Hope everyone had a happy Holiday. I disconnected this weekend to spend time with family, and here I am kicking off the week with coverage from LIFESWELL last Thursday. Peace to all the celebrated Rick & Ray‘s website launch. We appreciate the love and support!
Additional coverage is HERE
LIFESWELL 12: Same spot, same rules. See you tonight.
Tomorrow night, my team and I will be at Blu Monkey for the 12th installment of LIFESWELL. We have guest DJs Descry (IKS/Shinobeats) and Ro Blvd (Employee of the Week) and our residents JeffCee, JB, and JustPudge. We’ll be celebrating the birthdays of my good friend Kathrina (she was one of the original CA models back when we had the Little Miss Chicharon t-shirt), and also Ritz (who runs with the Oishi Media fam). But for me, the big celebration is the launch of Rick & Ray’s website.
I announced the launch yesterday to our network via press release that gave background on the management group and also the design of the website. Now’s my chance to get a bit more personal.
Rick & Ray is about fulfilling dreams. The name alone is testament to that. I am notorious for saying “to the top”. I’m about forward and upward motion for myself and for my friends. So when I needed a management company name, I wanted to call it like “apex” or something, just to signify the whole “to the top” thing. But it wasn’t sitting well. Then Jon thought it would be good to have it signify my brother. Let me back up. My brother, Ray, was 3 years old when he died in 1990. He had brain cancer, and was blind by 2. He was smart, he was mischievous, he would save the crunchy part of a McDonald’s hashbrown for last, and he loved music. When Make-A-Wish Foundation approached us to grant his wish, I went gaga. I thought of all the cool things we could do - meet Michael Jackson, sit courtside and watch Magic and Kareem, go to Disneyworld, the list goes on. But out of all the things he could’ve wished for, he wanted to meet Rick Dees, the KIIS FM morning DJ. You see, Ray and I would record our own radio shows on my aunt’s Minus One machine all the time. Our topic was basically what we did that particular day. Our playlist included music from Anita Baker, Paula Abdul, and Surface. It actually wasn’t that surprising that he chose what he chose. So one morning a limo picked us up. We went out to the studio on Hollywood Blvd and met Rick. Rick played “Don’t Know Much” by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, and we came home with boxes full of Rick Dees Top 40 paraphernalia. My friends love hearing that story, and when Jon said to name it after my brother, he suggested “Rick & Ray”. That was it.
I never thought Rick & Ray would become what it is. After all, it was just a name to represent my management position with the Rhythm Natives when they dropped their debut album. Plus I was deeply invested in CA, its clothing and its content. But people started to notice the hard work I put in with the band and with CA, and they wanted to get hip to this new project I was quietly developing. There was no reason I couldn’t do both. Now, I have a roster that includes Shelly Samia (makeup artist), Garfield Adams (producer/emcee), Christine Alane (singer/songwriter), JustPudge (DJ/designer), Asi Friedman (producer/sound engineer), and DJ EROK (DJ/videographer). Rick & Ray exists to expose their talent. They are the collective, the core, the hulking vehicle of the business.
Because I have a background in web marketing, my big developmental task was Rick & Ray’s online presence. I worked alongside SBJCT Design to create a website that really focused on the collective. There are reasons why we took full body photographs, there are reasons why we have every person’s essentials, there are reasons why there is white space next to each member of the Rhythm Natives. All of that was achieved, and I am incredibly proud of it. Besides closing out a task, I feel as if the website legitimizes Rick & Ray completely.
You can then imagine why I’m geeking over LIFESWELL tomorrow. Personal reasons definitely come into play. I often think of that day when we met Rick Dees. Ray was so fragile, confined to his stroller, and exhausted from cancer. But he was happy; his wish came true. When I oversaw the release of the RN album and witnessed the band’s excitement, I was brought back to that very moment in March 1990. I know I’m in the right business, I know my brother is just as proud. What started out as a name, now has significance and potential. The website is just the beginning of a long journey.
RICK & RAY: www.rickandray.com
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: www.rickandray.fanbridge.com/campaigns/show.php?id=798986
Here’s my list of best five albums for 2011. Before people start getting righteous and whatnot, let me preface this post by saying that this is a list of music that made me feel good, music that I kept going back to. If you think about it, I focused a lot of my attention on DJs this year because of LIFESWELL. Every month was about finding someone to fill the guest spot. With that, here it is:
Amy Winehouse - Lioness: Hidden Treasures
Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra
The Weeknd - House of Balloons
Little Dragon - Ritual Union
Drake - Take Care
And if I went with a top 10, I would have continued with:
Adele - 21
The Roots - Undun
Mary J. Blige - My Life II: The Journey Continues, Act 1
Das Racist - Relax
Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
It’s been about 8 months since I pulled down the online store, and just ran CA as a blog/e-zine. Since then, I’ve toyed with the idea of restructuring the clothing aspect of this 2 part project. I’ve asked myself if I should get back into it, if my could-be designs are even up to par, and if people would still deem CA relevant. Lately, friends, friends of friends, colleagues and their customers have been asking about it. More often than not, they are asking about the crewneck. I released crewnecks for two winter seasons. It was a simple design - my handwritten “CA” vectorized, enlarged, and screenprinted on grey, red, navy, purple, and black. People loved them. The two stockists I had at the time, Beatrock and Backside, sold out of them in one weekend.
Yesterday, I was talking with Kim (my business partner when CA was selling apparel). She told me that she still had a few pieces in a box. So I got them from her.