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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Barbara Sobel Birthday Social Exclusive Q&A

I'm eagerly anticipating my return to Icon, in Astoria, this weekend, to celebrate dance-music mogul Barbara Sobel's birthday. Club owner Nick Lion will be there; Dj Ian Ford (Fford) will be spinning It should be a blast! 

Barbara is the head of Sobel Promotions, Sobel Nation Records, runs the Sobel Nation Network Radio Stations, and works for Our City Radio (Dance Channels)/ Queens Our City Radio and someone I've come to consider a personal friend (though I haven't actually seen her since December, at the Get Out! Awards at X/L). Most artists who work for Barbara Sobel feel part of her family and benefit from her guidance and generosity. It was a joy to have the opportunity to interview her ahead of the Icon birthday bash.

Dj Buddy Beaverhausen: You are a Taurus by my reckoning, Ms Sobel. I didn't realize we were born under the same sign. What Taurean traits do you have according to the zodiac?
Barbara Sobel: I don't follow the zodiac much, so I had to Google the traits. [Laughs.]  I do have to say the majority of traits I do not have. I am not self-indulgent (sorry, I am not a mani/pedi type gal), materialistic (No Gucci for me), or lazy (I work 365 days a year including holidays and haven't been on a vacation (and it was a working vacation) since 2007).  I am extremely patient, and have to be working with all the personalities and nuances of the music business, stubborn (as Julian Marsh can attest to), and possessive.

DBB: Well, all the best people are Tauruses in my opinion. Cher! Grace Jones! Bono! Adele! Queen Elizabeth! Me! What do you think we all have in common?
BS: I think that all those people are very open minded, liberal and believe in equality to all. They have all seen injustice against humanity whether it be towards the LGBT community, poverty, discrimination etc, and they didn't sit by quiet and actually did something. Not to mention they think outside the box, have had more haters than they can mention

DBB: You went to Hofstra and NYU, where you got your Masters in Social Work. Where did you think you were headed at the time?
BS: I am very proud to say that I am a LCSW-R, passing my State Boards. When I was in high school, my father, Robert Sobel ( installed in me the importance of an education.  I was one of the originators who worked with AIDS patients when the disease first came about, and was very active in ACT-UP.  I was known as the Angel Of Death in the hospitals.  When doctors and nurses saw me enter a patient's room, they knew the patients disease and knew that it would soon be time.  I have always wanted to work with the terminally ill and help them die (sorry, I don't sugar coat it.)  Nothing is more gratifying to be with a person at the time of their death.  I don't believe anybody should die alone, and we all know how many people did just that at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

DBB: What influenced or directed you toward a career in dance music?
BS: I actually got my start with the band Culture Club, before they were famous. I started out writing fanzines, then message boards.... and slowly my career took shape as my work started to get noticed by the actual bands and they hired me.

DBB: When did Sobel Nation initially kick off?
BS: Sobel Promotions ( kicked off in 2010. Yes, four years ago. I was working for another promoter and had a different view of how things should be run. I saw first hand the drama that was going on in this business and experienced it. Heck, when I started I had a two hour conversation with some people in the business who stated they will destroy me and went on to try to blacklist me, telling their friends not to associate with me. To this day, the 'clique' remains and I have even had Billboard Reporters who are part of the 'clique' say publicly they would not play anything related to me. I laugh at this type of behavior and it proves my point and why I started Sobel Promotions. To some, it isn't about the music. It is about the drama and the 'cliques.' After I started Sobel Promotions, we continued to grow with radio stations and a record label.  The Artists, DJ's, and Record Labels within my promotion company have formed a nation.... a family.  When one of us succeeds, we all succeeds, when one of us fails we all fail. We may have significant others in our lives, but truthfully, the only one who understands the craziness of this industry and lifestyle is another musician.  Sobel Nation is a family. We all have different personalities like any family. We have our quirks. We fight. We make up. Not all of us get along like any family. However, we are all respectful of each other. The oneness and family atmosphere which I have developed is exactly why I started Sobel Promotions, and quite truthfully, I haven't seen anything quite like us out there and I look forward to the continued growth and addition of new members.

DBB: Sobel Nation is on fire now! So many great dj promos. What do you think are some of your hottest recent remixes right now?
BS: Ah... I am not going to choose one, because if I promote it, the single is "The Best Of The Best." Every single is special in their own right, and I can't say that a House tune is hotter than a Trance tune. All my singles are hot, and all will make somebody out there happy.

DBB: Tell us about Sobel Nation Radio if you will.
BS: Sobel Nation Radio consists of Sobel Nation Radio which plays dance music and the Sobel Promotions Station which plays music only from the songs I promote. I may be the only promotion company with its own radio station. Some of the songs I promote may be difficult to place on mainstream radio, and I believe everybody in my company should get radio airplay.

DBB: You have a birthday bash coming up at Icon in Astoria this Sunday. Not everyone gets feted in such a grand manner by club owner Nick Lion, with Ian Fford spinning. Are you excited about all this? (Because I am.)
BS: I am very excited.  Not only is ICON the hottest club in Queens, but also because I get to meet Nick and IANNNNNN for the first time.... and Ian may not survive it :)

Barbara lays healing hands on dance-music artist eric Alan
DBB: Can't wait to see you on Sunday. We'll talk some more. Any shout-outs I can add to my piece?
BS: I would like to shout out to everybody in my promotion company. I am not going to single people out, because then I will leave somebody out and they will get upset I better give a shout out to my mother or she will kill me. I also want to always thank my vet Dr. Wyler at Trylon Vet Care,  and my best friend Karla Wallach. Without him I wouldn't be going to ICON because they take care of my cats. Also a special shout out to Priscilla Ragsdell. Look, Priscilla. You are now famous and I am doing all this to impress you. Ricky Clawson MJS and everybody loves Raum, Who is Chris Colby?, Joe Gillan send cat treats, Mike "Fa La La Jolly" I Love StoneBridge, Leigh Denyer stay away from sharks,and Mixgeselle..... just remember.  You will not be a part of any of this.

In all seriousness, a special mention to Julian Marsh, Leo Frappier, Ronnie Matthews, Kevin Unger, Gary Cannavo, you were there with me from the very beginning and stayed despite the craziness and didn't listen to the drama. 

In all further seriousness, thank you for all the people who believed in my vision of creating a family.... They believed that it should be about the MUSIC and supporting each other.  Not drama and high school games or 'cliques.'

I would also like to shout out to all the fans of the artists, DJ's and Record Labels within Sobel Nation. Without you, I wouldn't be here and neither would the artists. Keep listening and thanks for all the support!
The Sobel Nation Network Consists Of:

Sobel Promotions, The Sobel Nation Network of Radio Stations, Our City Radio (Dance Channels), Queens Our City Radio & Sobel Nation Records

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