Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Chicago Experience

Let me first start out by thanking Sean Smith (Smooth Agent Records) for providing the atmosphere, and inviting me down to Chicago for this wonderful occasion... It was truly a night to remember... Now, to give you the lowdown:

First off, the DRIVE to Chicago from Detroit is no joke. From my house, it takes me 5 hours to drive there. My assistant Charles and I both drank those 5-hour energy drinks, and let me tell you... THEY WORK for exactly 5 hours! I'm very grateful to have Chuck along for the ride -- we certainly made those 5 hours pass smoothly; along with some fabulous music to keep us entertained. I think we played everything from Madonna to Samwell (Mr. "What What in the Butt")... Folks in Indiana (when we stopped to eat) looked at us like we were total foreigners, which cracked us up. It's like you KNEW we were from somewhere else.

Chicago is a beautiful city at night -- especially driving over that lovely Skyway Bridge... But shit! How many TOLL BOOTHS do you NEED?! You certainly cannot be broke and drive through Chicago. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

We arrived at (what I THOUGHT WAS) "Betty's Blue Star Lounge." Honestly, all I saw was "LOUNGE" on the sign, so we walked in. There was a live rock band on stage, and I thought "wow, I must be DJing the Intermission... uh, where's Dajae?" I had to climb TWO ladders to get to the DJ booth, where I sat for a few minutes in silence. There was NOBODY in the DJ area, and that rock band would NOT stop playing... Do I drown them out with House music? I sent Charles to ask a staff member if we were indeed in the right place... We werent.
The place where we NEEDED to be was a few blocks up the road!!!

Embarrassed but not broken, we finally found the correct spot -- Betty's BLUE STAR LOUNGE... Fortunately for me, I wasn't the ONLY one behind schedule. Bernard Badie was spinning on the decks -- and it's so funny because I met him YEARS ago, in Submerge. I hadn't really seen him since, but he remembered my voice. :-) I regret not getting a picture with him, but next time I see him, I'll be sure to get a photo. Veronique was in the house already!!! Looking earthy and sexy as usual, I couldn't help but notice the PLUNGING NECK LINE... Lord, have mercy. Cleavage from here to Mississippi, I tell you. And she wore it well... (I said, hell.. should I push mine up?! Just kidding...)

I then met Sean Smith -- the man who made it all possible. He was very accommodating, which was quite refreshing to me, considering that I was quite nervous about actually performing in Chicago. These were some SERIOUS house heads. They own House like Detroit owns Techno -- I had to bring my A-game, y'all... And OOOH, did I!!!

But NOT until I was introduced to "the queen herself," Miss DAJAE. Do you know how down-to-earth this woman truly is??? After I had initially screamed (hey, I've been a fan for a LONG time!), I discovered that Dajae had a very similar personality to ME. She isn't all about being "divafied," and she's just "everyday people." I kid you not, if I lived in Chicago, I would SO hang out with her. We would SO eat Kentucky Fried Chicken together, for real!

So back to the DJ set. The night was still young, so I safely played my remix of Dajae's "Truth Hurts." (She hadn't heard it yet!) I was too busy mixing to check her reaction, but I KNOW that everyone else was loving it. Then I did what any other self-respecting Detroit DJ/Producer would do... I started playing my own music. (hahahaha!) Now here's something "funny," that you all probably know, but I'm just starting to realize... I could play an entire set of music, that ONLY consisted of my original productions and remixes! Honestly, I hope that doesn't come across as arrogance... Y'all know me. I'm the OPPOSITE of arrogant. But I was going through my music, and was like "wow... I can play THIS!... and THIS!... and THIS!!!" Of course I played other folks' music as well. Come on, y'all... LOL!!! I dug DEEP as well. I played everything from 95 North to MK's remix of the B-52's "Tell It Like It T-I-IS"... It was absolutely fucking fabulous...

