Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Inspiration Information

Just having fun, just laughing smiling having fun…”

Here I am sitting by the beach curating the music for a steakhouse in the 49ers stadium. My dad came from the smallest of small towns in the Dominican Republic, I mean small like they just got a full electrical system a decade ago man. The Playlist Generation has  software that can run on WiFi so I can take my Air and do my job from anywhere in the world. My dads town didn’t even have a phone man. When they finally got a line, we use to have to schedule phone calls with my grandmother in advance because there was only one person in the town with a line. Ask my sister, our Grandmother had to be there at exactly that time for us to speak with her.

Now I’m sitting by the beach in California using wireless software on a computer the size of an envelope curating music for the world, helping one of my best friends build a company. Do you know what that means to me? I swear man, it makes me cry sometimes. I’m thankful for my grandparents, dad, my mom, for Dr. Walter Turnbull and for Michael Smith…

You, making me happier,
Now I am snappier while I’m with you.”

Saying that we’ve come along way doesn’t do it justice. I hope anyone around me understands why I don’t wanna ill or have little sympathy for first world problems. Ask my little brother, when we first moved to New York we lived in a studio apartment for like a year before we got a proper place. Thankfully we we’re little midgets back then, that was 3 kids to one bed. I sung for Nelson Mandela when I was 13, I sung Blackbird with a Beatle man. I could go to Paris tomorrow, curate amazing list and bring my mom with me if I feel like it. Do you know what that means to me? Don’t talk to me about nonsense man, talk to me about lovely things.

My perspective is deep-rooted and I’m thankful for those who came before me, your lives are what make mine and I’ll do everything I can to show how much I appreciate it. Everything you tell me, everything you’ve done is my Inspiration Information. I’ll never disrespect that progress by taking it for granted or being unappreciative or indulging in any wackness.

Jumping, laughing, smiling, having fun.
Laughing, smiling, loving, get on down.
Smiling, laughing, loving, get on down.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Inspiration Information


CHVRCHES – Now Is Not The Time

No matter what happens you can’t stop moving forward. If you’re in a trap the best thing you can do is set your eyes on the next thing. The nature of the universe is that nothing is permanent, not in the same form at least. The world around us is in constant flux but humans are gifted and cursed with nostalgia, memories and a strong affection for the past. Who can blame us, reminiscing is like heroin in the way that the very thing that takes the pain away causes it at the same time.

The same thing that make you laugh make you cry,
The same game the make you math could make you die. – Jay-Z

That’s a hard concept to grasp, I don’t fully understand it yet but man there’s so much going on in my life right now that I’m being forced to figure that shit out fast.

For those of you who don’t know, since starting EMPT I’ve become the Creative Director for a company called The Playlist Generation. There’s like 4 people in the world who have my job, I’m a lucky guy and I know it. When Michael (the CEO of TPG) snatched my bagel eating, uptown ranking, Tribeca living, Noctambule party throwing ass from NYC and convinced me to move to LA the company was doing really well. But right now we’re experiencing growth at a level I’ve never personally been a part of and it’s changing everything man. It’s so exciting but with that comes a level of responsibility that’s requiring a complete overhaul in the way I look at everything. Life changes when so many people depend on you, when you need to hit home runs every single day, when you can’t miss a beat, when you’re simply past the age of mistakes and learning without practice.

There’s no such thing as total control but you realize that you need to have your shit together, everything needs to be real, you need to be dependable and everyone around you the same.

I don’t deal with the snakes and fakes, I don’t make mistakes. – Styles P

Music has always been timely for me and if I wasn’t from the Space Age I might have found that too mystical and creepy. Now Is Not The Time by CHVRCHES is no exception, I mean holy shit is this song on the money right now.

Live in fear I cannot be your savior
There is no violence in your heart
Warriors are both time and patience
But you and I are worlds apart…”

The only tattoo I have is on my wrist and it says Fear Nothing. “Live in fear I cannot be your savior” – I’ve spent so much time trying to understand fear that when I see it my body has the most intense reaction to just man up and do what I need to do to get it away from me.

If you pay close attention to the events in your life you can see road signs, everything is connected and if you’re hearts in the right place you know how to move. Our company is dealing with this massive growth challenging times like this expose people more than I ever knew. You quickly see who’s riding with you, who’s really in it for the count, ready to sacrifice for the greater good and stick it through. What’s the cliche saying Pressure makes diamonds? I’ve never appreciated that one more. It becomes less about you and more about the collective, you learn to work and grow together or you fail. There’s no room for fear, there’s no room for excuses of any kind.

Life is short man, you live and you love but when you realize that you can’t stop, you also realize that you can’t wait.

Nothing now can ever come between us
As we hide and watch the city burn
There is much that I still want to tell you
But now is not the time to speak of love”

There’s so much on my mind that I could write a book right now but I have to listen to the music, take my own advice and march to the beat. The whole world is hot under me right now but now is not the time to stop, now is not the time to fear. Enjoy.

CHVRCHES – Now Is Not The Time


The Playlist Generation

I haven’t spoken much about my move to LA because I’ve been trying to settle into the new lifestyle, meeting all the music heads out here, just getting my stuff together. I’m finally at that point and for the sake of those who’ve emailed me about it, here’s an update.

I moved myself and EMPT out west to become the Creative Director for a company called The Playlist Generation. You may not have heard of us yet but you’ve certainly heard us. Most of the worlds top brands, high end hotels, restaurants and retailers hire us to create unique sonic identities for their brands. So if you walk into an Intermix in Miami and hear something awesome you never thought a store would play or you’re strolling through the Cosmopolitan lobby in Vegas and you hear Theophilus London and Edward Sharpe instead of the typical Rat Pack show tunes, that’s us.

I started EMPT with the sole purpose of bringing light to undervalued styles of music and art and it’s doing pretty well. The Playlist Generation is that concept on crack. Long story short, the dude who brought me out here, Michael Smith, is a guy who pretty much single handily bought good taste to many of our favorite hang outs. I like to surround myself around rebels and to have success by offering something different in a world ruled by the Top 40 hit making machine is as rebellious as it gets. Not to knock Top 40, I love the fact that so many people can enjoy something together but the way some of these acts make music these days it might as well be an algorithm. In fact, I would probably appreciate it more if I knew a robot had made it, then at least I would know it was sincere. Not just that but there’s more to life, expression and art than “hits.” Like many of my role models, Michael offered more when everyone else was simply trying to get away with giving as little as possible…

Apples problem is it still believes the way to grow is serving caviar in a world that seems pretty content with cheese and crackers. – Joseph Graziano

That’s the “problem” anyone who loves and cares about what they do has. The mentally of people like Joseph Graziano is why crap gets made, in the words of Kendrick Lamar –

Naw-uh f$*k dat…”

I grew up an entertainer under one of the most demanding instructors a kid could have. It sounds tough but it was great and it made me have a deep love and appreciation for giving something unique. Life keeps putting me in a positions that allow me to do that on bigger and bigger scales and for that I’m so thankful. Sometimes my ambition and unwillingness to compromise gets in the way of execution but now I feel like I’m finding a balance. No matter what though, my desire for this only matures so there’s no stopping and…

To make you feel what I feel, I’m gon’ try my best
And if you real like I’m real, you could provide the rest
Everything left out, you could blame it on the brain not the heart, I’m playing my part…” – Memphis Bleek
I’m not sure what the future holds for this company but once I get to the point where I can be creative with what we offer it’s going to be exiting. To anyone else trying to do this that’s cool with offering cheese and crackers – “get ready cause here I come…”

Blood Diamonds – Heart