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The Grand Collab: An Interview with Sandra Quinlan

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Photo by Sandra Quinlan

Perhaps you’ve heard of The Grand Collab. Perhaps you’ve been to Will’s Pub  in Orlando’s Mills 50 District on the last Sunday of the month. But do you really know what the Grand Collab is? We sat down with Sandra Quinlan, one of co-founders of this multi-genre explosion event to find out more about the greatest music showcase in Orlando that our readers might be missing.

The Loud Lifestyle: What is The Grand Collab?

Sandra Quinlan: The Grand Collab is a multi-genre showcase that my friend Chris Mendez (aka DJ Cub of the VLA) started back in November of 2014. The shows are held periodically (generally on a bimonthly basis, but sometimes at different intervals) at Will’s Pub and feature 5-6 musical acts. Local emcee Lauren ‘TKO’ Rohan is our awesome host and DJ Cub is our resident DJ. We also occasionally feature live visual art or the occasional vintage popup shop by Dayglo Diva.

TLL: How did you come up with this idea?

SQ: Cub came up with the name for the event and the concept was spawned following a show I put together featuring Cub’s former band Deaf 2 the Industry, Lake Worth punk band Everymen, and local hip hop trio Table for Three. That particular show was held at Uncle Lou’s and we were stoked that the varied bill was so well received by the audience as a whole. It was after that show that Cub and I decided we wanted to collaborate to form a showcase that would bring a variety of different musical genres to the table, and consequently a variety of different listeners to the audience.

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Art by Nico Suave, photo by Sandra Quinlan

TLL: Why do you love hip-hop?

SQ:  Given that both Cub and I are both big hip hop fans, we knew it was important to incorporate that into the Grand Collab on a very consistent basis. This is why we’ve made it a point to include at least one hip hop act per showcase. I love hip hop for a variety of reasons, but I feel the strongest reason is because it is both an empowering force and a communal one. As for it being empowering, hip hop has long provided a voice for those society might have otherwise tried to keep voiceless. Like with punk music, hip hop is the voice of the underdog. It has the power to teach, inspire, empower, or just make you dance. As for it being community oriented, hip hop is far more than just a musical genre- it is a culture that Afrika Bambaataa of the Zulu Nation is credited with breaking down into five different elements: DJing, Emceeing, Breaking (b-boy/girl culture), Graph Writing (graffiti artists) and Knowledge. I have a ton of respect for this culture and feel it’s important for the Grand Collab bill to feature hip hop artists who haven’t totally lost touch with this culture.

TLL: What is the best part of the Grand Collab?

My favorite part of the Grand Collab is its ability to tear down the invisible walls that tend to separate music lovers from good music because of the generally clique-y nature of most music scenes. Don’t get me wrong, these so-called clique-y music scenes are beautiful in their own light, as they often bring about this homey sense of belonging among likeminded audience members. I just think it’s important to expand your horizons and expose yourself to different types of music from time to time. In doing so, you can become more open minded and also experience the offerings of other types of music. What is the worst part of it? Honestly, I think the worst part of it is the fact that our show has always been held on a Sunday night. While I truly believe the Grand Collab is one of those Sunday night gems, if you will, convincing people that our showcase is more appealing than a lazy Sunday at home can be extremely tricky.

TLL: What’s your ultimate dream for it?

SQ: While the ultimate dream for the Grand Collab is something myself and Cub are still in the process of cultivating, my current dream for the Grand Collab is for more people to realize its potential and come out to the shows. As with any showcase, the Grand Collab could not exist without an audience. My dream is for the Grand Collab to be an event in which music lovers of all walks of life can connect over good music (and good drinks, of course).

The Dosti Music Project

in Business/Dance/Electronic/World/World by

Every spring, The Atlantic Center for the Arts ( Located in New Smyrna Beach) brings together ten applicant musicians from the United States, India, & Pakistan  to take part in The Dosti Music project! This fellowship  gives its participants the resources to spend a month creating hybrid music and going on tour together to share their unique cultural fusion sound.  The music  that results from fellows ranges from folk to hip-hop to traditional Pakistani instruments and old school Indian pop music and is recorded on a CD released each year!

The Dosti Music project is an initiative of the United States Embassy in Islamabad, and is produced by Found Sound Nation. It is now in its second year. The fellowship focuses on how music can build bridges and overcome  help fear of others different from you. It’s a novel concept: beat-making as diplomacy. This project is so cool because it puts people like Pakistani producer Bilal Khan in the same room with people like NOLA saxophonist Aurora Nealand and Indian singer and women’s empowerment advocate Mirande Shah.

We really encourage Orlando rappers to apply for the 2017 cycle in a few months! It’s a great opportunity that will connect you to
people and really help your game! What could be better than a blending of cultures to make crazy beats?

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