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Conversations with Calvin Booker | @djcboogie

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Calvin Booker, known as DJ C-Boogie, is a well-rounded individual who has traveled all over Europe as a professional dancer and DJ. He is now one of the current resident DJs for the Brooklyn venue, Now & Then NYC. I speak with the Brooklynite about his history in dancing, the DJ culture, and much more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, my name is Calvin Booker, otherwise known as DJ C-Boogie. I’m a native of Brooklyn, born and raised. I’ve been a dancer professionally. I began dancing at 4. I started becoming a professional at 7, you know, like kind of when you get your first paycheck, even if professional, it pays you to do the thing. So at 7, I got my first stipend from this production called Harlem Nutcracker. Working with a Seattle dance company called Spectrum Dance. The choreographer was named Donald Byrd by one of our first productions and as you know, he did the Harlem Nutcracker featuring the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. He did like a whole like arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite, so he choreographed to that music. So I was one of the kids in the party scene, cause, you know, in the White Nutcracker. Clara’s a kid, in the black Nutcracker, Clara is an adult. She has grandchildren and the whole family come over to the house for Christmas dinner that’s like, you know, Christmas-ism. Anyway. (laughs) I’m also a tap dancer that wasn’t even like a tap dance project. I grew up tap dancing. My dance teacher, his name is Tracy Mann, we’ve formed a dance group called The Young Hoofers featured my friends and me, you know, the homies that I grew up and hung out with.

I want you to get a little bit about The Young Hoofers. How did that come about?

Well, these are my friends that I was hanging out with on an almost daily basis. It features some of my friends: school friends my dad’s school friends, so, it’s a little different. With that group, my school friends was able to become my dance school friends and we all just formed a group and we dug tap and use tap to help us see some places and things, so it was like an outlet. My teacher taught at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Dance Theater in Bed Stuy. So I kinda started under Marie Brooks, a legendary choreographer, and this energy, and from there, we were rehearsing in this studio called Mahogany which is like a jazz dude who’s like a club that was connected to Restoration. Of course, it’s not there, anymore.

What got you into DJing?

Well, music, first and foremost, you know what I mean? I grew up loving music. My dad collected a lot of music, so I got to play in his music, and learn and grow. I didn’t know how these things are going to impact me all these years later, but I just had a handle on a lot of good music. You know, the Crusaders, George Benson, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, so I had a very well-rounded upbringing musically, and my uncle is Randy Muller for Brass Construction. He’s dope, too. Musically, he used to pick me up and shit and used to drive to Wendy’s. He used to be hooked on Wendy’s like an addiction, and in between the drive from my crib to Wendy’s, he would play whatever was working on and ask for my, 7-year-old opinion about things, so I was kind of like my young a&r-ism. I got to develop my opinion about what was dope or not. Dope is still like, the gauge. (laughs)

You danced with a lot of tap masters like Gregory Hines. I’m still in shock and awe over that.

Yeah, Gregory Hines and I at Town Hall together. My group and Gregory. And what was dope was that our youngest member was like, seven at the time. He was short for his age, so we need to be shorter. So it’s even more like a cute factor. So he and Greg kinda had like a moment cause Greg loved kids, so he dug us all, but he was the baby.

Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Sandman Simms, Pegleg Bates and Jimmy Slide…

Just trying to be young in New York City. They had a lot of stuff going on. The tap community was a lot more prevalent at that time, so I’m just blessed to have been a part of it.

Do you ever think that the culture has changed in New York?

Yeah, that’s probably why I spoke so much both so much because I kinda have to cope.

I highly feel that the culture has changed so much in New York, We had different genres, like in New York, like, whatever was your thing. There was someplace that you can go to that facilitated.

Yeah, I agree.

Yeah. And I feel like now, those places are not here.

And we’re just left to deal with what they’re trying to feed us. But that’s why the blessing is that what I’m trying to do it Now & Then, whatever night they give me Monday, Tuesday, whatever.

Wow, what I feel like with Now & Then, I believe that their goal is to to preserve the culture that was back then. Also, to help move it forward and be open to new things. And I guess why it’s called Now and Then.

(laughs) Yeah, we need the understanding of then, now.

Was there anybody that you would have loved to have partnered up with?

Jimmy Slide is the motherfucker. He’s just cool.

I could see you doing something with the Nicholas Brothers.

Oh. Notice that not a whole lot of people really trying to do that shit. That’s why these motherfuckers got double hip replacements.

Oh, wow. Really?

