Born in 1977 and growing up in a pop era heavily influenced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, I’m regularly quizzed over my love of soul music. Explaining it can be somewhat embarrassing.
My influence as a child was mainly from my mother (who attends every September Caister with me) and her love of soul music, although I have to admit I know every word to every Neil Diamond track she played in her car!!
From my earliest memories I can recall sitting in our music room, listening to Stevie Wonder (That Girl) and Marvin Gaye (Sexual Healing) on repeat, watching my mum prance around the room as most 25 year old parents do (I hope!!) Some of the more memorable tracks for me were the ones I tried to join in dancing to, like Kool and the Gang (Get down on it) and Stevie Wonder (Do I Do).
At the tender age of 8 and after an ugly breakup of the family home, I was introduced to my mums new boyfriend, Roderick. He was a muscular black man built like some kind of house and would have scared most people, but he came with a football and his 7 year old son so he won me over. By the age of 10 this man was now living with us and had brought his record collection with him, not just Soul, but Reggae, Soca and even some Ska.
While other kids were listening to Kylie Minogue or Rick Astley, I was sitting at home listening to Anita Baker (Sweet Love), writing down the words so I could recite them to Nicole Simpson at school…… Now that’s the embarrassing bit over!!
By the age of 16 I was into my music and under the influence of a DJ called Hugh Gunnel (Michael Morgan), my best friends brother. He was not following the norm of Jungle or Hardcore music that was about at the time, but favoured more vocal House music. He later ran House Sonic nights at the infamous Warehouse in Edmonton, although it was not quite my scene. It was also the mid 90’s and in my opinion, R&B was at its best.
It wasn’t until I was 18 and my stepdad started taking me to his regular haunt, a club called Charlie Chans at Walthamstow Dog Track that my love of soul music was reignited. A family friend was the resident DJ, none other than Tony Fernandez, a former Caister DJ. His energy and obvious passion for music rubbed off on me and set me on the way to DJing as a hobby.
Over the years the hobby turned into a passion and my music collection grew and grew, however I have to admit none of it was ever on vinyl…. I was a child of the CD era!
My first DJ appearance was at a local pub in Edmonton, North London in 2006 where I stood in for the resident DJ. Although it had only ever been a hobby for me, the reaction I got for playing my choice of music was amazing and I knew it was something I wanted to do more.
My progression as DJ has been down to chance encounters and an amount of luck. After meeting the lead vocalist (Tina T) of an amazing Soul band (Do You Wanna Funk), I was asked if I would DJ with them when they performed. This led to me getting a number of private gigs and gave me an opportunity to develop as a DJ. A chance encounter whilst performing with the band led to an invitation to my first appearance as a DJ at Caister in 2011, which as a Caister regular was something I could not refuse.
I had been attending Caister for many years and had made some great lifelong friends, as well as gaining an understanding of the saying ‘Soul Family’. This is why I also bring my mum, stepdad and brother to Caister with me, making it a real family affair.
During my journey I have appeared at some awful venues (which will remain unnamed) but have also had the pleasure of playing alongside some great DJ’s at venues like Club 108 (Enfield) and more recently Soulgood (Cheshunt) run by Tony Fernandez and his partner Richard Lobhan.
Working alongside other established DJ’s such as Steve Kite has been a great learning experience and my more recent venture as a DJ on Soulbeat Radio continues to develop me as a DJ. I have recently founded ‘I Love Soul’ and set up a website to bring together everything soulful on www.ilovesoul.co.uk
I am both pleased and proud to now be part of the Caister team and a regular Caister DJ and look forward to meeting many more new friends.
Top 10 Soul Tunes (although this changes every day!!)
1. Bobby Caldwell – What you won’t do for love
2. William De Vaughn – Be thankful for what you got
3. Angie Stone – Wish I didn’t miss you
4. Eric Benet – Paid
5. The Valentine Brothers – Taste of your love
6. Aretha Franklin – Wonderful
7. Linda Clifford – Runaway Love
8. Anita Baker – Sweet Love
9. Stevie Wonder – Boogie on reggae woman
10. George Benson – Love x Love
Top 10 House Tunes
1. Frankie Knuckles – Tears
2. Inner City – Pennies from heaven
3. The Nightwriters – Let the music use you
4. Ron Hall & The Muthafunkaz – The way you love me
5. Kim English – Nightlife
6. Masters at Work – Voices
7. Hardsoul – Back together
8. Shaun Escoffery – Days Like This
9. Kings of Tomorrow – Finally
10. Masters at Work – Backfired
Top 10 Films
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. The Green Mile
3. Top Gun
4. Batman (all of them)
5. Toy Story (all of them)
6. The Grinch
7. Christmas Vacation
8. Shrek (all of them)
9. Back to the Future (all of them)
10. It’s a Wonderful Life (only in black and white)
What can I say?........... I’m a big kid!!!!