Born in Passaic, New Jersey with New York City in his sightline, Sin Morera took advantage of his proximity by sneaking, at the age of 13, into Manhattan and hanging out at clubs like The Building, Mars, Red Zone, Disco 2000 and the original Sound Factory on West 27th Street. A self-made man, Sin is the driving force behind his own success. He is a song writer, producer, re-mixer and an international DJ that has spun in well known venues is major cities such as: New York City, Miami, Chicago, Montreal, Beijing, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok, Rome, and Vienna. He entered the studio, writing, producing and arranging records under several labels including Sony, Universal, Warner, Virgin Records and BMG Entertainment. He signed his world-wide music publishing deal with one of the most powerful music companies in the world. Warner/Chappell Music, where he was working directly with Patrick Conseil (VP of the International and Creative division), Rick Shoemaker (then the Senior Vice President, Creative) and Les Bider (Chairman and CEO Warner/Chappell to develop his talents and increase his catalogue.
Morera was also co-writer on projects such as “Kiss All The Bullies Goodbye” featuring Taylor Dayne and produced by world renown DJ and Producer Paul Oakenfold, and the record “Watching You” for budding artist Christina that achieved Gold Record status in Europe. Of his many accomplishments Sin is proudest of his connection to the Lifeball. Being pulled in personally by Gery Keszler, CEO and Founder of the Lifeball Organization, which creates one of the largest AIDS charity events in the world, the Ball’s goal is to raise donations for important AIDs projects, bring awareness and fight against the taboo status of HIV/AIDS in our society. It is a cause that is very close to his heart. Each year, the LifeBall attracts tens of thousands of visitors as well as 500 National and International media representatives to Vienne’s City Hall Square, where everybody can experience the 2-hour show live and for free. Not allowing this serious background to be forgotten, thought-provoking moments during the Opening Ceremony at the City Hall Square and moving speeches by international AIDS activists make for the necessary awareness raising. President Bill Clinton, Sir Elton John, Sharon Stone, Milla Jovovich, Whoopi Goldberg, Brooke Shields, Linda Evangelista, Eva Longoria, Catherine Deneuve, Janet Jackson, Liza Minelli, Ricky Martin, Katy Perry, Natalia Kills, Adam Lambert, Anastacia, Kylie Minoque and Conchita Wurst are but a small portion of notable personalities that were in attendance.
Sin’s body of work includes: remix of Mariah Carey’s “Fly Like a Bird“, remix of “Out Tonight” (performed by artist Karmine Alers “Mimi”) from Broadway’s hit musical Rent, Madonna’s “Give it to Me” ( Warner Music ), Sin Morera “Heartbeat” ( Nervous Records ), ‘Generation Next‘ album for Tommy Boy Records (for Junior Vasquez), titled track “Whispered Prayer” (performed and produced by Sin Morera), Sony/Atv Writing Partner, Roger Sanchez Guest Mix: ‘ “Release Yourself” Sin Morera‘ and many more.
Hello and welcome to House of Frankie, Underground Radio in Milan, Italy. I’m here with producer, re-mixer and DJ Sin Morera. Hi, how are you Sin? Nice to have you here in Milan.
Hi, I’m actually doing very, very well!
Nice to have you here!
Our digital platform, House of Frankie, was born as a project dedicated to Frankie Knuckles, and more in general, as a tribute to house music. I know that you used to hang out at clubs like Red Zone and the Sound Factory Bar in NYC where Frankie used to have DJ Sets. Do you have any memory of him you want to share with us?
Wow, how do you know this? I started out actually going to a couple of clubs… but first of all, I was kinda figuring out what was going on in my personal life. You know, music was always a vessel for me, it was “escape my problems back at home”. So, Red Zone was one of the first nightclubs that I stepped foot (in) but I remember there was one night with Frankie Knuckles. Back then I didn’t know Frankie. He and David Morales were DJing and I was not dressed properly, so they didn’t let me in the club and I was a little disappointed about that. But other clubs like in NYC you have Mars, Red Zone, Sound Factory Bar. Then, there was a DJ prior to Frankie who is also a friend of mine called Junior Vasquez. He opened up the club with Christina Visca at that time which is like I think 1989 and then Junior left and they brought Frankie into the Sound Factory and I think that’s when I kinda started. You know, it must have been like 1989-1990, around that time, between Junior and Frankie. So, yeah, it was an experience, but again like I said I didn’t get to meet Frankie until 1990-1991. Early 1991 is when finally, I decided that I wanted to go to Sound Factory Bar, because you know also back then we would have vinyl, and nowadays we don’t have vinyl anymore and it’s kinda sad because you know there’s always like a team of people that are part of the project. Back then you were able to pick up the vinyl and you were able to read, you know, who did post-production, who wrote the song, who remixed the record, the engineer, whatever! So, when you pick up a piece of vinyl you read all the names and that’s how I was educated! Because, at a very young age my grandmother who raised me, she bought me my first Madonna record, so I would just kinda look through who wrote the song, produced it and then I guess it must just have been, it was organic for me, because I just thought to myself: “I love this music, I need to meet these people” and it just kinda became a domino effect. After the pop era in my life, I realised, because I grew up in a very bad neighbourhood and we couldn’t afford stuff so, I kinda like branched out and I started going out to nightclubs and then to make a long story short I don’t know how I ended up at Sound Factory Bar, because I fell in love with one of my favourite Frankie Knuckles’ records which is “Tears” and I think with Robert Owens since that if I am not mistaken. And I just fell in love with that kinda music and you know I’m in the dj booth and I don’t know it just kinda happened organically, I didn’t even try, you know I was this young skinny guy, I was 140 pounds and I remember Frankie’s brother, his name is Jeffrey, – God rest his soul – he passed away. Jeffrey was very, very different of mine, but Frankie, because I grew up in the street, Queens, Brooklyn and Jersey, he would always give me advice, he became like my father, he would always say to me: “You need to calm down” ‘cause I really had a bad temper, so he named me “the little knucklehead” so Frankie Knuckles, knucklehead, because knucklehead in America is like “being stubborn”, not listening to when people give you advice. So, Frankie definitely was like my dad.
