high lights of the Winter Music week.

By now it will be four months and some since Matthew was born. Who’s Matthew? Cynthia’s first boy who was born last November 21 of 1997. Matthew should be exited since joining the club of kids who can now say ” My folks can rock a house up”. As for Cynthia, she can now comfortably join the “Look at my Kids Picture” Club along side others such as George Lamond, Nayobe, Andy Panda, Nyasia, and many others who take on the responsibilities of not only raising their families, but to pump out some records at the same time. Well guess what? She’s having another Baby! NO, not a child! Another record. “If I Only Had A Chance” should be out around mid April. Hopefully it won’t get dissed like her last release. Jocelyn Enriquez ‘s “Get Into The Rhythm” followed by “Even If ” should also start making its way through the radio and clubs as for her previous work. “Get Into The Rhythm” is another Acosta styled project containing more vocoders and Ambient influences merged with the Funk. “Even If” is a ballad that also comes from her album entitled “Jocelyn”. Jocelyn, who still resides in the West Coast, has found a home at Timber Records. After the expiration of a contract between Timber records and Classified records, Enriquez no longer finds herself signed to the label ( Classified) who introduced her to the world with “I’ve Been Thinking About You” and “Make It Last Forever” . Since the material she will continue to release from her current album is under the joint contract , the logos of both parties will appear on all releases from that project.

It seems that Timber Records has big plans with Jocelyn. Joey Gardner, the man who for seven years stood and delivered TKA, then continued with K7 , Cynthia and George Lamond , now wants to continue to bring back the quality of “REAL” artist who could obtain albums that can contain the professional image, respect, and longevity that Freestyle artist of the past have achieved. This could also mean a bit more variety of different styles of Dance music along with the Freestyle (Jocelyn’s current album for example). Cynthia’s “Like A Star” could also be an example, although many would disagree because there was no traditional version. The one and only Freestyle version of “Like A Star” is the Cibola mix, because that is today’s 1998 Freestyle version ( love it or leave it). But definitely, “Like A Star’s Cibola mix” could have been a lot more creative with the beats and given a four dimensional feel with the synths. If it would of also contained some Spanglish lyrics, more underground influences, and a slamming video , it would have been the shit. Not to mention that it could of had been a bridge between the Nu style mix and the Estrella mix and other Trip/House mix sets.

Meanwhile , label mate George Lamond will not be releasing his material just yet. It seems that Mr. Garcia himself was not content with the finished product and decided to do it over. Although the release will be delayed, Timber has other plans in other areas. As Tommy Boy continues to broaden their spectrum in Dance Music , now delivering a branch entitled “Tommy Boy Silver” which would service underground Dance records to DJ’s and clubs. Timber records by June of 98 will be releasing their second compilation set after “Freestyles Greatest Beats Vol. 1-10″. The new compilation entitled “The Perfect Beat” ( which we are still LOOKING FOR) , will consist of a four volume set packed with the early eighties Electro Funk and Freestyle jams. This would make Timber the first Freestyle company to actually have a early 80’s Freestyle and Funk compilation. Adding to the fact that besides the people having roots to the Movement and Tommy Boy records being the label who released “Planet Rock” as for Timber now holding Jocelyn Enriques as a figure of today’s Neo Funk and Freestyle era, as Shannon was to the early 80’s era , symbolically is a good example of how history is somewhat repeating similar patterns.