One of the highlights of my set was when I played "Simply." I actually played it TWICE, because when I first played it, the club was still empty @ the time. Then when I noticed that the crowd had gotten bigger -- DETROIT DJs were in the house as well, y'all!!! Rick Wilhite, Eric Johnson, to name a couple... And I KNOW they'd never heard my new stuff, so I was like "yeah... this is my chance to SHOW Y'ALL..." (We Detroiters thrive off of friendly competition... It's all love!) Baby, I dropped "I Refuse," and "Simply" (for the second time), and I heard screams... Folks were FEELING it. And that made me high...

Shortly after my set, I sat down with Veronique and mingled. I'd taken what was my FIRST picture with Dajae at that time. Y'all don't understand... "Brighter Days" has brought me through some ROUGH TIMES in my life. It was HARD to be in the presence of that woman without crying out tears of gratitude...

Next thing you know, it was showtime... Veronique and I were already on stage. We had NO TIME to rehearse, NO sound check, no anything. And you know what? It was awesome. Our chemistry on stage is incredible. I made a joke that night -- "we get on stage, grab the microphone and start shouting... voila!" Baby, let me tell you... I completely FORGOT that Dajae was in the crowd when Veronique and I started to sing -- we sang "Alright," of course. And it was magical, to say the least...

Now here's the funny part. As you know, when I'm in Detroit, I don't SING live -- I don't know why, I just don't. (Although I did @ the festival, that's a different story... But for the most part, when I'm home, I usually just DJ.) Baby, when that "prayed up, persevere..." part came up, and I hit those high notes, you should've HEARD the Detroit folks GASP! (Yeah, I heard y'all!) It was like "damn!... HE hit THOSE notes?" Again, magical. I felt proud. I felt like we represented Detroit very well, and RESPECTED Chicago's house crowd. You know what I mean? It's like respecting someone in their own home... It's something you just DO. So hopefully, Rick and Eric felt proud of me.

Moving onto the next scene... Immediately after Veronique and I sang, Dajae gave us big hugs. (Now I was REALLY melting -- OMG, I just sang in FRONT of Dajae!!!!!!) Let me tell you... Miss Dajae got up on stage, and sang "Truth Hurts." I was like a teenage fan in the front row... Singing along, screaming and hollering like nobody's business. LOL... The she did it. She sang "Brighter Days." I could've fainted right then and there. Her stage presence was amazing -- she was at home. You could TELL she was at home... And the crowd adored her. She kept it real, and she reminded me of my big sister. In my head, I was like, "go ahead, girl... DO YOUR THING!" She broke it down, and sang the Brighter Days REMIX -- vocal chops and all. It took everything I had in me, to NOT get up on stage, grab the second microphone and sing backups. (Keep it together, AC... Keep it together!) So when SHE got offstage, we all started dancing together. People took pictures of Dajae, Veronique and me. I knew that Dajae was just as impressed with me and V, as WE were impressed with HER...

Highlight of the night... Veronique confides that I joke about "in Detroit, there can only be TWO Divas" -- her and me, of course! LOL... She then said something like, "but now we're in Chicago, partying with the QUEEN herself!" Dajae hugged her and said, "Girl, YOU are a diva in your OWN right!" ...then Dajae hugged me and said, "...and YOU TOO!"

Y'all could've given me a bottle and a blanket, and tucked my ass in, because I didn't need NOTHING ELSE that night! :-)

Another 5-hour energy drink later (and a delicious Sausage and Egg Criossant Sandwich), Charles and I drove back to Detroit. Well, I drove. HE slept. LOL... But I was beaming the entire way -- even though my legs hurt like hell. When we got to my house, I crashed on the couch... Made my way to the bed... and slept like a baby ALL DAY. (Ahhh!)

Of course, it's almost midnight, and I'm AWAKE now, but hey. It's not too often I have fabulous nights like this. I can enjoy it. For sure.

Thanks for reading... MUAH!

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