People often ask me how I got into “Slow Jams.” It’s a long and drawn out story…for another time, when you’ve got about three hours. But there was one defining moment. So long ago. It all started with a song.
I was 13 years old, growing up in L.A. I grew up on my parents music (Jimmy Buffet, Johnny Mathis, a lot of oldies, etc.) I had just recently started getting into “popular” Top 40 music. I had no idea what a “Slow Jam” even was, or “Urban” music for that matter. In Southern California I listened to the big Top 40 station out there, KIIS-FM. Looking back, I remember the only songs I really liked came from the more “rhythmic” artists: Paul Abdul and Milli Vanilli were the first two albums I bought, on cassette! There was a whole ‘nother world of R&B music out there waiting to be discovered–I just hadn’t found it yet.
Until the summer of 1990.
I had just moved from California to Orlando, Florida. It was late at night by the time I finally got settled in. I had just unpacked my precious radio. At the time nothing I owned was more important to me than that little black GE alarm clock radio called the “Night Jammer.” It was everything to me. It kept me connected.
Its dial (yes, dial!) was still set to 102.7FM (the frequency of L.A.’s KIIS-FM). I plugged it in and slid the switch to “on” to be greeted with static…apparently there was no radio station with the 102.7FM frequency in Central Florida. So I had to find a new station. Would I move the dial to the left…or to the right? I didn’t realize this would be one of the most important and life-defining decisions I would ever make. Right or left?
To the left I went, using my thumb to slowly move the dial, with careful precision, as to not miss anything. You went to fast on one of those small radios, you could totally glide right past a good radio station.
Almost immediately I stopped in my tracks as I stumbled upon a song that immediately grabbed my attention. I had never heard it before, but just hearing five seconds of this song–I knew I liked it. And then about 20 seconds into the song, I knew I loved it. The melody was beautiful, the voices were amazing, and the lyrics–well, magic. They were literally speaking to me. It was like the songwriter knew me and my experiences, and had crafted a song all about my life. How could this be? How did they get into my head???
“I can’t wait to get to school each day
And wait for you to pass my way
(And bells start to ring) and angels start to sing
Hey that’s the girl for you
So what are you gonna do
Hey little girl I love you so”
Oh, and then the next song was amazing too. And the one after that. And after that. This happened the entire night. After about every five or six songs that played, you heard a warm voice giving out dedications over rain and thunder sound effects. The station was Orlando’s 102 Jamz. The program was called “The Quiet Storm.” And my life would never be the same.
The song was “All I Do Is Think About You,” by Troop. It was that one song that set off a chain reaction of events in my life that continue to this day. It was that very song, on that special night, that would change the course of my life. The rest is history.