WHATEVER MAKES MY HEAD BOUNCE AND MY HEART BEAT
Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a little boy, my family home was dubbed “Harlem.” We were the only black family in an entirely white neighborhood and in our home, there was always a celebratory vibe with everyone always welcome. From traditional African beats to smooth soul and R&B, music was always billowing out the front door and it was an inspiration to me even at a young age.
As a teenager in France, I was mesmerized by the golden age of hip hop and “Yo MTV Raps” gave me and my friends insight into the amazing world of American hip hop. We would tape the shows and watch them again and again and again. People are always shocked to learn that even back then, growing up in France, I knew as much about American hip hop in the 90s as any black teenager living in NYC or LA.
I began to truly understand and appreciate the artistry required to make music when I was 18 years old and my sister began dating an up-and-coming hip hop artist. Those musicians welcomed me into their world and I became so intrigued and inspired. From the lyrics, music and overall sound they created – I really admired the creative process and the passion they showed for their art. This was also the first time when I really began to understand and appreciate collaboration. There is something so unique and important about artists coming together, in the same space for days on end, whether they agree on anything or not, and being consumed by their own work and passions.
As the golden age of hip-hop began to fade, I became quite depressed and longed for music that would fulfill my senses in the same way. By that time, I was in San Francisco and given an opportunity to work at a club run by my now friend/DJ/Producer Franky Boissy. Franky saw something in me and took a chance even though I knew nothing about house music. I continued to be inspired watching musicians at the club doing what they loved, with a lot of passion and entertaining the masses. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t hip-hop – I developed a love for house and other types of music because of the creative passion behind the music. My knowledge about music evolved from there, and these days I am also fulfilled in my work planning and booking the music for Amelie. I love being able to foster and showcase talent that I know my customers will love.
Music remains a crucial part of my own creative process. I always have music playing when I am designing and creating, choosing something that speaks to me and the task at hand. Really anything that makes my head bounce and my heart beat works for me. The only rule I have is that the music cannot block my senses to the point of me becoming isolated in it, rather than hearing my emotions. Staying free, yet controlled is a delicate and important balance for me to successfully create, and the music must enhance rather than hinder that balance.