Tony Moran Discusses his “Moodswings” With Kinkster MAG

Checking in with two-time Grammy nominated Tony Moran about his double-album "Moodswings", his successes, and nightlife.
Tony Moran, Music, iTunes, DJ, Interview
Photo Credit: James Franklin

Two-time Grammy nominated remixer, producer, singer-songwriter Tony Moran is one of the most well-known DJs in the house music genre, regularly playing to massive crowds at events throughout the world.

Photo Credit: James Franklin

In 1981 Tony began his career in Brooklyn with childhood friend Albert Cabrera as part of the production team called “The Latin Rascals.” Their re-edited versions of hit songs spliced together gained major airplay on New York City’s dance station WKTU bringing them much attention. Fever Records eventually contracted with Tony and Albert to write and produce a song for The Cover Girls which resulted in the song “Show Me.” This became Tony’s first Top 40 gold record and also helped to usher in the freestyle era of music that included artists like TKA, Sa-fire and Lisette Melendez.

Tony has worked with hundreds of talented artists throughout his career including many top dance and pop artists like Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Luther Vandross, Barry Manilow, Patti Labelle, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Neyo, Cher, and Kristine W. His two Grammy nominations were for his production of Gloria Estefan’s “Don’t Let This Moment End” and “Heaven’s What I Feel”. He has also produced some major indie dance club hits including “Put Your Hands Up”, “Cafe Con Alegria” and “The Promise”.

On one of his latest musical endeavors Tony brings us Moodswings, a two-volume album release of twenty-eight songs (fourteen original dance tracks and fourteen original pop, R&B and alternative songs). On one side is “Feel” a down-tempo set followed by “Move” the high-energy collection. This collection includes some of his favorite vocalists including Martha Wash, Jason Walker, and Kimberly Davis.

We had a chance to catch up with Tony recently during his travels to learn more about this double-album and his successes over the last three decades.

What interested you in a two-volume release and why did you choose the title Moodswings?

Good question. Projects like these evolve on their own. After writing and producing “Free People” for Martha Wash and watching it rise to #1 status on the the Billboard Dance Club chart, it lit a fire in me to get myself back into the “songwriting/ producing” mode again. That is what I’ve been doing all my life one single at a time, but an album requires focus…a theme…lots of time and personal financial investment.

As an independent music label it started off as a single album of new dance tracks for my fans, but as I became more immersed into collaborating with a field of artists that I adore, it grew into a storybook of music, feelings and different styles of how I communicate that. Two years later, I bear my soul and share my heart through this collection of songs that act as a reminder of why I write or produce and that I am not limited to expressing myself through one genre of music.

Producing twenty-eight songs with so many talented singers and musicians seems like a pretty ambitious endeavor. How did it all come together and how did you go about choosing all the talent featured on Moodswings?

I wanted to make sure that my devoted fans got what they wanted and each song on the MOVE part of this album gave you that. With many of the artists I wanted, I called them and our relationships, being so strong, even if they were on tour, we just got on calendars and if I had to wait three months then I did. The FEEL part of the album was the collaborative effort of my friends encouraging me to spread my wings and give the listener’s all of me.

Tony Moran, DJ, Music, iTunesOn Moodswings, you highlight Kimberly Davis who appears in six tracks and on both collections. What is it about Kimberly that we should know and how did you connect with her?

Kimberly is a special treat. She was introduced to me by a lyricist named Mike Greenly, who has now become a major collaborator of mine. I was remixing a single of hers called, “You’re Good For Me” and after experiencing that voice and her commitment to her craft, I knew I needed this woman for my album. It was similar to when I met Jason Walker who also expanded my horizons to explore content with a male vocalist.

In a recent press release for Moodswings, there was mention of your “collaboration bubble.” Tell us more about what that is, how it works, and who’s in the bubble?

People I trust. People who stand by their word and give it 100%. Regardless of whether I am involved or not. There are so many of us out there. 75% is not enough for those who think they are contributing. Next.

Given this is Kinkster MAG, we can’t help but be turned on to the track “Lick Me Up.” Very hot! We understand this is your first production collaboration with global DJ, Dani Toro as well as your new label partner on this project, Swishcraft Music. What more can we expect from these collaborations?

Well, I wrote the song and all the lyrics on my own, but I love Dani Toro’s spirit and his passion for music. Dani helped me fine tune this track to make it better and I am glad you guys like it.

You’re from New York City and have lots of roots here. How has being in and from the city influenced you, your work, and your artistic goals?

When you live in NYC, everybody has dreams. So many of us are struggling to get our voices heard, whether through music, acting, movie making, dancing…we’re all forced to step up our game. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by so much passion all of my life.

Tony Moran, DJ, Music, iTunesHow have you seen Dance, Club, and House Music change over the years?

Styles may change, but the reason art continues to inspire is because part of us is in that art. Art evolves as do we.

What about the club scene? Several on the Kinkster MAG team came of age in NYC during the 90s with some of the big weekly club parties having a single DJ headline each week. What’s your take on the state of club life or night life?

It’s a difficult question to answer. Some DJ’s work hard to create special live moments. Others play music on iTunes and Beatport. I guess, at the end of the day, it does not matter what’s better as long as the goal – to make people feel good – is the same.

You have been a consistently positive name in the music industry, and you’ve worked with a lot of the big names. To what do you attribute your staying power and successes?

Being comfortable in my own skin. If the people I work with believe in my talent, then I am a lucky guy.

What have been the most encouraging words anyone has ever given you?

Find yourself in your music and don’t be afraid to express it.

What else is lined up for 2017?

Big gigs, big songs and great collaborators.

And now for our signature question, we like to ask all our interviewees, “What is something you have done that may be considered edgy, unconventional, or tight-lipped?”

Producing CHER. Everything about it was provocative.


FIND TONY MORAN:

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | ITunes: Moodswings (Move) | Moodswings (Feel)


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Co-owner & VP of Operations, John is a thinker and a doer. He’s a whiz at working through policies and procedures but loves taking time to explore the urban environment in which he lives and calls home. He also appreciates getting his fancy tickled.

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