Wakeup! Express and...
"Dance, dance dance!"
Thank you for being part of our zine. Tell us more about your beginnings in the industry!
Well, thank you! Sweet to talk to you. My unofficial start was studying the piano, and then the sitar for many years. I always loved singing, too. But, my official start in the music world was really amazing. I had watched bands come and go as there were always bands at my childhood home because my brother was a musician, songwriter, and guitarist. So there was always music coming out of that space. But, when I watched an amazing band blow their live show when a major label was there to get ready to sign them, I knew there had to be a better way. So, I suggested to my partner. Tom O'Callaghan, at that time, to let me do some vocals and enter the Columbia College student run label called AEMMP contest to get "signed". Talk about a long shot. Well, we did a house version of The Seeds "Pushin' Too Hard' and amazingly we won! So, we got to press up that song with them and it did quite well and continues as a cult classic in the early House genre. I could hardly believe it because I was an "unknown" and because I never win anything. Actually, I have won a book of Jim Morrison poetry but I think that came directly from his Spirit. I love his poetry and he has influenced me in all of my poetry. It is sad, tragic even, that all he wanted to be was a poet. And, he saw music as a means to get his poetry out to the world. In some ways, I feel same and after we put out the AEMMP project of "Pushin' Too Hard", I went on to write lyrics and vocal melodies for a demo that with the addition of Tom's music - the guy was an amazing multi-instrumentalist, I mean truly amazing, he could play anything you put in front of him - we were signed by Matt Warren to Sunset Records. I sang on a number of tunes for them including the tunes I wrote, "Electric Baile" which I wrote with Tom and "Way to My Heart" which I co-wrote with Matt. Both of those charted on Billboard - again, a very pleasant surprise. That paved my way for working with other Chicago DJs who asked me sing and write lyrics for their beats. I absolutely loved it but there is not doubt that working in the studio is not easy. Very long hours and taking lots of feedback to get the sound that will make the recording and the vocals especially their best takes a lot of energy and love. At that same time, I was in graduate school studying clinical psychology and the time came for me to pick and of course, I picked psych because that will always be one of my true loves and I knew the need for a bilingual psychologist who could help serve people. I also feel fortunate that through that choice I have been able to work to reduce violence in all settings but especially against kids as "discipline". Kids should have equal or even more rights to bodily safety than adults and yet, we've been treating many animals better than many kids for ages. So, it has been especially happy to watch as countries abolish corporal punishment of kids. Sadly, the US is not one of them...YET! So, even while I was working as a psychologist, I continued the arts and embarked upon a deep immersion of one of my loves which is Flamenco.
Where are you located now and where are you originally from?
Well, that is a great question. I like to say I'm from the world. I've lived in many places including, France, Spain, Mexico, Canada and of course, the United States. I was born in the Dominican Republic. These days, I travel between Miami and Chicago where the studios I use are located. I love Chicago but I hate the cold. So, I try to avoid it during the winters which tend to last 9 months. hahaha Both Miami and Chicago have always stuff going on musically and Chicago is especially cool as it was the birthplace of House Music. As a dancer, I love House and anything that makes me feel like dancing. I'm sure you know we sit way too much and need to get moving. So, I hope that some of the music I've produced so far, which we like to call "Nu-House" gets people feeling like moving, dancing and also uplifts them.
Goals for 2019 and beyond?
I don't really set goals. I just do stuff. If you really pinned me down I would say that I want to keep producing Nu Music. I love Nu Music so much. I've heard so many of the same tunes over and over and over and over - well you get the idea. I can't stand that. And, it is sad that many artists feel like they have to sound like something mainstream or commercial. Well, I rebel against all of that. I want to hear Nu Music - I don't care what genre it might happen to be. It just so happens that our first three releases, Elena Andujar's Flamenco in Time, Matt Warren's Music is My Life and Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall of Sound volume 1, were all Nu-House genre but our next project is going to be Nu-Metal and we're super excited to have signed Waylon Reavis/A Killer's Confession for a release coming in the Fall. And, when I say excited, I mean, I LOVE his voice and music. These boys are going to be huge. In my mind, they already are but I am working so hard to bring them to the next level and couldn't be prouder or happier with this project. We've also recently signed Ralphi Rosario and Craig J Snider and they are doing some creative tunes that people are going to dig to the max. Basically, as the Creative Director and Producer at Wake Up! Music, I take pride in giving special attention to each of my artists and hopefully making them feel like they are my only artist. I also give them the freedom to create. That makes me really happy.
