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“Philly Mixtape Music Tea” w/Sara Sherr

When you think of karaoke in Philadelphia, there’s truly only one name that comes to mind-the fabulous Sara Sherr of Sing Your Life Karaoke. For almost a decade now, Ms. Sherr has been running her karaoke business all over town and has taken over a handful of city bars like 12 Steps Down, Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar and Philly staple Bob and Barbara’s. Sara’s schedule is always jam packed, so when she agreed to have a little chat with me, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. The two of us gabbed about her humble beginnings, which singers she thinks are due for their grand comebacks, and which songs she wishes people would just STOP attempting to sing on karaoke nights. Check out my fun interview with Sara below and for all things ‘Sing Your Life Karaoke,’ go right here.

PM-Hey Sara, thanks so much for taking time out of your crazy schedule to chat with me! So, tell me how you got started doing “Sing Your Life Karaoke?”

SS-My father has been a DJ and karaoke host for almost 30 years. In 2006, when I was between jobs, I entered the family business and in 2010, I was fulltime, and I came to Tabu in April of that year. I currently have 5 regular nights a week, plus private parties.

PM-I just have to know, in all of your time doing karaoke, was there one performance that completely blew you away?

SS-It’s hard to remember just one. Some people are incredibly talented, and others don’t have great voices, but are very entertaining. I’ve witnessed both marriage proposals and impromptu stripping during performances so anything’s possible. (As fun as it its, I am not suggesting you strip, or you’ll get thrown out at most of my bars).

PM-Are there any songs that you absolutely get tired of hearing?

SS-It’s a tie between John Legend’s “All of Me” and “Let It Go” from Frozen. I prefer to not hear a lot of slow songs at karaoke. It brings the energy level way down.

PM-How about any songs or artists you don’t think you hear enough of people singing?

SS-Anything from David Bowie…

PM-Okay, so you pretty much know what people like to sing, so I want to pick your music brain for a minute. If you had to name one album that you absolutely can’t live without, which one would it be?

SS-I would say “Germ Free Adolescents” by X-ray Spex.

PM-How about, in one word, describe Madonna..

SS-Indestructible.

PM-Which singer do you think is in dire need of a comeback?

SS-I’d like to see it happen to George Michael, but it’s a tough call with his health issues. For more recent artists, I don’t think Amerie ever got a fair shake.

PM-Lastly, what was the last concert or festival that you went to?

SS-I just went to the Oddball Comedy Festival with Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Burress, and many others.

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“Philly Mixtape Music Tea”w/ DJ John Michael Di Spirito

 You guys know that a big part of the Facebook launch were the music chats that went down on the page, and for those of you guys are just pressing play on the Mixtape, don’t worry, I’m happy to say that starting this week, they’re back and better than ever. In fact, all week long, I’ll be catching up with some of the biggest and brightest talents who were part of the Facebook launch, and who have been gracious enough to be part of the official site launch, as well!  So on that music Barbara ’20/20′ intro, let’s get our fresh music chat segment on which will now be fabulously called, “Philly Mixtape Music Tea.” 

To kick things off, this morning I caught up with my music galpal and dazzling DJ John Michael Di Spirito and the two of us sipped delicious Adele English Breakfast music tea over the one thing that is on everyone’s minds today-Missy Elliot, of course.  However, before you clean up our dropped krimpet crumbs, get to know John Michael a little bit as you get your music tea-sippin’ on… 

Mr. Di Spirito hails from New York City, and over the years, his style has led him to play at some of NYC’s best venues-Spirit, Avalon & Boulevard, just to name a few. He’s also recently finished a five year residency under Shep Pettibone at hot spot Paradise in Asbury Park, NJ. If that’s not enough blazing heat for you, his talents in the studio caught the ears of legendary DJ Junior Vasquez, leading to many years of incredible collaborations between the two for some of Junior’s most private and public remixes. Not only does the magical Michael produce under his own name, he’s also a part of collaborative remixing teams NU Collective, Audio Assembly and Hell & Keller. You better work, bitch.

Dive into our fun music chat below, and for more JM, go here and here.

PM-In five words or less…your thoughts on Ms. Perry’s Super Bowl halftime performance last night.
JM-I want those shark costumes!
PM-Okay, let’s dish about Ms. Missy. If you could only listen to one Missy Elliot song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
JM-This is really tough… My first instinct is to say either “All In My Grill” or “Hot Boyz” cause they were the first songs I’ve ever heard, but when “4 My People” came out, it was everywhere in NYC so in honor of my most respected clubbing days of yore, I have to go with that one. It never fails to get me pumped up!
PM-Next….any thoughts on the Grammy awards this Sunday, and you can say whatever…you…want.
JM-I do love award shows and I always hope that Beyonce wins whatever category she’s nominated in (she is, after all, my spirit animal), but this year in the dance category it’s gonna be a really tough call for winners! For best dance recording I literally like all of the nominees… You’ve got Disclosure & Mary J’s “F For You”, Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne’s massive “Rather Be”, the slick Whitney remake of “My Love Is Your Love” in Duke Dumont & Jax Jones’ “I Got U”, Basement Jaxx’ solid “Never Say Never” and what I feel is the underdog in Zhu’s “Faded”… I love and have played all these songs in my sets, but I’m gonna have to give it to Disclosure & Mary J on this one. Maybe I’m biased cause I remixed it, but I love both of them so much so that’s who I’m rooting for! Royksopp & Robyn are nominated for best Electronic/Dance album which makes me excited! I love their work together so as a big Robyn fan, she has always my vote! Also, Toni Braxton & Babyface are nominated in the Best R&B Album for their “Love, Marriage & Divorce” album. I’m really REALLY pulling for Toni on that one. She deserves it for so many reasons, but mainly cause it’s a great and highly underrated set of songs. I could ramble on and on, but I look forward to the performances and hair styles!
PM-So, let’s dish about you. Any new projects on the horizon?
JM-SO many new projects coming!! The one coming out real soon is my collaboration with Floor One Music on Sia’s “Elastic Heart”! It’s my first time remixing her which is always exciting for me! Floor One and I also have our mix of Kiesza’s “Giant In My Heart” which has been completed but will soon see the light of day as well a fun, off the cuff mix for Whitney Houston’s “Call You Tonight”, a personal favorite of mine from her last album “I Look To You.”My next solo project though is a mix of FrankMusik’s “Pins & Needles” from his “Between” album! I love male voices and I don’t feel like they’re represented enough in dance music, and his is just so damn wonderful!
PM-One last thing, in your own words, what does music mean to you?
JM-Music is everything to me. It has the ability to make us emote in so many different ways, it’s power is limitless. Over the course of my life I’ve lived my highs and soldiered through my lows and through every bit of it, music has always been there for me. To quote the legendary C&C Music Factory: “Music is my life, it helps me through the fight. Music is my life. It’s the joy I have inside!”
Work it like Missy.