Mean while , The Dominican New Yorker and “Queen of New Skool Freestyle” should be making her way up with her new single “Make The Way” . This one is already blowing up in some joints at the same time her previous “Time Passes By” is still not done dominating Dance floors. “Time Passes By’ is still conquering the underground scene with the “Warp” mix and tearing up the traditional sets with the original mix. It was the record that bridged Lissete from her “New skool” sound to today’s “Neo” sound. But wait, “Miss Thang” isn’t done yet. We saw it first with Mark Anthony, then with India, Safire, George Lamond, Louis Damon, Brenda K Star, and now Lissete Melendez. Yes she did, Miss “Together Forever” has a brand new Spanish album out now entitled “Un Poco De Mi” on Sergio George’s Label. Sergio George (for you all who don’t know) is a famous Salsa producer in New York who is responsible for many of the “Freestyler’s go Salsa” movement that has been taking place lately. As a Salsa producer Sergio George has been one of a few to invest in the new generation of Latin artist to take on the traditions that people in the Spanish music world have been keeping alive for many decades now. He also believes that American influences of HipHop culture will be more present in Salsa in the future. So what better way to do it than investing in Latin HipHopers, as he believes that the singers would someday give a little of themselves to the world of Salsa and Spanish music.

Sir George already began this trend with DLG (Dark Latin Groove), who made their debut with “No Morira” which in reality was “No Matter What”. “No Matter What” was a duet sung by George Lamond and Brenda K. Star that hit big in the Spanish speaking market with both the English and Spanish versions , but was later supped up for DLG with a tad of Salsa and Reggae and became a International Hit.

It is obvious that the new generation and generations to come , not only have to keep English music alive, but Spanish as well. Hopefully as the year progresses the sounds of Latin HipHop and its movement will be one of the major forces to enhance this phenomenon, as it is presently in the traditional Freestyle, Latin House, and TripHop (funk/frstyl) forms. Which is the only true link between Spanish and English (American) music after Classic Disco and Latin Jazz.

Jumping over to the West Coast, Velocity Records is coming up in the world with Buffy’s “2 Find You”. This record is soaring. Though it is not a bombing record , it definitely surpasses a lot of the other material that can be found in the market at this time. Buffy seems to have the characteristics as an artist to some day reach respected levels. Hopefully her album “First Love” will help her gain the exposure and experience she needs. “2 Find You Trip Radio edit is the only version that is slamming. Unlike the other predictable and tired mixes, the trip radio mix contains a unique vibe that includes unpredictable lyrics and harmonies layered over a bed of Funky breaks and beats, which would be perfect to mix with other verbal or non-verbal Funk and Freestyle wax.

Another West Coast rooted record comes from DJ Juanito, who first presented us with Lina Santiago some years back, and is now presenting us with Alexis. Alexis (NOT Alexia Phillips or Alexia the Euro dance singer who are two different people) delivers to us “Feel My Love”. The preferable mixes here are the FX Boys Wildstyle mix and the Freestyle Doggystyle mix. They are the mixes that are distinct opposed to the other mixes that bite the played out Angelina/ Planet soul synth and beat format .

Speaking of Angelina, she is still making noise with “The Tide Is High” and “Without Your Love” . “The Tide Is High” is a cover originally done by Blondie back in the 70’s. Lyrically it stands like the original, the only difference is that its layered over funky breaks, has more ravish influences, and holds Spanglish lyrics towards the bridge. Meanwhile “Reach Out and Touch Me” is soaring in other areas as “Mambo” is somewhat conquering some ground. “Mambo” is not all that. It is more like a cheesy attempt to conquer the Latin House scene, in the process came out looking like one of those meaningless Latin House records that people are quick to forget. It could have been better. Other Upstairs News is that Spanish Fly is still promoting ” One Last Try” and that Tampa, Florida’s very own Mon-a Q , who originally did “Stay In Love” on Matrix, is now signed to Upstairs records and “Stay In Love” has been redone.

Jumping on now to the Sunshine State. On the underground news tip, Intersound records who earlier distributed Albert Cabrera’s “Trip Dance 2000″ compilation, now has another compilation. This compilation is entitled “The Underground Kingdom- Best Of Kram” and contains material from the Orlando Based Kram records. Kram records originally put out K5’s “Passion” and “Red Alert” before K5 got picked up by BMG through Robbins Entertainment.

The compilation also includes other underground Phunk and Freestyle jams that we have been jamming to for some time now, but are now being introduced to the rest of the mainstream, and Freestyle and Dance community as well as to the public. This is definitely a collectors item for the true underground purist that will take Freestyle to the next level.

