DJ's Domain

Spoonful of Pure Sugar
Pure Sugar's Jennifer Starr talks about Music, the Club Life, and...S-E-X!

The dance music group, Pure Sugar, is one of the hottest acts on the dance charts right now with their hit singles "Hands To Heaven" and "Delicious." The group is made up of superstar writing/production/remix duo Peter Lorimer and Richard "Humpty" Vission, along with songwriter/vocalist Jennifer Starr (who, incidentally, revealed she happens to be one quarter Latina). qvMagazine spoke with Starr, and here's what she had to say:

Pure Sugar has a very distinct modern disco-dance-pop sound to its music. Was that the type of sound you were looking to do for your debut album? We definitely wanted a modern sound. As far as Peter and Richard were concerned, they wanted it to be a dance record with acid house and acid funk influences. I was able to do some creative experimenting (on the album) and write songs about things that I was really going through at the time. This gave us a twist on the sound of the record, such as on "Hold On to My Love" which is a drum-and-bass record.

Who are some of the individuals who inspired you in your music? I don't really have a specific person as far as a musical influence or as far as sounding like someone or doing something the way someone else has. I think that would be very limiting for me. It probably would have helped early on, but in the long run I am happy with showcasing a side of myself that is 100% me.

What was going through your mind when you first sang "Delicious?" Actually, to tell you the truth, when I recorded the song, we were at A&M (Studios), and we had an assistant there who was helping Peter mix and record. He was really cute, so I sort of did this performance for him. I didn't tell anybody. I just imagined that I was singing it to him.

What does being a diva mean to you? It's about concentration and focus. It's focusing on perfection. I know that's impossible-I am a perfectionist at fault-but I focus on giving what I feel to be the best performance I can give. I think that's a diva's state of mind-to get into a mindset to where you're really giving it all your energy and concentration. Those are the key ingredients to a successful outcome in anything.

You have this "Beyond Diva" exaggerated look. How important is this goddess image that you put out to the rest of the world? The drag queen persona and the goddess thing, which for me, means the feminine side and the powerful, sensitive, artistic side-that's the side that I push, and I try to reveal as something we all have-man, woman, child. It's something that we need to stay in touch with.

What has been your best touring experience? Japan was wonderful. The Japanese audience is such a polite, giving, and accommodating audience. I was really appreciated. My favorite experience in the States was at a QV club called Hooker in Los Angeles. I got a chance to really tear loose. It was just such an "on" night. I was so well-accepted and appreciated for my performance. People were really getting what I was trying to do.

How is the QV club environment different from straight clubs? I have performed in front of straight crowds where, obviously, all the guys are into it since I'm dancing around in a bikini. Sometimes there are girls who are into it, but then there are other (girls) with crossed arms who are like...hmmm. As far as my QV audiences are concerned, they get it. I'm like the biggest drag queen in a real woman's body. I think in my last life I must have been a drag queen! I love lashes and heels at all times of the day! People think I'm crazy because I'm not comfortable in flat shoes, and I don't know why that is. I love it.

This issue is about Sex. How important do you feel sexual appeal is to your music and your image? I'm a sexual person, and I'm always looking to push the envelope with my sexual and visual styles. I like to put on heels, makeup, and hair, but for me, I feel sexy at all times. I don't wake up looking like that, obviously, but yet when I wake up, the first thing I want to do is have sex. I think that's part of my male side-I'm overloaded with male hormones. They say that men want to spread their seeds by nature. Well, I've got a few seeds to spread, too! I don't know where it comes from, but I always have the need to get laid. That's what I like to do. So, it works. It adds to the music and to what we're doing.

What is your ultimate goal? I hope to keep creating good music and working with people who are interested in my ideas. I'll always do music even if I don't make money off of it. As a child, I always ran around my house dancing, singing, playing with my mom's makeup and heels, and throwing whatever I could find to wrap around me in an evening-dress style-which looked more like a toga. It was all about the fantasy behind it. I don't know why I was born with such an innate need to flaunter around in heels and lipstick. My mom used to catch me dancing in the middle of the night in front of the refrigerator with the light on and the cold wind coming out. No music-just me dancing naked.

What do you have to say to those club kids in the underground club scene that are out there looking for the same attention? Keep a head on your shoulders. Keep going for your dream. Whatever you do, be safe and be careful. Moderation is a good thing. I may sound like a parent, but I'm speaking from my life experience, that moderation is key. You want to be safe, protect yourself, and surround yourself with good people. Go for your dreams. Keep yourself in good faith and good spirits. Keep positive and focus on what you want.

Any last words to your QV fans? Take care of each other. Nothing is easy. We choose our destinies, but we don't have choices over everything. We are all equal. No matter what anybody says to you, or no matter what anybody puts you down for, or tries to judge you on, you were created by something powerful, wondrous, and beautiful. What we are sexually-or whatever it is-we are all special, we all got gifts, and we all got a talent. Find it. Use it. Don't give up on yourself, and don't give up on your fellow human beings.

by Howard Perez

Oye Como Va...El Tito!
Tito Puente, Jr. talks about his rise to fame, his legendary father, and more!

Tito Puente, Jr. is young, energetic, and the son of international music superstar, Tito Puente. Tito Jr. is currently on tour promoting his latest album, "Sientelo," which includes the sizzling first single, a house-like track called "Azucar." Following his high-energy performance at the recent International Salsa Festival in Los Angeles, he talked to us about his music, his famous father, and how he prepared himself to enter into the music business.

"A lot of people think I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth," Tito said, "and that it (music) is in my blood. Of course it's in my blood, having been around Latin music all my life. But I think education is the key and that's what has gotten me to this end of the business."

Puente, Jr. tuned up on his music and performing skills by attending college, where he obtained an associate's degree in music. College enabled him to perfect his performing skills as well as and his ability to play different instruments. He then went to a vocational school to learn about recording engineering.

When it comes to performing on stage, Tito has got both the musical talent and the dance moves to create his own niche in the music world. He recognizes that his musical style, which includes a lot of house music, is very much different than his dad's. "Being born and raised in New York City, I've always had a love for house and dance music. I like house music and my dad likes it, too. He calls it "rock." He really enjoys it and participates in a lot of the house songs I play such as 'Oye Como Va,' which is a rendition of one of his tunes."

In addition to the house sounds on his new CD, he also dabbles in other styles of music. There are even some guest appearances from artists like Celia Cruz (who happens to be his godmother!), hot Salsera Leti Perez, the Nasty Boys (who are also his two handsome, provocative backup singers), and Abe Quintanilla, the brother of the late Tejano singer, Selena.

Tito Puente Jr.'s house sound, obviously, lends itself perfectly into the QV clubs where house music is, more often than not, the musical genre of choice. Tito recognizes his QV fans in a positive way: "I have a very big QV following, especially in Miami. I really enjoy the QV community. They take care of me all the time...They just love that Mambo, house, dance sound."

And what about the future expectations of Tito Jr.? "Being the son of a legend, I have a duty to represent the Latino community. My dad's been (in the music industry) for many years-over 50 years-and it's up to me to keep his legacy alive."

by qvStaff Roldán

There's tons more of DJ's Domain in the print version of qvMagazine including an interview with San Francisco deejay St. John, qvMusic Piks, and our Flyer of the Month.

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