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People, Places and Things: Chatting with DJ Spinna

Special to Informer | , John Richards | 2/16/2012, 1:43 p.m.

WI: A friend of mine has a clothing line, one of his first t-shirts was one that said, "Just because you have a thousand songs on your iPod doesn't make you a DJ." How do you feel about all the "celebrity" and "iPod" DJs that have come up lately?

DJ Spinna: I think it's terrible. Technology has made it easy for everyone to call themselves a "DJ". The bottom line is, if deejaying was only done with the vinyl format, it would eliminate the fraudulent. It's too costly and you really have to be dedicated to keep up. The flipside of this is, the real DJ that's paid their dues and are true to the art will stand out amongst those that are doing it just because they think it's cool or

trendy.

WI: How influential has Stevie Wonder been for you and what inspired the "Wonder-Full" party?

DJ Spinna: I love Stevie Wonder and his music. I consider myself a Stevie Wonder student. His philanthropic efforts as well as his song writing and music production are unmatched. He's influenced my approach to production heavily, and he's made me understand how being a person of peace and love is important, especially through music. I think about that every time I spin. It's not just about the act of playing the music, but uniting people from all walks of life to become one under the banner of universal love. The Wonder-FULL party was sparked in 1999 after a small intimate celebration of Songs In The Key of Life, in a small club called Baby Jupiter in the lower east side of Manhattan. Bobbito and I shortly after that event created the now legendary "Wonder Wrote It" mix CD's compiling rare Stevie Wonder productions, compositions and performances. This then evolved into the first Wonder-FULL party in 2001 and has continued every year around his birthday which is May 13. Stevie told me personally during his first 2005 appearance at the party, that he's thankful for the event, and he wants me to continue to spread his message and music, and never stop. That moment defined my entire life.

WI: "Wonder-Full" or "Soul Slam"?

DJ Spinna: Both. They are two different kinds of parties. The Wonder-FULL party is more of a spiritual and emotional celebration, while Soul Slam is an all out jam from beginning to end. The late Michael Jackson, RIP, and Prince simply made too many dance floor crushers that keep the energy up all night. Michael and Prince impacted MTV in the 80's, so visually people also use that to celebrate by coming in Prince and MJ attire wearing purple laced gloves and capes, polka dot shirts a la the "When Doves Cry" video, capes, white gloves, "Thriller" jackets, Billie Jean T-shirts, etc.

WI: You've rocked crowds from NYC to Iceland. How are the crowds different in the U.S. compared to overseas?

DJ Spinna: People overseas are more open minded musically. I can take more risks with my selection. In the US, the percentage of good music lovers are small in comparison. Mainstream media have the brains of the masses tricked out to the point where people don't know what's good anymore. There's a 30 year plus music festival called The Southport Weekender that happens in the UK every year. There's different