In the shocking news, especially to Miami’s underground Dance community is that Street Beat Records, a division of Pandisc who helped launch and support the Miami and Florida Trip Hop( Phunk and Freestyle) Movement (George Acosta, Beat Dominator, Nadine Renee..Etc) along with George Alvarado’s Nite Beat Records among many other Indie Labels whom brought on the movement, now has Adam Morano ( Viper 7/ Metropolitan) remixing and releasing material on Street Beat. Morano who has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the Trip Hop ( AcidPhunk and NEOFreestyle) movement nor hails from Miami, instead holds a strong “Planet Rock Beat” reputation as for a main advocate for the “Italian Only” invasion of the early and mid 90’s, is now producing and remixing Dance versions for records released on Street Beat. Morano is not alone, right behind him he has the back up of Tazmania record’s Gurus and their Polygon studios ( who in the public eye have been popular for cheap sound a likes) . To many it would seem that Street Beat records, who always recognized and supported Freestyles New form, went to help out the top contributors of the Freestyle scene, jumping over the overlooked “Real” contributors and giving opportunities to those who claimed to be.

Now before my fellow underground DJs and purist ( who have been hard at work out on the fields and waiting to get their chance) start a riot and wonder “How the hell he got up there”, they have to know certain things. Adam Morano has been known to remix some good High-NRG versions of many peoples material. It is understandable that in the Industry he makes good connections. In the eyes of the record industry he is qualified. In the eyes of the underground he is not. You must remember that in this industry it is not how well your skills are, but who it is that you know. Unfortunately Freestyle paid the price in the past and it seems that their is a challenge now. What is unfortunate is that now when Freestyle has a new face representing a new generation as well as an old one, as for trying to prove to the world of its true art form while trying to escape negative stereotypes, now the same forces that all fingers point to for flooding the market with Planet Rock beats and cheap sound a likes, now make it a tad more difficult for Freestyle to escape the “Planet Rock” syndromes. Will this be a step down for Street Beat? Or will this be the step Adam will use to re-invent himself and prove himself to a ocean of new underground Phunk and Freestyle DJs? This would be interesting to see, as in the coming years its the new blood that will run things. Club children are our future! In the meantime, as Freestyle gets recognized by both underground and industry levels, you can find Adams work on Street Beat records with a COVER ( what a surprise!) of Jewel’s “Foolish Games” but with an artist called Jem (Jewel, Jem, who’s next Rubie?) . The other project is a Dance version of Mona Lisa’s (Not the Italian Painting) “Staying In Love”. What stands out is that the names can be a bit deceiving, MONA Lisa “STAYing IN LOVE” compared to MON-A q “STAY IN LOVE”. Any way we will hear from Adam more in the future as he is said to work with Rockell ( we wonder why) on Robbins /BMG who is still popular with her COVER of Jossete’s ” In A Dream”.

While we are on the subject of Rockell, her album should be out soon if it is not already. More importantly is that Robbins has a new face. She goes by the name of Jacqui Cenci. Produced by Michael Angelo, Jacqui’s ” Memories” ( who absolutely has no ties to Suzy’s “Memories”) has some High NRG Versions, but the true versions are the Carlos Berrios Freestyle Mix which contains more of a classic Freestyle synth work mixed with a dash of Ambient which gives the piece a Electronic sound. Although Jacqui , like Rockell, holds that Gringa flare in her vocals making the vowels in her singing sound softer, she looks like she will have a promising career. So far she looks good (Alisa Milano Good) and like Angelina ,could evolve into a full blown woman who holds sophistication unlike the Lil Girls we have had singing over Planet Rock Beats for to long , misrepresenting the scene. It looks like Jacqui is definitely here to stay.

In other news. Vibe the late night talk show hosted by Sinbad, has been hosting Latin Night every Thursday. Although after Thursday the 12 of March, Latin Night along with all the other special nights have been canceled and merged into the variety through out the rotation of the normal show.