Yeah, and it’s not like we don’t love the form. If you get a good split out of your gig, and your body can still do that, you’re cool, but nobody should really have to go through a double hip replacement in their life. love top. I love the art. You know, I love what it does to people and I love it when people get from it. I actually had a gig where I had to do a bunch of jumps because I like the Nicholas Brothers and there’s a lot of fucking jump splits, so that was kind of like a deal-breaker. I didn’t really do all that. I mean, I wasn’t gonna bang my body up for this gig cuz it would have been six months of that, you would have seen me six months later, looking very different. I wouldn’t have been walking, I wouldn’t have been dancing like I am. Yeah, that’s a level of freedom that, you know, that comes with. So I’m good, with where I’m at.

So, so now is back to the, um, you know, like now and then preserving the culture?

Oh, yeah. You know, we’re calling before we walk, but eventually, you know, we’ve had, we’ve already had like a comedy show here, you’ve already had, like, a couple of different live events. I think we finally have like, trivia night, you can kind of have like, fashion shows, fundraisers…those are going to be about a possibility for fun. The point is that it’s gonna lend itself to people that we know: some movers and shakers. You can really come in and do some stuff and more importantly, it’s more about creating the hub.

It’s really helpful for the culture, itself.

Like pre-social media. We got to go back to like real life back to where phones weren’t necessary. You come to the club, and you can and actually socialize.

Just having been at the club, you meet somebody who sees you who thinks you’re dope for some project, you need to go talk to such and such or you need to go see such and such about a horse. (laughs) New York City shit like that. It happens, but it happens more efficiently, now, with social media, it needs to come back to a more organic flow. You can see and meet people, like, if you like, I’m looking at you in your eyes and talk to people, you can connect, you can forge different kinds of relations, honest relations beyond Facebook.

You, being a dancer, how important is dance in a generation that ignores the art?

Well, based on my experiential living, I’ve been missing since I was 4 years old. So, I’ve grown with that, as a part of just the way I move through the world and dancing…movement is medicine, you understand? Movement facilitates, like freedom. If you move enough, you release certain blocks in your body, like, literally, you get free from moving. So, moving, in general, is super important. It’s very important, you know, it’s very important to be able to allow yourself to be open to the music and to what’s going on musically. Allow yourself to connect to a lot of music to kinda have its way with you, you know what I mean? So that it can heal because that’s ideally what it does when you play the right stuff. You know, there’s healing vibrations, just using frequencies. Things that you can gain from a good set, a good sound system, o that’s new dances like numero uno. I mean, you know, even after everything I’ve been through, I appreciate being able to come back in like dance and that’s generally how I gauge my vitality. “Can I dance?” “Can I not dance?” You know? “Damn, I can’t, I’m fucked up. I can’t even fucking dance,” you know, or I could do what I can do and move through it to get to that level of optimal functionality.

Do you feel that the art of DJ is lost?

Well, considering we’re in a time where everybody can just access equipment, I feel like it’s become very mechanical. You know what I mean? I think that’s a good way to put that. A lot of people aren’t taking time to create like to learn their music enough to help it like relate to each other. I’ve been listening to music long enough to understand how they can relate, how you use certain parts of a track musically over the next track. It’s like, it’s like a band: everybody’s playing together. All of your music has a relation to each other. That’s the idea. I mean, going back to Larry. When I was a kid, my teacher put me on to Larry Levan, and how he was on WBLS in New York, and as I got acquainted with Larry, I started reading, like the back of the Paradise Garage and it talks about Larry’s approach. How he used the music to tell his own stories and shit. And if you listen to close enough, you will understand what he was at emotionally, if he was having a fight, you would know that because of the songs he would play, it will tell the story. So I feel like that part of it is something that we all as DJs are trying to, like reach for. But we’re such in an ADD society like nobody is really even like keying into how deep you might actually really be. So you have to kind of find a balance between being deep and being dumb.

Everything is instant. You can play something, and then some people might get easily distracted from it.

As a DJ you got to be able to pull them back in. The next thing you play has to be like that thing.

Who’s gonna playlist right now?

I mean, I have staples that can do no wrong, that I check to over the years. Do any of the staples. Osunlade is top of the top. Karizma has made his way in there. Natasha Diggs is up there because she does all of that. She plays everything and she’s cute. Ian Friday, Boddhi Satva, Moodymann…Piranhahead is actually a DJ. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard him play. He has a lot of tracks. I’ve heard of some of his music but I never got the honor of hearing him play.

Do you feel that the culture is dealing with the whole COVID situation?

Well, me being I don’t know what’s going on in the rest of America, you’ll have in my ear to the ground in Brooklyn. The culture is alive and thriving. The culture is safe, man. We go out, we dance anywhere. We can get it in little sidewalk parties. So we’re good. This curbside thing is permanent. So it’s definitely something that we got to get used to.

Yeah, like what’s next for you?

I’m looking forward to being a solid resident at Now & Then, which in turn would allow me to invite my friends to express themselves. A lot of people are having to cope with that play at home business and that doesn’t do it for everybody. It doesn’t do it for me. So I’m blessed to have a live installation, but don’t do that system.

