Tag Archives: live music

Chasing Nicky Jam 

Last week was my second attempt at seeing Nicky Jam, live, and (unlike my first attempt in Guadalajara) it was an utter success! It all started on February 13, in Mexico. I ventured out to the town that raised my father for amazing (economically priced) tickets for the Fénix Tour’s last stop in Mexico. For the price of the front-and-center seats, a (discounted) flight, hotel, food & drinks, I could experience Nicky Jam up close & personal for less than I could at any of his U.S. stops.  

Little did I know that my once declared statement of, “This man will only break my heart,” would come true so soon. Due to “lack of security & technical support,” the Fénix Tour had to “postpone” its Guadalajara show until further notice. I, of course, wasn’t made aware of this until I showed up for the concert, only to find a dark, lonely stadium. Talk about heartbreak! 

Lucky for me, my amazing career allows me to travel. I just had to request a refund, and cough up the extra cash to see Nicky in a different city. It just so happened that I had the day off when Nicky would be performing at Madison Square Garden. I’ve always wanted to see a show there, and since I was more determined than ever to get to see Nicky jam, I was in! 

My ticket for the Garden was more than double what I paid for at el Auditorio Benito Juarez, and my seat wasn’t nearly as good, but I was excited to dance the night away with great music & mi gente Latina de Nueva York! 

Zion Y Lennox got everyone on their feet as the opening act. They have so many huge hits. The crowd was singing along, letra por letra & the dancing was contagious. 

photo courtesy of areaNewYork.com

 Valentino did a great job at keeping people on their feet before Nicky took the stage.  

A large clock indicated the countdown to the main event & when it struck 0:00, the phone rang & el Cangri’s voice serenaded the crowd with the opening lyrics from Travesuras… “Hola bebe!” 

 

photo courtesy of areaNewYork.com

 
From that first song, until the last note was sung, the entire audience was on their feet. It was a night of dancing, singing, laughing, & screaming. Nicky Jam has a sexy voice, great dance moves, and a smile that could melt you like a Popsicle on the Fourth of July

  
  
  
 

photos courtesy of areaNewYork.com

 
His flirtatious lyrics, catchy beats & charismamatic stage presence make women swoon & men feel smooth. It’s the classic “every girl wants him & every guy wants to be him,” scenario. Nicky’s definitely got something special. 

The night included a lot of lights & fireworks. Nicky took breaks from singing to joke with the crowd, to host “this side vs that side,” (or “ladies vs fellas”) crowd participation competitions and to take Latino roll call. He greeted Colombians, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, Dominicans, & so on & so on… But, I never heard a shout out the recently cancelled-on Mexican fans, something I later brought to the attention of the NJ entourage. 

The night ended with an extended version of Nicky’s huge hit, El Perdon (featuring Enrique Iglesias), during which, Nicky had one of his colleagues select a lucky girl from the audience to join him on stage. It couldn’t have gone on long enough. I was loving every minute of it. I’m sure Angelica (the serenadee) felt the same way. 

Nicky made it a point to express his gratitude to the everyone in attendance. He kept saying that we were making his dreams come true, by allowing my him to say that he not only played Madison Square Garden, but that he played a sold out show there on March 3, 2016, a day I doubt any of us will ever forget.  

Bravo, Nicky. Bravo! 

   

  
Get your tickets to the Fénix Tour and all the latest news on Nicky Jam at NickyJampr.com

*Special thanks to Carlos Plaza at areaNewYork.com for collaborating with me & providing photos from concert. 

Gorgon City (San Diego & Philadelphia) 

When my ears first heard Imaginiation by Gorgon City, it was love at first sound.  My friend, Miguel (who has now become like my personal DJ, sending me tracks & mixes on a regular basis), first introduced me to the song one wild night in Philadelphia.  I instantly became a fan.  

I played the song and the album, Sirens, on repeat more than my roommates could probably stand.  Sorry guys! I was in love…

 
I’ve played the track for just about everyone in my life, and I’ve made new Gorgon City fans in different parts of the world.  You’re welcome, guys. 😉 

Some of those fans, and some of those lands, include my sisters in San Diego, CA.  Luckily, the fine city that I call home would be the group’s second stop for their North American Headline Tour.  I had to go!

My amazing sisters were kind enough to purchase my ticket & call it an early birthday present.  For those of you wondering, I’m a Scorpio. October 25th is the day I celebrate life (along with some of my favorite musical influences).  

Anyway, October was a super busy month for me.  Although I’m famous for always celebrating my “Birthday Month,” this year, I had the chance to work my tushie off, and I took full advantage of that… More on that later. 

