"A woman named Adia Smith came over and said, 'I really loved what you did in here tonight, and I think my boss would really love it too. I was wondering if you do private events,'" Bravin told the publication. Smith then flipped her card to the DJ -- and the name emblazoned on the back was more than a little shocking. "It said, 'Obama 2012' on it and she said Obama was her boss. I kind of freaked out."
Several months later, Adam 12 found himself spinning for the President's birthday at a club in Los Angeles followed by a fundraiser show at the House of Blues. Spinner caught up with him to talk about his playlist secret weapons, how spinning differs from his main project She Wants Revenge and what it was like to meet the most powerful man in the world.
So you played the House of Blues with the President in attendance. Take us through your game plan. What were you going to spin first and last?
I've been a DJ for so long that I rarely have a game plan when walking into any situation. I've become pretty good at doing one of the most important things that a DJ can do -- read a room. I knew at some point, in the back of my head, I would play some Chicago hip-hop (Kanye West, the Roots, Common, Lupe Fiasco). As the guests arrived, it became very clear that classic soul and R&B would be the move, as it is usually the common denominator between all generations.
What was it like meeting President Obama? And did you see him cut a little rug?
I've met numerous musicians and celebrities before, but I have to admit, I was more nervous to meet President Obama than I had ever been before. As he walked through a set of curtains from another room at the House of Blues, the energy in the room I was in completely changed, everyone could feel it. I tried to play it cool, debating in my head what to call him, what to say, etc. I was first in line to meet him and take a photo, he walked over, looked me in the eye, shook my hand and we exchanged a few words. It was kind of a blur, very surreal, very intimidating and very humbling. I remember getting out the words, "Of course, Mr. President, I'll be your DJ anytime you ask ..." So at least I got his name correct.
What does DJing do for you that She Wants Revenge doesn't, and vice versa?
DJing fulfills the need in me to accomplish a few different things. First, the need to facilitate a good time for people while constantly figuring out new ways to be creative within an art form that is quickly becoming more of a novelty as technology continues to evolve, making DJing more and more accessible to everyone. I've been a DJ since I was a kid and I've always enjoyed making people dance, it has become part of who I am and I will always be a DJ. Second, if done correctly, it is still possible to introduce people to new music, while continuing to provide music that they already know. It's a tricky thing, but I feel it's important to "break" records and not just be an iPod or a playlist, as many DJs have become.
The difference between what I get from being a DJ and what I get from being in She Wants Revenge is simple. As a DJ, the crowd shows love based on technical skills and choices. As a member of SWR, the crowd shows love based on music that Justin Warfield and I write together, which is a very personal and intimate thing. Standing on stage, whether it be in front of 10 people or 1,000 people, the fact that there are people out there that connect with the music we make is an incredible feeling that not many DJs will ever know. I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced it.
What are your playlist secret weapons? You know, the tunes that kill every time.
Michael Jackson and Biggie are my forever "go-to" artists. 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough' and 'Hypnotized' are the killers that work every time.
Are you planning on spinning any other Obama-related parties? Will you be supporting him in 2012?
We have discussed more Obama-related parties for me to spin in 2012, which I will gladly do as I continue to support him in his upcoming campaign.
Let's say you get loaned out to the rest of the White House cabinet -- for bar mitzvahs, fundraisers, birthday parties or what have you -- tell us what your first song would be for Vice President Biden, Dept. of Energy Sec. Steven Chu and Dept. of Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano?
First song for Vice President Biden would be 'Hey Joe,' Jimi Hendrix. First song for Dept. of Energy Sec. Steven Chu would be 'Raw Power,' Iggy and the Stooges. First song for Dept. of Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano would be 'Security of the First World,' Public Enemy.