Thanks to the incredible, Ms. Dior Ashley Brown for swinging by this week!
^^Episode Audio/Post Is Live - Click Above (might take time to buffer/load, refresh page if you have any issues)^^
FROM TODAY'S SHOW
- War Paint by JDVBBS (Pop/R&B)
- W Street Clean by Dior Ashley Brown (Hip-Hop/ Funk)
- Natural by Colie Aziza (Jazz/Soul)
- Djinnie by SoundProof Genie (R&B/Neo Soul)
- Keeping my eyes on you by Nia Simmons, Aaron AB Abernathy, Dior Ashley Brown (R&B/ Soul)
**During this episode, Dior couldn't remember the name of the boy band from way back that was on her sleeping bag as a kid, she remembered after the show, it was New Kids On The Block!**
DC Music Summit - Saturday 4/29 - http://www.dcmusicsummit.org/
Music Venue Acre 121 is closing - Last Day, Saturday 4/29 - I’m gonna miss that stage, that staff, and those Barbecue Wings! What will you miss? Last night will feature rockin cover band, The Perfectionists
Day fair, parade, and music festival // U St. // 12noon-10pm // Sat May 6th
70,000+ attended last year
They have an App this year for smartphones
The Duskwhales - Sorrowful Mysteries
Den-Mate - Entropii
Lookout Gang - Shadow Chasers
THIS WEEK'S LOCAL DC SHOWS TO SEE
Go to DCMusicRocks.com and check out the local music calendar to see the full list we have of all the great upcoming local shows. There’s so many good ones all over the region, here’s my highlights from the calendar for the week.
Turtle Recall @ O’Sullivan’s IN Arlington, VA
JDVBBS @ Dr Clock’s Nowhere Bar IN DC
Black Masala @ Caddies On Cordell IN Bethesda, MD
Sub-Radio @ Sauf Haus IN DC
JDVBBS @ Iota Club & Cafe in Arlington, VA
Lookout Gang & District Skypunch @ RNR Hotel in DC
Tempercrush @ Evening Star Cafe in DelRay, VA
VIDEO - BIO - LINKS - TRANSCRIPT
Dior Ashley Brown is a Performing Artist, Entrepreneur, and Co-Founder of REformance Art. Her disciplines include Hip-Hop Emcee, Actor, Poet, and Host. She is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts and University of Maryland College, Park Theatre Arts Programs. Destined for Greatness Performance Arts Coach to formerly incarcerated Youth at the "Level Up" Program. Co-Founder and Organizer of the "First Annual DC Music Summit." She is a Proud of St. Augustine Young Adult Association, at St. Augustine Church. Celebrity Interviewer for the Legendary and Historic Howard Theatre to Include: De La Soul, Marsha Ambrosius, Curren$y, Charlie Murphy, Eric Roberson, Gregory Porter, Raheem DeVaughn and others. A recent Co-Host to the "BoxCutters Podcast," broadcasting at One Love Massive Studios, alongside Nicky Chinito and DJ Chalant. And performs live all over the DMV and beyond as "Dior Ashley Brown & The dAb Band," She is a lover of life, community curator, and a driven humanitarian.
Dior is a passionate in creating ways to inform and involve her community. Her most recent accomplishments include: Paneling the "Diggin' DC" Hip Hop Theatre Festival at The Arc Theatre, Subversive Artists Hip Hop Panel and first two years of "The Annual Black Theatre Symposium" At University of Maryland, College Park; debuting in the theatre production "It's What We Do," directed by Pamela Nice a play based on IDF soldiers testimonies in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as part of the 2015 Capital Fringe Festival, Hosting the 2015 & 2016 Annual Ward 7 Business and Community Festivals; Co-Organizing, Co-Hosting, Co-Creating and Co-Curating "The Accelerate with Google First Annual DC Music Summit 2016," traveling to SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas to one of the largest music conferences in the country in which she raised money to be an Ambassador for the arts collective Mousai House and DC creative community, Panelist at the Building the Music Capital Conference, and has most recently invited to panel the 2017 “Sounds of the City” D.C. Music Arts and Interactive Festival.
Brian: Dior Ashley Brown is a performing artist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of REformance Art.
Dior A. B.: Yes.
Brian: She is a hiphop emcee, an actor, a poet, and a host in the DC area. She is a graduate or Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts.
Dior A. B.: Whoop whoop.
Brian: And the University of Maryland's Theater Arts Program.
Dior A. B.: Go Terps.
Brian: So aside from performing live all over the DMV and beyond as Dior Ashley Brown and the dAb Band, some of her inspiring work with the DC art scene includes working with formerly incarcerated youth at the Level Up Program and rubbing elbows with the stars as a celebrity interviewer for the legendary and historic Howard Theater.
