2009 8th St. N.W.
11 p.m.-4 a.m.
$20 ($70 for Cherry weekend pass)
Music lovers in D.C. are already familiar with the Cherry Fund’s annual charity dance and music event, which since its inception in 1997 has raised more than $988,000 in support of efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
Each year, Cherry brings in top international DJs and premier parties to Washington venues and this year is no exception with top-notch spinners such as DJ Eddie Elias, DJ Joe Gauthreaux, DJ Alain Jackinsky and DJ Mike Reimer lending their talents.
“Last year’s Cherry had 125 attending the afterhours event at Tropicalia, which for 7 a.m. in Washington is pretty remarkable,” says James Decker, a board member with the Cherry Fund. “This year we expect 200-plus. We’ve already sold 120 advance passes, which is more than double last year.”
The Cherry committee also expects a huge turnout for its main event at Town, scheduled from 9 p.m.-4 a.m. on Saturday which will feature DJ Paulo mixing it up for a night being billed as “Emergence,” and featuring the Tribal Bitch and DJ Twin.
“I’ve spun for Cherry before, plus I grew up in Bethesda, so D.C. has a special place for me,” DJ Paulo, who’s gay, says. “People can expect an energetic set with lots of new productions and vocals.”
Originally from Portugal, DJ Paulo knew early on that he wanted to spin music for a living and started playing small clubs and gaining a name for himself.
“I was living in Los Angeles and noticed promoters were only bringing DJs from New York (i.e. Peter Rauhofer, Victor Calderone) and all the DJs in Los Angeles had a ‘lighter’ sound,” he says. “So I started a small residency in the middle of West Hollywood on Fridays at Rage called ‘Stereo.’ People caught on to my sound and things evolved from there.”
The weekly residency was a good way for DJ Paulo to test out his sound and from there, he earned a residency at Spin, a popular afterhours club where Avalon in Hollywood now resides.
Over the years, he’s headlined at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious parties, including Black and Blue Montreal, New York’s Saint at Large Black Party, Fire Island’s Pines Party and Dancing on the Bay, Orlando’s Gay Days and Taiwan’s Ministry of Sound.
His spins are responsible for a slew of remixes of tracks that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts, including songs by Christina Aguilera, Inaya Day, Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and pretty much everyone else worth getting on a podium for.
Success didn’t come without lots of hard work and some hiccups along the way. The one thing that has always frustrated DJ Paulo was when people would hear just one single podcast and judge his sound based on just one set.
“More than anything, whether it’s a peak time event or an afterhours, I cater to the party — even a beach tea dance I can play,” he says. “I always stay true to my sound, it just varies according to the event.”
He is co-founder of Pure Music Productions and has built one of the hottest independent record labels, providing top-10 progressive tracks on Beatport and various digital download sites.
It’s a life that DJ Paulo wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Music, he says, has more power than some people will admit.
“Making people feel good through music is one of the best rewards of being a DJ,” he says. “Then there’s the traveling to all these amazing places. Just two weeks ago I was in Tel Aviv and got to visit Jerusalem. Meeting so many amazing people is a real treat.”
His production and style is very important to him. When someone goes to an event, he believes the sound should be distinctive so you know you’re hearing a particular DJ.
“I’m always continuing developing my sound. I try to stay current with new artists and introduce people to new music,” he says. “I see a real trend and club life looks like it’s coming back (especially in New York). I think the best is yet to come.”