The night before the show, after working a long flight from Madrid to Philadelphia, I hopped on a flight from Philly to San Diego.  I wanted to get a good night’s sleep and have lots of energy for the show. 

The excitement was killing me.  I met up with my sisters and we headed to the House of Blues.  We didn’t arrive too early, so, we didn’t have much time with Amtrac before the guys took the stage.  

I wasn’t sure if Kye & Matt (“Foamo” & “RackNRuin”) would be bringing their festival-worthy live singers along on the tour.  So, when I heard Lulu James open the show with her rendition of Real (originally performed by Yasmin on  Sirens), I was elated… & I knew Josh Barry would be hitting the stage soon, too.  

  
As the show progressed, the guys took us on a wonderful musical journey, while Lulu and Josh flexed their vocal abilities, covering lyrics from a wide range of artists who have recorded with Gorgon City.  One stand out moment for me, was when I heard Lulu do 6am.  On Sirens, the track was recorded by Tish Hyman, who has a killer unique voice.  Lulu’s cover was raved about weeks later in Philadelphia, by my flight attendant friends.  We were also quite moved by Josh’s rendition of Unmissable, especially when he went a cappella & had the crowd clapping in unison. 

I was extremely impressed by how much all four artists grew over the course of the tour.  Their movements seemed more fluid & their chemistry was undeniable.  In such a short time, their stage presence had really matured. It was awesome to witness. 

  
The best part of all, is that I got to meet Josh & Lulu after the San Diego show & we chatted after the Philadelphia show as well.  I stayed in touch with them & had the pleasure of catching up with them during a recent trip to London, where I got to witness Lulu’s original music with her all-girl-band.  Keep an eye out for them! 

  
As for now, the Gorgon City guys will be hitting the road again with these two  talented singers tomorrow, as they start their South American Tour.  For dates, ticket sales, and of course, more music, check out GorgonCity.com

Thanks for reading along, everyone.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  

*Special Thanks to Josh Barry for keeping in touch & taking care of me at the shows… You and Lulu really made me feel at home while I was visiting your home (the lovely UK). I’ll catch you on the road again soon! 

 


***A note to the reader: I realize that we are already in December,  yet, I haven’t shared much of my year with you guys.  So, I’m challenging myself to #30postsin30days.  During this last month of 2015, you’ll hear fun stories about what I’ve been up to.  I hope you follow along! 