Vibe the late night talk show has been one of many sources who has been focusing on the Latino presence and contribution to Americas culture (our culture). They have invited many young urban rooted Hispanic actors, comedians, artist, and singers to the show and will continue to shine light on them. It would be nice to see someone like Lissete Melendez, Angelina, or Judy Torres up there. But of course do the record companies know about opportunities like this to promote Freestyle to the masses? Will they jump on this , or just let it slip away then wonder why Freestyle is not’t out there?

Another source who has recently been focusing on the Latino presence is The Source Magazine. In the March 98 issue it focused on the large Salsa reemergence and the Latino presence in HipHop Culture. In the process even recognized and mentioned Latin HipHop/Freestyle Dance Music. Even though Freestyle received one small paragraph in a five page report, it and urban Latinos were recognized by a magazine that once upon a time only catered to one specific market and overlooked a lot of other peoples contributions.

Mark Anthony , after rising out of the Latin HipHop movement of the 80’s, and later creating a path to the Salsa world that many other Freestyle singers would follow in the years to come , is now taking on Broadway. Paul Simon , once member of 70’s group Simon and Garfunkle and is a legend in the music world, is now a Broadway producer. He had a musical entitled “The Capeman”. based on a Nuyorican thyme. He picked out Mark Anthony and Panamanian Salsa legend and American Actor Ruben Blades (“Pedro Navaja”) as well as Spanish singer Ednita Nazario for leading roles. Lately Mark Anthony has been interviewed for many Spanish and English magazines and television shows. One thing he is flaunting proudly is his Freestyle background with no regrets what so ever. He should be an inspiration for others to take pride in their achievements. Presently there is a re-release of an old record he did with Lil Louie Vega called “Ride On The Rhythm”.

Ojani Noa and actress Jennifer Lopez have opened The Conga Room.. The L.A. based night club is said to be a combination of what the 70’s Studio 54 and today’s Planet Hollywood created , a joint to pack today’s most vibrant Television, Movie and Music personalities but with a Latin twist. It is said that the Conga Room is the place to be. Jennifer Lopez , who played Selena and delivered a slammin performance with Ice Cube in Anaconda (no the snake was not real) , is now recording a project under Miami’s very own Emilio Estefan. What the material could be is not known at this time. What is interesting is that Tony Moran now has full blown access to work and remix with any project Emilio has under his wings. So could there be a possibility that Jennifer Lopez meets Tony Moran and later decides to come out with a Freestyle record? Lets see… a second Generation Nuyorican , ex-In Living Color Fly Girl, Actress Turned Singer……..Hmmmm? (Tony, do you see what I see?) . Now for the question everybody has been asking . Is Gloria Estefan going to sing Freestyle or have a Freestyle version of her material. The answer to that is …….stay tuned. This is the step Tony Moran needs to further his career in the Industry . Who knows in the future he might even operate his own label like JellyBean and H.O.L.A recordings (Proyecto uno, Veronica, Hurricane G) or like Emilio and Crescent Moon (Glorita, Albita).

While on the subject of Tony Moran , The Latin Rascals are back and dominating the airwaves in New York. The show hosted by Judy Torres can be heard for three hours and airs once a week (for now) through KTU. We will have further coverage from the newest member of the Freestyle Music. Com click, Mike Romanello. In the mean time its cool to see that people are going back to their roots.

Speaking about Freestyle roots and people going back to them or groups reviving (TKA, Teaz II Pleaz, Trinere, Judy Torres etc.). After performing various shows through out the country and performing at New York’s KTU’s Beat Stock ,the new Company B has made their presence officially known. Funk E. Frank , who with JORGE A. OJEDA , Eddie mix, Seth the Edit, Mickie C, and various others dominated the airwaves of Miami through Rhythm 98 back in the early 80’s breaking the earliest Electrofunk and Freestyle and “old Miami” Bass. Frank has gone back to his roots . Now no longer program director of Power 96 ( and has not been for a while) , we find Frank near were he started. He is one of the main men behind the nu Company B. Although the Nu Company B does not walk around with blue padded leather outfits and white wigs like the old Company B, they do have something in common and his name is Ish (Their creator). Another person who is behind them is (my friends cuzin) Lewis Martinee, who single handedly put Miami on the map in the mid 80’s with various projects , among them EXPOSE`.