What have been the specific challenges in your career so far? What have been the greatest achievements so far?
Oh there are life challenges everyday. I'm lucky that I have very supportive sons who also write and play Nu Music which I happen to love. They're called the E.T. Boys and you can hear them on Soundcloud. It was also gutsy to launch as a completely new label and there was so much for me to learn. But, guess what? I was so lucky to have been taken under the wings of many industry pros who have done nothing but support, teach and guide me. I'm a good student and I have learned so much and know for sure now what I can accomplish and how. Of course, the music must be the best and must speak for itself. Just give me the great music and I can take it from there. I have to say, as related, that my greatest accomplishment so far has been the tune I wrote the lyrics and vocal melodies for called Get On Up from Matt Warrens' disc Music Is My Life. This tune, which featured my life long friend and incredible Diva Janis McGee, went #1 on the Digital Radio Tracker (DRT) Indie charts for two, yes, TWO weeks in December of 2018. Talk about a Christmas present. Janis had never even been in a studio before but I just knew she was going to be amazing and amazing she was! I worked her hard - there's no doubt. I think one of the good things about me is that I know what it is like on both side of the microphone so to speak. I have worked with some amazing producers who got the best sound out of me - the kind of sound that makes me say - "hey, that's me?" So, I knew that I could bring that same thing from Jan because I tell you, this lady can sing. And, if the proof isn't the pudding with being #1, I don't know what is. And, I have to say, I like being #1.
Where can our readers catch up with you out there soon?
Hey here's our social media links below but I'd say the easiest thing is to go to our website www.wakeupmusicgroup.com I also love our youtube channel where you can truly get the taste for what we're doing and what we have done. I'm on Facebook a lot - I love to hear from people and I hear from people from ALL over the world. That just blows my mind and tickles me no end. I think that is fantastic and I have a secret dream that music will unite us all because the way we've doing the world definitely could use some improvement. Music is after all a universal language.
Please answer the following... "If my fans really knew me, they would know that... "
My Dog recently died. I loved him so much and he was the smartest, dearest, most amazing soul I've ever known. 2) I love kids! We have a special section of Wake Up! Music that is called YASI (Youth Arts Support Initiative) where we give kids a chance to work in professional environment with support of the more seasoned Wake Up! Music Team. I may change that name to WUM Kidz (thanks Craig J Snider). 3) I love plants and am a certified Master Herbalist 4) I love love and and spreading love through music and random acts of kindness. 4) I recently published an award winning book of poetry - an ugly and hard hitting volume with a little book in the book that is the plant-based volume that is the antidote for the other poems. Finally, after that award and decades of writing poetry, I now dare to call myself a poet. I think it was easier for me to see myself as a lyricist as I've had published songs over the years.
Who are your top inspirations?
Well, it was my Dog, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Chester Bennington, my sons, and the Sisters of Mercy. I also love the life and works of Jesus and Babaji of Haidakhan. Not necessarily in that order. I appreciate any spiritual food I can get and I would say that's a good list of those, dead or alive, who fill my spirit.
Having accomplished so much in your career, are there more dreams you hope to conquer?
Oh of course. I want to hit the Billboard charts again and again and again. I want to become known as the Nu Music record label worldwide. I want my artists to be happy. I want the music that comes out of Wake Up! to uplift, express and keep people going. Lofty goals I know but if you don't dream, things don't happen. I'm truly grateful for the love and support that so many people from all over the world and including the DJs have given my new label. The whole thing just feels so worthwhile with that type of love being thrown at me every day! And, I want to keep throwing it back!
Any words of wisdom for your fans out there?
But of course - Dance, Dance, Dance. Express yourself. Avoid drug abuse. Put in work. I say put in work because that's a saying that my sons like to use but it is so true. When people look at Wake Up! and wonder how is it that we are moving right along and not even two years old yet, - well, they don't know the mad hours I put into everything I do. There are no short cuts and in my view, failure is NOT an option but failure is better than not trying. We each are given gifts and it is up to us to find the best ways to share them and serve one another. Oh, and don't forget to laugh - life can be great and awful - never lose your sense of humor because tomorrow will be another day! Thank you! Peace and love from me, Pepper Gomez, to you!
Please list your social media links so our readers can follow you everywhere!
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/WakeUpMusicGroup (see Matt Warren playlist)
Contact: MY Gomez, Creative Director/Producer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credits Jacky Amar.