Instagram, Twitter and Periscope: @StartingAt30 

For more up-to-date stories, follow me on Snapchat: CcTheStar 

Dilated Peoples -Directors of Photography

It’s no secret that I love music. I’ve always dreamed of being in the studio with my favorite artists, witnessing and celebrating those magical moments of genius. Well, my friends…that’s another dream that has finally come true for me!
I first met Evidence in November 2011, after one of his solo shows in San Diego. He’s such a cool, humble guy & anyone who’s ever been in his presence can tell you that he instantly makes you feel like you’re life-long friends. Over the years, I’ve seen him perform in different cities (& countries) as a solo artist, as one half of Step Brothers, & of course, as one third of the legendary Dilated Peoples.
I found myself in Los Angeles earlier this year… & was in communication with Ev. He was in the studio working on some finishing touches for the highly anticipated Directors of Photography with DJ Babu. I was elated when he extended an invitation to let me watch the masters at work.
Babu is on his way out when I arrive, so, I only get to chat with him briefly. Ev is sitting in his chair, at the controls, going over some mixes. I’m so excited to hear the tiny previews of the tracks! People have been waiting a long time for this album, and here I am, experiencing it behind the scenes, with one of the creators!
Ev turns to me & welcomes me warmly…then, he asks if I’d be willing to get on the mic to say a few things… Um, Yes, please! I’d be honored.
I step into the booth, put the headphones on, pick up the mic & take direction. He has me play around with accents & I say some stuff (faintly) in the background. I take on my latest character, a South Philly girl. He laughs. I’m having fun with it… and even though you really won’t hear it when you play the introduction, I know it’s there.
Next, Ev plays a snippet for me and he directs me to “just talk,” the whole time. Since I’m a professional at making onboard announcements, and I know that the guys always reference flying, I say what comes to mind…
“Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Los Angeles, where the local time is 10:25 (*side note: my birthday is October 25th). For your safety, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened and keep the aisle clear until we are parked at the gate. The captain will turn off the fasten seat belt sign when it is safe to stand…”
I think Ev is amused. He looks up at me through the glass & says, “That’s perfect. You killed it!”
This is definitely a moment in time I’ll never forget… I’m in the studio, with one of my favorite artists, hearing that he likes what I just did in the mic. *Insert fireworks.* 😉
You can hear the finished product for yourself at the end of number 14, “Trouble.” It’s a perfect segway into “L.A. River Drive,” a song produced by Alchemist, featuring another Los Angeles native, Sick Jacken (who I wrote about here). There is a reoccurring line on the track. “From the time I ride out, ’til the time I’m home… I pray for a safe travel, God, while I’m gone.” This is something I can totally relate to.
In my effort to fully support the album, I caught a couple shows while the guys were on tour recently. First, when I had the opportunity to work “Paris, first class international.” (Who caught that movie reference)? Lol. Anyway, I caught the guys Live on Stage at La Plage de Glazart‘s pop-up beach during my Layover.
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The venue was set up for a total Sunday Funday… sand, lawn chairs & open air. I mingled with the fans and got hear about how much the guys are loved & respected in France. I felt so at home with my fellow hip hop heads. We laughed, we drank, we discussed our love for Dilated Peoples, we enjoyed the music together… And, of course, we took pictures…
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The crowd was live & the guys put on a great show. They started with some of their new work, went through some classics, & even took turns doing some solo stuff. It was supposed to be a rainy day in Paris, but when Ev performed his happy hit, “Chase the Clouds Away,” the climate adhered the commands of The Weatherman & the drizzle stopped. It ended up being a sunny day, after all.
I had the opportunity to chat with both, Ev & Rakaa, individually, for a bit after the show. I remember Rakaa telling me to keep doing what I’m doing & to always go for things outside of my comfort zone. It meant a lot, coming from him. He’s definitely someone who knows something about chasing your dreams & creating a life you love.
We talked travel, we talked family, we talked music. We even talked about some young, up & coming female rappers that we both respect… (I mentioned the ladies in previous posts here & here).
My interaction with Ev definitely kept the same themes. Travel, music… Oh, & of course, photography.
His outlook on music & the industry is refreshing, because he never really has anything negative to say. He respects that artists do what they do & that fans like what they like. Of course, he has his opinions, but he’s great about not bad-mouthing anybody. As for his personal style, when it comes to his music, and even his photos, it’s quite obvious that he’s meticulous about everything he puts out.
Later, I caught the guys in Philadelphia for their Word of Mouth tour with Jurassic 5 at Penn’s Landing. I was lucky enough to chat with guys for a bit after catching a dope show with a great view, on a beautiful day in the city I now call home.

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The guys (and the team at Rhymesayers Entertainment) teamed up with Pandora and did their fans a huge favor by letting everyone preview the entire album a week before it dropped. I listened to it over and over as I anxiously awaited my pre-ordered (autographed) physical copy to arrive from Fifth Element.
Directors of Photography is a masterpiece, in my opinion. The creative packaging amazed me.

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Rather than finding the traditional booklet inside the album, you open an envelope that includes individual Polaroid-like photos. The first one is a group photo – Dilated Peoples (Directors of Photography).

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You’ll find a recap of the project, including credits when you flip it over. Next, are a few photos of each of the guys where they share stories about each other on the back, along with their “Thank Yous.” (I gotta draw special attention to Ev’s… don’t forget about the rest of crew next time). 😉