If this is a sign that Miami people are getting in gear, I hope they show a new generation the unity it took between many different labels, DJs, artist and various organizations including clubs, radio, and promotional companies to actually put Miami on the map. Talking about unity and how all DJs and people that are some what affiliated with Freestyle, need to unite. Despite the fact that Miami’s Power 96 at times disses Freestyle and at the same time plays it (a lot lately) to compete against Micro Radio Stations ( who will hopefully soon get licenses from the FCC). To show that not all at Power diss Freestyle and actually somewhat support the movement , I wanted to get an opinion and interview from DJ Laz. Lazaro Mendez ,who years back produced the Miami HipHop Bass mix for Nyasia’s ” Now And Forever” and occasionally plays Freestyle mixes, seemed not interested in Freestyle Music.Com.

After several phone calls, voice mail, and receptionists Mr. Mendez never got back to us. Maybe a site that only gets one thousand hits per day is not’t big enough for him. Maybe if we were a magazine like The Source or Billboard who had several accounts from big sponsors but instead had a Freestyle twist and was set to blow up around later on in the year, and included a International website who by June 98 should have up the Global Web Radio shows transmitting everything from Trance, Drum n Bass, House, but predominantly everything in the realm of Latin HipHop in both English and Spanish. ( Dam I hope I did not say to much. Thank goodness I did not even mention that FREESTYLE MUSIC.COM has T-Shirts) Maybe if we had all that, we could of all have been blessed with his presence, oh well. This is a good example of how when you have had a respect for someone and you don’t know them, when it comes down to it they are really not what they seem to be. Something that is seen a lot in the Freestyle and music world. Guess what? We don’t have time nor room for ego trips and bullshit. To replace Mr. Mendez’s interview we will have a special surprise interview. In the mean time while we grow, I hope we do not forget about DJ Laz or any one in that level, or like Power 96 who forgot about all those Miami based Indie record labels, producers and artists who helped put that station on the map, but were later dissed. Power and other stations are to blame for the suppression all Miami producers and Indie labels except for those with big money, who were of convenience, or worked for the station. All love lost ,always gets implanted into a new generation.

On to bigger people, in this case Mickey Garcia (who always calls me). Mickey Garcia , one of the MicMac gurus who along with Elvin Molina produced many projects for M.G.E.M productions ( C-Bank, Judy Torres, etc.) and later conquered the world with MicMac records , which in the late 80’s and early 90’s had its own era by pumping out material from Cynthia, Johnny O, Exo, Body & Style, Rios, Nyasia, Eilean Flores, Laura Enea, David, and many others.

Like noted last month, the “True” legendary producer will no longer produce Freestyle Records. Instead now resides at his new label 21st Century records. It seems that Mickey is into real-estate as he will be selling House. He will be selling House, Ambient, Trance, and ( how coincidental) Trip Hop. This month Mickey has released two compilations (talk about not wasting time).

The first compilation is a soulful House (Garage) compilation, that features Ultra Nate & Colonel Abram, Michel Ayers, and Antoinette Roberson among others. It was compiled by another familiar name, Ellis Pacheco ( who Produced Chrissy I-eece among others on Brewster).

The other compilation is more like a treat, entitled “Adrenaline Rush”, it is a Bartko/Kopas ( Acid Factor “You Are My Fantasy”) production containing various levels of Trip Hop and Electronic hybrids. The question is, “Where’s the Funk ? ” The answer is ..Right here.

