Music 2.0

Tony Z at Kennedy Airport's Jet Blue Terminal It’s 5:35 a.m. I just cleared security at Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 6, where Jet Blue will take me to LA for this week’s Music 2.0 conference. I’m looking forward to connecting with other digital music executives. This year’s gathering seems to be a bit more heavily attended by the music digerati than the conference I attended last summer. The conference will take place at the on Jan 31-Feb. 1, 2007 at the Bel Age Hotel, Los Angeles.

As I was sitting down to write this blog posting, a flight attendant with an Apple Powerbook G4 asked me for help trying to eject a disc from her CD-rom drive. Fortunately, Jet Blue offers high-speed web access. I was able to Google for help and found a link to an Apple Support Guide for that specific 15-inch model. There seems to be a manual eject button inside the drive slot, which you can’t see. It takes a bit of probing with a paper-clip, but once you catch the button the right way, the CD is supposed to eject.

We got to talking, and it turns out that her father is a jazz musician who used to invite legends like Dizzy Gillespie to her house for jam sessions. As a young girl, she thought, “boy, these old men…I gotta get out of here.” Today, she has such fond memories of the music that shaped her youth.

We reminisced about the good’ol days of funk. She’s got a friend who still plays with George Clinton’s band. As a flight attendant, she said told me that her friend travels more than she flies for P-Funk gigs all over the world. She laughed, thinking that George Clinton, at 61-years-old, is still funking it up. We also talked about Cameo, Rick James, Bootsy Collins, The Crusaders, Lou Rawls (who she knew personally), George Benson and many other greats.

It was nice to reminisce with her. Talking about the music of my youth made me think back to my childhood, growing up in Boston. I asked her if she knew who Randy Crawford was. She sang my all-time favorite, “Street Life.” We got on the subject of Larry Blackmon from Cameo, who’s early hit, “Shake Your Pants” was a roller skating favorite. She said there was a recent where are they now show, which tried to get his group back together. I remember how I used to listen to the late night slow-jam radio shows on WMBR (MIT) or WERS (Emerson College). The DJ would play Cameo’s “For You” back with Confunkshun 7’s “Straight From The Heart” and Stacey Lattisaw’s “Love On A Two Way Street.” Of course, I can’t leave out the sexy Rick James and Tina Marie classic, “Fire and Desire.” Whew…my new friend brought back so many memories.

It’s been over 25-years or more since many of those tracks hit the airwaves. It gave me pause to just reflect on my music industry career. How far I’ve come since those early days, listening to music in my bedroom, wondering about all these musicians and artists and thinking about how cool it would be to work in the music business. Today, my life is filled with music. From my job at StarStyle and Netmix going strong, I thought about how amazing it’s been to have lived my dreams and achieved success. Although I never became a musician, in some respects, I think what I lacked in the ability to play the guitar or piano, I certainly made up for in my DJ skills. There were so many people who wanted to see me fail. I shake my head now and think, why would anyone waste the effort to dissuade someone from living their hopes and dreams. You only live on this planet once. People forget that. It’s time to remember.

Well, it’s almost that time to board my flight. Gotta sign-off now. I’ll report in from LA once I hit the ground.

Tony Z.

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