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Each song also has it’s own photo with full lyrics and credits on the reverse side. Nice touch, guys.
The album definitely takes you on a journey. I’d compare it to catching a flight…
The Intro is similar to the boarding process. You’re excited as you enter the aircraft. You’re greeted by the crew. You’re not sure what to expect, but you know something great is up ahead. Ladies and gentleman, welcome aboard flight 812, with service to Los Angeles.
Once you’ve settled into your seat and you’re ready for departure, the crew gives their demonstration and sets the tone with Directors. The opening line is actually about taking flight. The track is perfect for wheels up, as you begin your ascent. You’re on your way now, starting this adventure with the Dilated Crew.
As you reach the sky during your climb, Cut My Teeth (produced by The Alchemist), and the Defari Interlude (featuring Defari) give you endless snapshots and vivid images of the guys’ lives & the city they’re from, from their individual points of view. The Dark Room (featuring Vince Staples, with production by Twiz The Beat Pro) has metaphors and lyrical content that will keep you guessing, like looking out the window, down to little squares & shapes on the land below.
Once you’ve leveled off with Good As Gone (produced by DJ Premier), the onboard service is about to begin. Choose your favorite beverage & be prepared to select your meal as the guys serve up stories of their journey. “The more that I roam, the more that I’m free.” (Ev) “Sat in coach and studied business before my first class.” (Rakaa)
Now you’re approaching cruising altitude, where it should be a smooth ride, but, for your safety, the captain keeps the seat belt sign on…and it’s a good thing he does, because songs like Show Me the Way (featuring Aloe Blacc, produced by Jake One) & Figure It Out will hit you like unexpected turbulence and may knock you out of your seat!
Things smooth out with Let Your Thoughts Fly Away (produced by Diamond D.), but you’ll notice that you can’t keep your head from bobbing due to the light chop of Century of the Self (featuring Catero, produced by Oh No).
The captain makes an announcement that makes you laugh a little with the @MrEvidence Interlude. You are now free to move about the cabin. Enjoy The Reversal like you enjoy a nice stretch.
It’s been a great flight thus far & the crew presents you with & Opinions May Vary (featuring Gangrene) & Trouble to keep you satisfied, just like the arrival service when you begin your initial descent. (*Here’s where you get to hear me in action).
You’re landing now, but “you must remain seated until we are parked at the gate.” The crew welcomes you with L.A. River Drive and when the aircraft doors open, you catch a breath of fresh air with The Bigger Picture, the final track on the album (featuring Krondon, produced by 9th Wonder).
You have arrived. Thank you for joining along on this journey… I hope you enjoy your stay here, or wherever your final destination may be. 😉

I’ll be catching the guys this weekend in Munich for the Streetlife Blockparty. You can catch them in a city near you (or you can catch a flight and catch them in a city far away), by checking tour dates here.

Purchase your copy of Directors of Photography here, on Google Play, through Fifth Element, on Amazon, or purchase it on iTunes to download bonus tracks Times Squared and Hallelujah (featuring Fashawn, Rapsody, Domo Genesis, Vinnie Paz & Action Bronson).

*Special Thanks to Dilated Peoples, Evidence, Rakaa, and DJ Babu for all the love they showed me at their shows and in the studio. Also, thank you to the team at Rhymesayers Entertainment. Shout out to Eddie Sancho, Federico “C Sik” Lopez, and everyone else I’ve met through this project. Great work, everyone. I’m truly honored to be a part of this!

Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The Art Pop Ball

I recently had the pleasure of seeing one of my all-time favorite artists live in concert, in Philadelphia. This is the fourth time I’ve seen Lady Gaga, but what made it really special is that it was the first time I got to have my sister with me out on the East Coast (more on that, later). My sister, Monica, and I are huge music fans. She’s always been a great concert-going partner and I’m excited to continue our ritual all across the country.
After a day of delicious food, amazing coffee and one of the best conversations we’ve had in a long time, we’re ready for the show.
We arrive early enough to explore Wells Fargo Center. It’s nice taking public transportation & not worrying about traffic or having to look for parking.
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Every time I see Lady Gaga live, she just gets better and better and so do her fans. Walking around the venue, you see so many decorated people in different iconic Gaga looks. You can tell so much work & effort has gone into crafting the pieces. It’s hard not to stop and take pictures…

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20140529-132714-48434887.jpgThese ladies were adorable. When I told them about #StartingAt30, they let me know that they’re all my age & on the same page. I met quite a few thirty (something) year olds while mingling. There’s plenty of us out there…

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We make it to our seats in time to see the show start. artRAVE: The Art Pop Ball has begun. The Queen takes her place on stage & everyone in on their feet, dancing and singing along to G.U.Y. , Gaga’s latest single.

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I’m on my feet all night. I can’t sit through all the excitement! As Gaga takes us through a wonderful journey with songs from her latest album and classics from her albums before…from her amazing voice, to her flawless choreography, to her eccentric costumes & exquisite lighting, #artRAVE is a real party!

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There’s a point in the show where Lady G asks everyone to “Put away their f*cking cell phones and just be in the moment.” It’s such an amazing feeling of unity when you’re lost in a sea of people who are feeling the exact same thing as you are & love is flowing…
*The below photo was not taken during that moment. My phone was tucked away in my purse, as per the Goddess’s request. 🙂

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Gaga continues to move the crowd with beautiful words, both sung & spoken. She even takes the time to read letters & share gifts that have been tossed on stage from the crowd. Inspiring stories of overcoming & healing win a few lucky fans backstage access to meet their idol.