For all the crowds who soak up the Neo Freestyle and Acid Phunk, this one is for you. Although it does not contain melodic and verbal tracks as the new Freestyle (Jocelyn, Nadine Renee), it does contain Nu Funk ( A.K.A. Acid Phunk, Neo Funk….Funk IS FUNK!) at the Acosta and DJ Icey level.

To enhance your Neo Freestyle and Funk mixes (you CD DJs), you can mix in ATMO “Numb Beats”, Clip ” Uptown Breakdown”, Ampere “Gonna Cut It”, Low Line “Beat Box Boom” , Prolapse ” Twilight O Zone” and Eleven & Seven “3 A.M . Massive”. These cuts will definitely catch the attention of all body rockers. May I also suggest a lil Jason Nivens vs. Run DMC “Its Like That” ( like it used to be…dale webo).

Marvin Schlachter will now run MicMac records. MicMac will continue to release compilations of MicMac and other companies material. Marvin used to run a label by the name Prelude ,who used to be France Joli’s (“Come To Me”) label back in the 70’s. Prelude was a recognized label as others as Casablanca and Salsoul were responsible for the delivery of the Disco sound.

Back to Mickey, with these two compilations he has wiped his hands of the MicMac stains and stereotypes that others have been trying to get rid of. In fact this is proof of a prosperous future for 21st Century records. What did seem interesting is that he put out material from Robert and Ivan with a Trip Hop compilation. Right there you are not really far from were Freestyle has resurrected itself. Also coming from someone who said he will consider coming back to the Freestyle scene when the time is right.

OK, OK people I am almost done here, but before I go we got some Latin House to cover.

We will start with Fullanito. Dam this shit is slaaaaming. “Guallando ” is fierce. Its funny that last time I wrote something on Latin House, I mentioned Dominicans and Panamanians rushing to the floor . Talking about Meren-House, this record has deep, deep, deep Dominican roots. It contains an accordion used in Dominican music and it could also be found in the Vallenato of Colombia and Pindin of Panama. The sounds of the accordion are addicting. Not to mention the style of rap with this record who like 2 In A Room , gives it masculinity. What is more surprising is that this record is on the same label as 2 In A Room… Cutting.

When you thought things were calming down, here comes El Presidente, who dropped “Cafe Con Leche” a couple of months back, and is now back into full swing with “La Gattita” .

The 12″ delivers several mixes but its the House mixes that stand out most.

To keep the party going, Tito Puente Jr. has also dropped some Material. “Azucar” has several mixes, but one is very slammin but unfortunately I forgot the name of this Specific mix ( I do not have the record in front of me, its in the other house). So I will have to give it to you when I pin up his review. I know he is probably wondering why the hell it is taking me so dam long.

These Latin House records should be enough to scorch your dance floor or living room, till the next time. They would be perfect to mix in with those “No Le Pege A La Negra” remixes or Celia Cruz’s “Bemba Colorada”. It is only here at Freestyle Music. Com that you will hear everything from Rockell to Celia Cruz and still be on the same boat.

That’s it for now; or do you all want me to continue? Just kidding, I know I have to take it easy on the eyes. I know this newsletter has not been informative enough, but I hope to pack it in with more details. I also need to hear more from so many labels out there. Especially those artist out there who pin up there releases on this site , but then don’t find themselves on the newsletter or their picture up on the photo gallery wall. Joee Desimone , Jessica, and several others. People what’s up with you all, E-Mail us or call us. Don’t stay outside looking in. We are here to help everyone whether you come from Miami, New York, Canada, even Egypt but you have to call. Get on my good side now and it will pay off later. If you feel that your label is not promoting you enough and you find yourself doing the work of others, call us.

Now for everybody who has wrote me , a big shout out to Andre Bownes, Evelyn from Puerto Rico , Nema and her brother John (what ever happened to him?), and every one else.

To all our supporters who have been here since day one- Thank you.

To all the industry people who have called and gave their welcome and offered their help.

To every one I met at the Winter Music Conference.

Mike Romanello- Thank you for your dedication and going out of your way.