She is a lover of life, community curator, a driven humanitarian and a passionate. She is passionate about creating ways to inform and involve her community.
Dior A. B.: Indeed, indeed.
Brian: I first came across this amazing woman when I was at the Building the Music Capital Summit last year. She just had some really cool things to say. That presence, every time I've seen her, she's got that presence on stage that is just kind of magnetic. It's an honor and it's with great pleasure that I get to formally introduce Dior Ashley Brown.
Dior A. B.: Thank you so much for having me, that was beautiful.
Brian: Thank you for being here. Talk about, where did the dAb Band come from? Did it start as just you and then it was a band? How did that happen?
Dior A. B.: It did start as just me, Dior Ashley Brown, and then the whole dAB band came out. I was like, those are my initials; my boy was like, "You've been dabbing Dior." A shout out to Primary Element for that one. The band, we were jamming for about a year or two at the MOUSAi House and at the 411 Arts Collective. Some of my classmates came and started vibing, I'd been out and doing their respective things. We kind of came together and starting doing this funky thing, and started collaborating.
Brian: Yeah, okay and it came together as the band. Now for those who don't know, you mentioned those places; the 411 Arts Collective. What were those things in case they don't know what that is?
Dior A. B.: Yeah. 411 New York Avenue Northeast, we were inside of an artist loft, a huge building that had about 50 or more artists actually in the space. Then we would have about 200-300 more artists coming inside and out of that space. Unfortunately we were pushed out by a $15 million contract for another boutique hotel, which is right next to a hotel. That's what happened, that's the story behind 411.
Brian: These are the glory days, back in the day. Now I brought up a lot of things when I was introducing you. When you think about the main things that you're involved in, when you're describing yourself, because I brought up a lot; what comes to mind when you're saying that? Who is Dior Ashley Brown to you when you're thinking about it?
Dior A. B.: That's a great question. I feel like I'm this creative community curator, this historian in a sense that's trying to hold on to the pieces of DC and making sure that the community that I'm from is acknowledged and still represented or still being told. My granddaddy had a bike shop on 14th Street, on the corner right there and my church is St. Augustine. We were right there on 14 and V, we grew up over there riding our bikes all the time, going to The Carryout, getting mumbo sauce and wings and french fries.
It's just crazy how DC has changed, but we want to make sure to cultivate a lot of the businesses and community that existed before. I feel like that's what I'm trying to do.
Brian: Got it, community curator. That's that one, I dig it. Now I brought up, how did you get involved in, there was the underprivileged youth I talked about and also the Howard Theater. How did those two things come about?
Dior A. B.: Honestly, everything that I'm in has really been organic. I've been the type of artist that wants to submerge in my creativity and my talents, and I had to in a way to pay the bills. I had to really attach myself to other things and I was like, "Wow." I ended up having a good time in it and just fully being in those moments. It would strengthen a lot of those tools. Friends would be like, "Dior, you would be an awesome teacher. Why don't you try working out in this program?"
At the time, those were the jobs that we could get during the recession. There were a lot of opportunities to work with kids and I ended up really loving it. I've been doing it for maybe five or six years with these formerly incarcerated youth doing one on ones, taking them outside of their peripheral that they knew and taking them to the museums, and having them work on my shows as being part of my event staff. They got that one on one opportunity.
Brian: Got it, that's cool. The Howard Theater?
Dior A. B.: My friends were like, "Yo, will you come and host?", and I said yeah. I've never interviewed and I was super nervous about interviewing. I think my first one was Lyfe Jennings and that was a tough interview.
Brian: For those who don't know Lyfe Jennings, who's Lyfe Jennings?
Dior A. B.: Lyfe Jennings is an R&B hip hop artist. He's definitely dope, he's been out for years. I actually also interviewed the late and great Charlie Murphy.
Brian: Wow, Charlie Murphy.
Dior A. B.: Yeah, Charlie Murphy is something else.
Brian: Good gracious. Now talk about you outside of these things. You're involved in a lot of these things, so on the personal side; you got any hobbies? What do you do outside of work per se?
Dior A. B.: You know, that's a really good question. One of my things, I do binge watch. I'm in love with-
Brian: Binge watch? Share with us.
Dior A. B.: Oh my God, Netflix.
Brian: What does that mean? What's the latest?
Dior A. B.: I'm all over Netflix Marvel comics. Oh my gosh, I started off with Luke Cage but then I got into Jessica Jones. I was calling people like, "Did you know that this was connected?" People were like, "That's been there for years." I'm like, "Oh, wow." I'm super into it, Jessica Jones, Daredevil. I love it.