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After raving with us all night, it seems it’s time for Lady Gaga to say goodnight. She thanks us for joining her and heads off stage…but, there’s one thing my professional concert-going sister has taught me over the years… the show is never really over until all the lights go on. So, while the crowd starts to make their way out, I know that there’s one more song to be sung…
The crowd erupts when Gaga makes her way back on stage. I’m extra excited, because I just know she’s going to perform Gypsy, my favorite song to date…it’s practically my life’s theme song with lyrics like “So I just packed my baggage and said goodbye to family and friends and took the road to nowhere on my own.” She ends the song (and the show) naming regions of the world, saying how different countries & cities can “Be (her) home just for the day.” Because, after all, she’s a Gypsy, hey!

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The night was full of messages of love, inspiration, empowerment & unity. Thank you, Lady Gaga, for a wonderful show, for your music, and your message!

*Find tour dates, ticket information, music, merchandise & links to fan photos from the tour all on LadyGaga.com

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*Special Thanks to my personal Wonder Woman, my biggest supporter, my big sister, Monica Salcedo, for traveling all the way across the country to take me to this amazing show…and for all you continue to do!

Thanks for reading along, friends &
family. Who are some of your favorite artists? Have you been to any great shows lately..?

Grouch & Eligh, The Tortoise & The Crow Tour – Boston and Philadelphia

As I mentioned before in several of my posts, I love music! Being from San Diego, I’m used to always catching great hip hop acts near by. Since I’ve been out in Philadelphia, it hasn’t been quite as easy for me. So, when I saw that two of my favorite California MCs, The Grouch and Eligh, were hitting the road to promote their new album, The Tortoise and The Crow/333, I knew I had to be a part of it!
I noticed that the guys would be hitting the East Coast & I immediately checked the dates to see what worked with my schedule. When I saw that they’d be in Boston during my days off, I made plans to be there. I arranged to stay with my cousin, Jennifer, and I was so excited!
Jennifer had never been to a live hip hop show before, and since she’s originally from California, too, I thought this would be the perfect way to get her feet wet… Two Cali girls, supporting two Cali guys out on the East Coast. Clayton, Jennifer’s roommate – also from CA, decided to join us. You met Jennifer and Clayton in my last post.
When we arrive to The Middle East, we notice that the venue has two levels. There’s a comedy show going on upstairs and the audience is enjoying wonderful menu items. Everything looks & smells fantastic. Too bad we just had dinner…
We make our way downstairs & fall in love with the decor. We take tons of pictures with the cool backdrops.

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When the guys hit the stage, we’re enthralled… Their stage presence is captivating. This is my first time ever seeing these West Coast masters rock an East Coast stage…it’s magical. In the crowd, hands are in the air & lyrics are being spit word-for-word. The guys are performing classic G&E hits, notable solo joints, and some of their new stuff. It’s a great show!

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After the performance, the guys stick around to sell merchandise, sign autographs, and to pose for pictures with fans. They have such a personable approach.
I stand back & wait my turn…I’ve been to plenty if their shows & have had the pleasure of meeting the guys on numerous occasions. It’ll be nice to catch up. After the crowd clears, I make my way over to say hi. They’re both sweet & sincere…they take such an interest in me & stories of my travels. I’m proud, because I know that they’ve had their fair-share of seeing the world, too.
It’s pretty cool that these two remarkable human beings – who have created such amazing lives for themselves – are impressed by what I’m up to in life. They’re just as impressed by Jennifer (the Harvard grad)….Their humbleness impresses me even more than their astounding talent. I’m reminded of why I love their music & more importantly, their message.

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A couple days later, I head back to Philadelphia to prepare to be on-call for work. It’s pretty cool that my commute to work is on an airplane. I’m listening to the album the entire flight. It’s beautiful looking out the widow, flying through the clouds, listening to their always-inspiring lyrics.
I’m off duty tonight & the guys have a show here in Phillly. They’re nice enough to add my name to their guest list. I bring my friend, Brittany, along. You met her in my first Puerto Rico post.
The crowd is a little smaller at The Barbary, but the enthusiasm is still there. When these guys are on stage, they ignite crowd participation. I’m enjoying every minute of their performance.

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After their set, they, again, stick around to sell merch, sign memorabilia, and take pictures. They even continue our conversation about travels. These guys really know what life on the road is all about…it’s great sharing stories. We snap a few pictures & say good night. The guys are off to get their rest. They’ll hit the road in the morning, off to the next city, and next show…

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Also touring with guys is DJ Fresh

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and Pigeon John

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If you get the chance, I urge you to catch these guys on a stage near you! They’re heading back to the West Coast this week…
Get your tickets here.
Buy the album here.

Special Thanks to The Grouch and Eligh for allowing me access to these amazing shows!