The first A&Rs were DJs, they found new talent and helped develop artist. DJ Coming of Age has been at work creating outlets to break R&B, Funk, Soul artist for years. Having the opportunity to tour the globe Coming of Age knows the influence of music and that there is no boundary?s on where to find good music. He keeps in touch with underground and signed artist to provide exposure but only if your hot. We had the opportunity to sit down with Coming of Age to discuss his mixtapes, production company and what makes a good song?
Tell us about some of the history behind DJ Coming of Age. Where are you originally from and what are some your earliest recollections of music?
I was born in Great Neck , N.Y. but I moved to North Carolina at a young age. My earliest recollection of music came from my father. He had a serious collection of vinyl and 8-track tapes all over the house. We were the family that entertained everyone else in the neighborhood so he kept his music collection up to par. Some of the best grooves my dad would play were the old funksters like Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Hamilton Bohannon. He also loved the Motown sound and jazz.
Who were some of your music influence over the year?
Over the years the sounds that really caught my ear were groups like the S.O.S Band, Loose Ends, and the Gap Band. I really started finding my niche in the early eighties with R&B and soul. After that the first day rap and hip hop came on the scene, my passion went to another level. I began collecting mixtapes from the hottest DJs from New York and Philadelphia. Back in the day it seemed all the best music, especially the underground collabos, came from up north. It wasn’t long before other places began to represent as well. For example, Chicago had the house music scene locked. Between those three cities, there were plenty of great DJs in the mix.
Soul records seem to be your foundation. What is it abut that genre that particularly integrated you?
My mixes are my interpretation of the sounds. I try to create a vibe that will leave an indelible impression on someone. It’s easy to do a commercial mix. That’s a no brainier. But to piece together a set that is near timeless, that’s a work of art. Personally I go for the tunes that grab me immediately, smooth tunes with words and prose that have meaning. Groups like Fertile Ground, Zap Mama, Wendisue, Semokee, or Kimberly Holloway. They express themselves artistically and in a way that an average person could only think to do. That’s the artistry in soul music that I reach for and share with everyone.
Your mixtape are one of a kinda. There are not many mixtapes for R&B, Neo-Soul and Funk. What is your concept for your mixtapes?
My mixtapes basically pull talent from all over the world as long as the act is soulful. I try to showcase talent as I find it in my travels and searches for music. Go to any major city in the world and you will find a sound unique to that area. After that, I carefully choose the order so the flow will be right. On each mix I represent the up and coming talent or someone I feel that was overlooked. My last mixtape called “Funkhome” featured Frances Elizee from New York and Swedish singer Hengi. Put them in your search engine and see for yourself!
How do you select song that play in a set or feature your mixtapes?
Some of the songs come from the artists or record labels. I listen to everything but if it doesn’t move me, I won’t use it for that purpose. There are many ways to help promote but a mixtape is a DJs signature. Any track I put on has to have a vibe I’m looking for. I prefer the chilled grooves, like the happy hour or after-hours sets. Kinda like when the club is closed and no one wants to go home yet. My mixes set that kind of atmosphere.
What are characteristic that make a good song to you?
A good song to me has to have a nice groove. It can be an instrumental as well. I use a lot of instrumentals in my mixes. Also, I like to hear words and poetry that make me think. If the sh*t is basic or sounds like something I could have written, I won’t bother with it at all.
I heard that you?re going to college now?
College? Yeah man, that’s over for now. I just wanna delve into music promotion, traveling, and a foreign language or two. Communication is the key.
How does that knowledge help you in the music business?
Going to school definitely helps. I was able to take a vision and see it through. All the business courses surely helped with that. People approach you differently when you sound like you know what you’re talking about. Plus it teaches discipline if nothing else.
What are you working on these days?
I’m currently working with the Brass King out of Miami, Florida. He is one of the most gifted DJs I have ever seen. After seeing him spin live I was convinced that I could still make a difference with what I do. Aside from his technical skills, he has a history and a language of him that commands respect for the craft. Nuff respect. My compilation cds “Hidden Souls 2 and Unheralded: The Neo Soul Project have been released. They feature a range of artists and producers that I work with. We promoted them via podcasts , internet radio, and college radio . The unorthodox marketing style has worked thus far but i’ll be back in the booth in October. Finally, I’m piecing together a third compilation which will feature some poetry from Warrick Roundtree at Untamed Tongues in Las Vegas! For everyone into spoken word, his poetry shows are getting major recognition around the globe. I can’t wait for that project to take hold. Warrick is a genius at what he does.
If you had to list the top 5 albums of all time?
Top 5 albums of all time? Wow! Which genre? ha ha Adeniyi, that’s a damn good question. I’ll think on that but in the meantime, here are five artists or groups that have influenced my approach to music.
Fertile Ground (Baltimore, MD)
DJ Jazzy Jeff
Soul II Soul
Fonky Family (Marseille, France)
I thank you for your time and for reaching out to us. We look forward to contributing and wish you success as well. I just want to say to everyone that the reaches of soul music are far and wide. Don’t be afraid to take chances with your music, or in life. You’ll find your horizons duly expanded!
DJ CO —— By: Interview By: Adeniyi Omisore