Do you feel that the whole playing at home thing is oversaturated?

Yeah. I mean, back when you had to stay in your house, like, okay, but now there’s like, I mean, people will do it before, but people don’t have to stay in the house.

I just felt like this is like, you know, like, people. People who wouldn’t even dare to go on live are now going on live with Venmos. There are people who have lost their jobs, that that’s my thing. There are people who have lost their jobs. That extra unemployment is cut off. People need to pay their bills and rent, and you here on Facebook Live, asking for cashapp. PayPal. Like who is you? If you are DJing and you ain’t producing, you’re screwed. But, if you are producing, man…your residuals? You’ll be just fine.

Yeah, and that’s my next thing too. I plan to start producing and make some music and have some dope collaboration, have some features. I have some like a dope horn player, friends and keyboard player friends and, just musician friends. So yeah, I’m just looking forward to trying to facilitate, all the styles. So we come out, we do hip hop, we do jazz, we do funk. I know, people that do it all. I’m looking forward to what’s to come, you know, like, and just being that hub and building like a community, building a scene. We got to build. It’s a new decade. in the 20s and 30s, they had this scene. We had our scene in the 70s and 80s, the Garage and all that shit. People like to say, dig it. But, I’m grateful that so many people that I’ve been blessed to like know and say, thank you for all of the dope shit.

@djcboogie

Follow Shamika Sykes on Twitter & the ‘Gram for all of her interviews and adventures.

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Interview

A Different Type of Hip Hop Genius meet “Tone Da Boss”

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What was the first piece of music that you bought for yourself and what was the medium?
It was Michael Jackson cassette tape. This definitely just reminded me of my age. Michael’s sound to this day is one of the most unique original pieces of art that can’t be duplicated. At the time I was just a fan but reflecting on it now I feel that he inspired me to be different, and to focus on doing my music my way instead of trying to capture the sound of anyone else.

What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?
I love music however I’m not just doing music for professional success. I want to help as many people with their music as I can, either by working with them or through inspiring them. Music is my life, it speaks to my soul. I grew up in a household where music of all genres were played. I correlate music to emotions good and bad. I want to make music that gets everyone to smile, be happy and create memories. The top of my professional Bucket list is to help more people be heard, embrace their passions, and live out their dreams.

How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
Born in Chicago, grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I went from everyone around me being black to being the only black person around. It taught me adversity, the importance of unity, and forced me to be comfortable with being different. In Chicago I was raised to be a soldier, to try and survive, and protect my family. In Iowa I was raised to be a scholar, to live my best life, and provide for my family. My life would be so much different if I just stayed in one place.

What’s the last song you listened to?
Pop Smoke – The Woo. Pop Smoke is not only gone too soon I still would have been a huge fan despite his early demise. I’ve been a 50 Cent/G-Unit fan since their debut and I feel like not only does he pay homage to that sound but knowing he got the co-sign from 50 Cent makes me a fan of his even more.

If you could see any artist in concert dead or alive who could it be?
Tupac without a doubt. His message and voice transcended music, I would love to see his interludes more so then his live performance. I feel like he would use his time between songs wisely.

What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?
My favorite genre of music is actually soft rock. As a DJ I listen and play all different genres, but I never really get to play like 2000s rock music. Being in Iowa for so long it was all they’d play on the radio so I heard it enough to learn to love it and now it’s my guilty pleasure.

If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would run a community center for the youth to have fun, learn things they aren’t taught in school, and generate income. Actually I might still do that even though I am a musician.

Tell us about your latest single ? When is your video release ?
My latest single is my song called “Free” to the general public it talks about a life after the Pandemic is over, but for me it talks about my personal journey after going through divorce, leaving my 9-5 job after 10 years, and finally living Free. The video is available on all platforms as of 1/12/21.

Follow Tone on social media 
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tonedaboss1/
Instagram – https://www.Instagram.com/djtonedaboss
Twitter – https://www.Twitter.com/tonedaboss
Snapchat – https://www.Snapchat.com/add/tonedaboss
Check out Tone Da Boss Video release 1/13/2020 https://youtu.be/DvRGgHcHpdQ

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Interview

The Grynd Report kicks 2021 off with an exclusive interview from Michael Matthews, CEO of DigitalRadioTracker

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The Grynd Report had the opportunity to sit down with DigitalRadioTrackers CEO, Michael Matthews. This interview is an in-depth look at how Michael Matthews started DRT, the benefits from using the service and more. Check out Mr. Matthews on issue 64 cover of The Grynd Report Magazine.

Thank you for spending time with us DigitalRadioTracker, please introduce yourself to The Grynd Report.
Thank you Grynd Report for having me. My name is Michael Matthews, and I am the founder of DigitalRadioTracker.com Inc.