Brian: That's amazing.
Dior A. B.: Yeah, I'm a binge watcher.
Brian: Okay, so binge watcher. Check it out, if you want to know what's happening on Netflix, talk to Dior when it's not busy. When it's busy, that's why it's binge watching because there isn't always time.
Dior A. B.: Yeah. House of Cards.
Brian: When there is time; oh yeah, let's do it.
Dior A. B.: Absolutely.
Brian: I dig it. This kind of cool career that's evolved doing all kinds of things in the community, what comes to mind as the biggest success moment so far when you think back?
Dior A. B.: Oh wow, that's a great question. I'll be moving through a lot of things, I have to take more time to celebrate those things and celebrate with my peers, those movements. When you're in a high impact city that's changing like DC, you're just moving, moving, moving.
Right now I would say to even do the DC Music Summit again. The first time I did it, it was just that I wanted to bring resources to my community. Then 500 people registered and about 300 showed up. I was like, "Oh my God."
To just do it a second year and get even more support just from the community, and 8th Street Corridor, and the CD government; I'm like "Wow." It is a lot of energy, oh my gosh. I'm doing it 24 hours, 7 days a week just organizing this thing. I will tell you that it's so fulfilling, it's so fulfilling.
Brian: That's wild. The music summit is the success story that comes to mind?
Dior A. B.: Yeah, absolutely.
Brian: That's really cool. I hope folks are able to join you for that one because I'm looking forward to being there, that's for sure. It's all my favorite people in one room
Dior A. B.: That's what I'm saying.
Brian: Everybody's getting together, it's like a big party.
Dior A. B.: Bringing the community together.
Brian: If you don't know, local music is a great way to meet people. Some people talk about DC as being unfriendly or it's hard to meet people. One of the things that is amazing is if you go check out these local music scenes or you go the DC Music Summit, you start to see these same faces. Then everybody becomes familiar and you make new friends. It's an awesome thing.
Dior A. B.: We gotta blow up DC, we got to have the music scene on fire. People need to know that DC is where it's at.
Brian: That's what I'm working on with the show too. I don't think people understand just how incredible this local music scene is, it's unreal.
Dior A. B.: It's something else.
Brian: Unreal. What do you have in your music collection that might surprise us?
Dior A. B.: Oh my goodness, that is a good question. That would surprise you? I've been currently listening to Keke Palmer. She's got a song, what is that song called? I've been playing it on repeat, I should know. I've been listening to Keke Palmer. I listen to a lot of alternative. There's a song, the song is called "Frozen Creek".
Brian: Frozen Creek?
Dior A. B.: What is their name?
Brian: I can't place it.
Dior A. B.: I listen to absolutely everything so I don't know what's really going to surprise ... Oh, Jason Aldean, I've been listening-
Brian: I was going to say, country and all that stuff too? Aldean?
Dior A. B.: I listen to country.
Brian: Get out of here, that's awesome.
Dior A. B.: I've been listening to a little bit of everything. I'm like, "Yo, people are going to think I'm crazy." If you listen to my iPod, you're bound to hear anything come out of that. Don't judge me.
Brian: If they pull up next to you at a stop light in your car, they just might get the most random stuff and see you rocking out to it.
Dior A. B.: Absolutely.
Brian: I love it.
Dior A. B.: I love music, man.
Brian: What are your earliest memories with music? You say you're loving it, where did it start? Go back to that for us.
Dior A. B.: My father. My father, he sings. I was singing when I was really, really young. My earliest memory, I remember doing a school play at St. Augustine. This was when my parents were overseas, both of them served in Desert Storm. I remember having to sing the song "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". I remember singing it and then everybody coming to me later like, "You have such a grownup voice. It's powerful and that was beautiful."
Brian: How old were you at that time?
Dior A. B.: I was in second or third grade.
Dior A. B.: My teacher was Sister Stevens and she did not play.
Brian: Sister Stevens, huh?
Dior A. B.: Sister Stevens did not play. I remember that, I remember second or third grade. I also remember listening to Whitney Houston and then my parents just having to listen to "I will always" over and over. I used to love singing, through the house and in my room just on full belt.
Brian: Nice. What were those artists when you came up? You've got Whitney Houston, any that stick out in your mind that were?
Dior A. B.: Oh yeah. Tevin Campbell, telling my age. I loved Tevin Campbell, "Brown Eyed Girl". What else was I listening to? SWV, Xscape, oh my God. I loved SWV, "Get Weak". When I got that CD, I screamed. My mother had it sitting in the kitchen, I was like "Ahh". She thought something was wrong with me, I flipped out.
Oh my God, I used to listen to ... Who were the boys? The Backstreet, not Backstreet?