Mike Hernandez at Escape.. … Ok, I mentioned your name. Take Care.

T.P JR, thank you for being cool about everything, and the Calliente show, I still haven’t seen you. Say what’s up to Peter. So when are you coming out with a Nu Freestyle Record? T.L.R. ..What’s up?

I rather see you get up on the mic and see you bust out like India……. “Con Ese Ritmo LatinO-O-O-O”- Peace.

Every one else, as we get into the year we will get deeper into this thing we call Latin HipHop, before you know it, you will already know the true meaning of Freestyle. What may seem confusing to you all now will make sense to you all later. You will have a deeper respect for Freestyle and understand why it is still so strong. Years from now you can all say you were all up in here in 1998 and that you were part of this. In the future , everything you learn hear or anywhere else, it is up to you to pass down the knowledge and pass down that love that has kept us together and the soul of this thing called Freestyle, alive. Reality teaches us that not all of us will be here tomorrow to continue the struggle, that is why we now depend on a new generation to keep moving forward into the future without forgetting the past. Along our way , we will lose some but also gain some. Individuals that we have looked down upon might be our respected legends tomorrow and those respected legends of yesteryears, might not wind up so legendary. Old crowds might fade out, but new crowds will always fade in.

1998 . Things look good so far. People are opening their minds to experimentation’s. We have artist and labels once again on Major Labels. Radio is playing Freestyle whether its new or old. The underground is constantly changing. More and more people are leaning towards electronic Genres and opting for Phunk. As Freestyle rose out of the Phunk of the early 80’s, it has also risen out of the Phunk of the late 90’s. As the global rebirth of Universal HipHop continues, Latin HipHop will continue its struggle as it has for three decades now, but musically flourished in 1983.

1988 – was a very good year. Patterns repeat themselves at the same time the universe is full of flip sides (Freestyle/House – House- House/Freestyle). 1985 – Latin Hip Hop Movement . 1995- Latinos over old foundations turned new (Planet Soul). 1982- “Planet Rock”- our world began. 8+2 = 10. Since it began the second year of that decade and the universe as one has2 sides , a positive and negative, you need two 10s. 10 multiplied by 10 = 1000. A millennium – what we are marching towards. Kraftwerk- “Trans-Europe Express”( 1978). Our world 1998. If you have no idea what was just stated, don’t worry about it, its for the Philosophers. Those who use Music, theories, knowledge and history, mathematics, geography, all religions, science, and art to define our world. Its time to wake up.

For now, get out of this computer and go live your life. You won’t find Freestyle in the computer you can only find it within yourself, look in the mirror. That is Freestyle. Now what you do with yourself is important, if the movement will leave its mark in history as it did 16 years ago.

Before I go there is just 2 more things. Mad props to Peter McCormick. You all have to check out www.phatmix.com. There you will find something nice n sweet. In the near future we will have a list of all, ALL Freestyle related sites and links to them.

Also , the Freestyle Music . Com Web radio is up and running on its first days. Within a month more will be added. Send all material A.S.A.P . That’s all I can tell you about that. Also we have Freestyle Music. Com T- shirts. Do you want to know how to get one? Call Us or E- mail Us.

You can also wait until next month when I announce the specifics as well as introduce the newest members of Freestyle Music. Com and WMIR (World Music Internet Radio) . The address for the radio shows is www.freestylemusic.com/WMIR

Freestyle Music.Com is an independent organization based in Miami. Its sole propose is to educate and to lead Freestyle Music and Latin HipHop culture into the coming Millennium as well as keep our history alive. Financially founded by old Miami Radio DJ/ Producer Pioneer Jorge A. Ojeda (Destune records) and old Miami Producer Vic Ten (Ten Lion Records), the true foundations were layered out when the two united forces with an unknown. Although not much is known about this person that just walked in off the streets, no one can question about the mad love he had for the music as well as for the movement. After watching Jonpito (that’s me) put his heart his dedication and life . The owners of Ten Lion records have sold Ten-Lion records for $$$$ , in order to also concentrate on full dedication on this website.