You were founded in 2011, tell us how it all came about.
This all started one day as I was talking to an associate. You see, I come from a radio promotion background and we started to notice that more and more of the songs that we were promoting were being played on digital radio. At the time, it was referred to as Internet Radio. As we began our research, we discovered that no one was really monitoring the activity of songs on digital radio. As a record promoter, you always want to know what is going on with the songs you are promoting and be able to illustrate to your clients that you are working for them. In talking to some of the main monitoring companies, we found out that they were not interested in monitoring airplay on digital radio as well as some small-market FM stations. These stations are known to support new and developing artists and are much easier to garner airplay from. Being that this was a void in the music industry, we thought if no one wants to do it, maybe we should try and develop something. What started off as an internal software to show our clients that their song was being played at various levels of radio, has now turned into a global monitoring company – DigitalRadioTracker.

Who can benefit from using your services?
DRT is utilized by artists, publicists, managers, promoters, radio station programmers, DJs, music industry executives and more! The global airplay data that DRT collects is very useful to artists and record labels because they can use the information to book shows and tours, set-up interviews, sell merchandise or promote their songs to other radio stations to secure more airplay. Artists and record labels can also use the airplay information to assist in collecting royalties on their music and further build their fan base. Or they can use the data to develop promotional strategies and learn which markets to further promote as well as monetize their brand.

What genres of radio stations do you work with?
DigitalRadioTracker prides itself on working with many genres of music. The main genres we monitor are Pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, Country, Gospel/Inspirational, Adult Contemporary and Rock. However, we also monitor a small number of Jazz, Americana and Blues stations. We also track an array of Terrestrial FM, Satellite and College radio formats from around the world. DRT’s primary focus is monitoring digital streaming radio stations globally.

You currently track over 5000 radio stations; how can new stations get involved?
We are delighted by many the requests we have received from stations wanting to join our community. DRT does not discriminate on the size of a radio station or how many listeners it has. We are about building a strong broadcasting community that represents a true voice as to what music is being played. If a radio station is interested in being monitored by DRT, they can simply register for a free DRT Account on our website. Once registered, login to our web portal and select a monitoring plan from our “Buy Packages” section. We will contact the station to complete the monitoring process and tracking will start within 48-72 hours. Radio stations from any territory globally can sign up to be monitored by DRT.

Are your services available worldwide?
Yes, DigitalRadioTracker understands that technology has changed the landscape of the music industry. We are now in a global industry. It is no longer about a song’s local reach. It is all about what a song is doing globally. DRT monitors over 45 million song titles a week in more than 125 countries around the world! Music industry professionals can access DRT’s database from anywhere in the world via our user-friendly web portal.

Describe to artists how important it is to have their music tracked by a service like yours & how they can get started.
It is vital for an artist to have their music tracked by third-party monitoring companies such as DigitalRadioTracker. I cannot express the importance enough. In the music industry, one of the hardest things to obtain is getting validation as an artist. A song’s analytics is one of the main ways the music industry determines whether an artist is trending or not. It can also be used to determine how successful an artist or song may become. DigitalRadioTracker is the only monitoring company in the world that does not require any special encoding or fingerprinting. By using its proprietary software, DRT can track songs from the first time it is played! Other monitoring sources cannot monitor a song unless someone sends the song to them to be encoded first. This is especially important as spins are often missed on songs which can affect promotional strategies and royalties on a project. One of the unique things about DRT is that we also track different versions of a song such as a feature or remix. Other monitoring companies simply merge the song detections under one file. DRT has simplified the process in getting a song tracked. Get your song played at least one-time on any of the 5000+ stations that DRT monitors and a DRT file will be created on that song. Register for a free DRT Account on our website and then login to our web portal to generate a DRT Report at any time on your song. It is that easy!

It is a brand-new year, what is new and different that we can expect from DigitalRadioTracker in 2021?
As technology continues to expand with devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, DigitalRadioTracker plans on monitoring more digital streaming stations on these devices. We plan on increasing stations that are streaming in millions of cars that now have Internet Radio. DRT’s goal is to be the first broadcast monitoring company in the world to track specialty shows such as DJ mix-shows, ministries, talk shows and more!

Any words of advice to our readers?
We recommend to everyone interested in airplay data to utilize our free artist/broadcaster searchable database. Simply register for a free DRT Account and take advantage of this great tool to research which songs are receiving current airplay. As for the artist reading this, do not overlook digital streaming radio as it is making a great impact on new music discovery. There are thousands of digital streaming radio stations around the globe who are willing to support and break your music.

Where can we follow you online?
You can follow DRT on Instagram/Facebook @DigitalRadioTracker and Twitter @DRTRadioTracker.

Be sure to visit https://www.digitalradiotracker.com/

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