Brian: Boys II Men?
Dior A. B.: No. Yeah, Boys II Men of course, definitely. Before NSYNC though, there was another group, I had their sleeping bag. Oh my God, I just told that on the radio. I used to listen to all of that stuff. Color Me Badd.
Brian: You've got to think about it, what's the one you had the sleeping bag of? That's what I want to know, what was it?
Dior A. B.: I know. It was a boy band and I'm trying to remember what they were called. It was before Backstreet.
Brian: Before Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees? Then it was, I'm going back. I can't believe we're talking about this on DC Music Rocks. We'll cut that off. Email Dior later and she can look up, because I want to know what the sleeping bag was. We'll follow up with that, I'll see if I can add that in the notes for the show later. You can find out what that sleeping bag was.
Dior A. B.: Early memories of music.
Brian: That's it, earliest memories of music. Now, talk about when you started performing then. Where did that begin?
Dior A. B.: Like I was telling you, a little bit in elementary school. I remember singing with my father too, we did a song, it was an Aladdin song. I remember that for an event that the military base was having.
It was elementary school and then middle school, I had a really tough teacher who was just very serious about my acting skills and wanted me to speak on my voice. When I think about the direction he was giving me when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I started doing one woman plays when I was a kid because I had a serious teacher. I started really young, like grade school.
Brian: It was acting, or singing, or was it everything?
Dior A. B.: Acting. It's crazy but acting and singing have always been parallel in my, since I was a kid. In Germany they had little rec centers on base, so these rec centers would have an acting coach. Nobody would be in there, so I was like the only kid that took the class. Then I would have that class.
Brian: It's always been that? Was there a time where you went and thought you were going to have a different career path or it's really always been acting, and singing, and community organizing?
Dior A. B.: Yeah. I think the only other job that I ever wanted was to be a lawyer. I was watching movies and the lawyers were just so convincing.
Brian: It looked so great in the movies, doesn't it?
Dior A. B.: Yeah. I just knew I was going to win the case. That was the only other job that I saw. Everything else was always arts, always arts driven. When we lived in Germany, I had the nickname Schauspieler, which is a show player. My godparents named me that when I was a kid. I was going to be an artist, I felt it, I always felt it.
Brian: You've talked about a lot of places; you said you lived on base, you mentioned Germany. Where all did you live? It was all over the place?
Dior A. B.: Back and forth overseas to Germany, like two different times. In the Midwest, I lived in Colorado, Texas, and back and forth to DC.
Brian: Got it, that's cool. One of my favorite questions that I always love to ask is; if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Dior A. B.: I know it's cliché, but go as hard as possible at what really hits your soul. Not in someone else's dream, not something that you know was confused through media. Just something, whatever speaks to your spirit, just trust it and go hard. You're going to have plenty of opposition because it's so outside the norm. Go super, super passionate at your dreams, at all costs.
Brian: You said "Speaks to your spirit", how's it that one? How do you know that's it?
Dior A. B.: When it brings you joy, when you can't wait to get up in the morning. When it can keep you at a desk or on a phone for hours. You're passionately going and making sure that you add it into your life every day, that is to me is what you need to do.
Brian: That is the one.
Dior A. B.: Yeah.
Brian: Go after it and don't quit.
Dior A. B.: Yeah. You know, you might like to skateboard and you should skateboard. You know what I'm saying? Go hard.
Brian: They definitely do.
Dior A. B.: Yes.
Brian: One last thing, for those folks listening who want to find out more about you and all the cool things that you're doing, where do they go?
Dior A. B.: Diorashleybrown.com. That website, that's my website. I try my best out here, go to diorashleybrown.com. I try to put as much as possible on there. My handles are @DiorAshleyBrown, Snapchat is BAshleyD, that's my little secret Snapchat.
Brian: Got it, secret Snapchat. Which one are you on the most, Instagram?
Dior A. B.: Yeah, Instagram. I love Instagram.
Brian: Instagram's the one. All right, that's where it's at. Check her out. You had mentioned that there's something exciting, the Box Cutters Podcast. Talk about that real quick?
Dior A. B.: Two guys, Nicky Shinito and DJ Chalant and I'm dabbing to love. We have a podcast that we do on Sundays. We try to go outside the box, so it's called The Box Cutters Podcast. We're broadcasting right now at One Love Massive Studios. We're having a launch on Sunday, it's going to be free, super laid back and chill. I'm going to perform.
Brian: You say a launch, does that mean like it's a live show but then it gets put out as a podcast?
Dior A. B.: It is a recorded podcast and we put it out on iTunes. When you come to the launch, you'll find out how to get a hold of it.