Freestyle Music.Com Is Jorge A. Ojeda , Jonpito and Vic-Ten. And as we grow, the list of names will grow as well. You know them, but the scary part is that you all don’t know me (Pito), worst what I am capable of. If you thought the Freestyle sound resurfaced from the Underground, you haven’t seen nothing yet. The movement has resurfaced as well.

Because it was Spring Break, I took a break to enjoy the Breaks. By the time this is posted, all should be back at work or back at school. So after you get home or you are on a coffee break or whatever, you can read this patiently because I waited for you all to get back.

Last, because last months newsletter was written in February for March and this one in March For April, the next thing I am going to say is referring to something that took place in February but I decided to hold on to it until this newsletter because I did not want to ruin the Carnival groove.

February of some years ago something happened that hit close to home and affected my family and family friends. We lost one of ours. We lost a friend , a wife lost a husband, a mother lost her son and a daughter lost her father. A couple of years ago , three small planes belonging to an organization called Brothers To The Rescue, who fly over the ocean looking to help out stranded Cuban rafters and other refugees, were out doing their normal flights. Because some brainwashed asshole decided to be a Dick, they (Cuban Government)sent out Cuban war planes and disintegrated as many defenseless twin engine planes as they could shoot over International water. Armando Alejandre Jr. was on one of those planes. We never saw him again.

When this story hit the Media, to many this was just another story and the fallen victims were just another name. Others believed that they should have never been up in the air to begin with. First off, they were not just another name. They were every day people who had more in their hearts than others could handle. Its one thing when you read about them, its another thing when you actually know these people. They like many others in Miami, were Cuban. Cuban physically or Cuban in heart, they like so many Miami residence faced that same pain and experience that the Cuban population faced. The same struggle to keep memories and traditions alive. When Miami had its Disco Boom in the seventies as well as its Freestyle Boom in the 80’s and Dance music’s of the 90’s , it was predominantly second generation Cubans who have put the City on the Map. It was people like Armando Alejandre Jr. , who were the older generations who taught the younger generations about were they came from as well as hoping that one day the second generated Cubans and descendants could one day see the land of their ancestors.

America, all came from somewhere else , excluding the Native Americans, and could return to their homeland. Cuba, its not a matter of choice. You can,t go back. If you could go back, you go back physically but not to the Cuba that once was. That Cuba is long gone now and only exist in memories. Cuba today is a country that society sees it normal for young 13 year old boys and girls, teachers and professionals to sexually prostitute their body’s to phatcat European tourist (Predominantly German, French and Italians) as other youngsters in art circles (Rockers, musicians, painters , etc.) inject themselves with HIV rather than to continue to live in a country that prohibits them from self expression and lied to its society by making false promises of some revolution that failed.

Growing up in Miami I personally learned as much about Cuba as much as other second generation Cuban youth or others who grew up with them did. I learned and understood their struggle and why it is important for them to fight for their identity. Identity is all they have left (Freestyle also recognizes and represents that I.D) . It would not be complete to go into the month of April without giving my respect and recognition to certain people who deserve it.

I want to dedicate this months newsletter to Armando Alejandre Jr. and the other fallen Brothers To The Rescue Pilots, Mario De La Pena, Carlos Costa, and Pablo Morales. I also want to dedicate this to their families and their friends. To go with the dedication I also want to dedicate this months newsletter to all the Cubans. To all the Cubans weather your straight up Cuban, Cuban American, rich or poor, black or white and everything in between. To that generation that grew in up Miami in the seventies with K.C. and The Sunshine Band and that generation of the eighties that grew up with Expose. Its all about Black Beans and Rice along with your Cafecito. To all Cubanaso y Cubanasa of today’s present and to all the Cubanaso and Cubanasas of the past. La Rumba ya empesao, This ones for you.

One love always to all.

by: Jonpito

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