Sin, you had the privilege of being influenced by and working with some of the greatest collaborators, like Tony Shimkin, Toby Gad, Peter Zizzo. You have also remixed Mariah Carey and Madonna too. So, of course I have to ask you what’s your favourite collaboration you have ever made?
That’s a tough question, I mean I have worked with some many amazing songwriters in my life and I don’t know… I mean I can probably name three of the top of my head. Toby Gad, and I’ll just explain this to the public, he is right now one of the biggest songwriters in the world, I mean he did that like 9 songs on the ‘Rebel Heart‘ album from Madonna and the list goes on and on and on. You know, he has won many awards as a Grammy songwriter and him and I got to work together in the studio so that was very pleasant for me. Again, a young little guy who grew up in what we called “the hood” and it just kinda fell into place. I don’t know, sometimes I’m just grateful, because I was very lucky and I was at the right place at the right time. So, Toby Gad is one and then Jimmy Grieco who wrote for Jennifer Lopez and Santana. So, the point I’m trying to make is that I worked with like the house legends but then I have also got to work with people who work with Santana, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna. The other guy is Shep Pettibone, he wrote “Vogue“, he did “Erotica“. And I just have a very cool relationship with these guys even today, 20 years later, because when I came out I was 14 and going to Red Zone, going to The Building, you know, all these clubs in NYC, the Sound Factory Bar, listening to Little Louie Vega, Tony Humphries in New Jersey at Zanzibar (so as you see), you know, I grew up with house music.
Tomorrow, you will perform here in Milan, one of the Italian city that is becoming really preeminent in the underground scene. What’s your relation with Italy and what do you know about the European underground music scene and about the Italian one? Is this your first time here?
Well, I’ve been actually travelling Europe for a while, but when I was coming to Europe years ago I was not a DJ, because the way I broke into the music industry was “I’m a songwriter“, somewhere, somehow along the line I was discovered by a gentleman named Patrick Conseil and John and he was the president of Warner/Chappell Music, which is the publish emissary of Warner [VP of the International and Creative division]. That it just kinda led, there was a snowball, a domino effect and from there I just started meeting people, you know, you just kinda take different avenues after a while. So… did I answer your question? (laughing).
I also know you are very close to the LGBT music scene, their community and clubs. The LGBT community has been really growing, becoming more and more important. So, could you tell us your opinion about the evolving role of the LGBT community in the underground scene?
Sure! Pretty simple, because I was part of that… I mean, they’re gonna love me for saying this but the House of Extravaganza… so the way I was kinda embodying it… was also thanks to Frankie. Then I just started going to Sound Factory and then Junior Vasquez and you know, to me, I listen to my eyes, my opinion, Junior Vasquez he was a legend as well and he gave me the opportunity to meet Madonna, and just kinda worked with all these wonderful people… I mean I haven’t worked with Madonna but I get to remixed her and just meet Prince, George Michael, so, again, I can’t stress enough how grateful I am that they let me in their little circle, because at the end of the day their circle was very, very tide and very, very small. So, going back to the LGBT community, you have the voguing crew, so you have like a corner and in that corner you have the voguing guys, they are voguing and staff, so Madonna would come in to the Sound Factory and she would sit in a really I don’t know how to explain, but Sound factory was like a block, so, Madonna would sit here in the speaker and that was actually the first time I got to meet here. It was my birthday and then I went to say hello to Junior and she was looking for dancers, so Junior always said: “You have that look” and I don’t know what that means, “the look”, so “you have that look” and then he said to me: “Do me a favour” and he didn’t say who he was. He said: “Do me a favour, go downstairs, there’s two girls, introduce yourself” and I’m like: “I don’t wanna introduce myself to these girls! I wanna go dance, I don’t care who these people are, I wanna go dance!” I was young and he said: “Do me the favour, go and introduce yourself“. So, what do I do? I go downstairs, angry, and then I look up and who’s sitting in the speaker? Is Madonna. So, I introduce myself and she was with her friend, a Japanese girl, at the time, and I told them Junior Vasquez told me to introduce myself to you and she jumped off the speaker and we danced for like 2 hours.
Yeah! That was my first Madonna experience. So, it was pretty cool. So, the LGBT community plays a huge role to answer your question, it plays a huge role in house music. You know, I can’t sit here and point out who’s gay and who’s not but apparently you know the majority of the legends were gay and they also helped me kind of come out of my shell. And I’m pretty open about that to the world, because not everyone has to wear a lipstick to be gay. So, I applaud the Frankies of the world, the Juniors of the world they were just talented, strong individuals. I’m just the little guy, I’m just trying to keep the legacy going. I just wanna say also, this is off the record, but Luca, your partner, Alessandro, thank you for having me here, it’s really nice and refreshing to know that these guys… I mean if you guys see where I am at, I mean this is beautiful and this is like educate the people about where house music comes from, because this is what this is about is labour of love, and a lot of people also know that there’s not a lot of money in dance music. We need to find sponsors and we need to help each other, we need to stick together, that’s very important, so I just wanna say thank you to these guys, the House of Frankie, you guys are amazing. I’m actually flattered that you guys emailed-me, the little guy.
You’re too kind!
But you know, in the name of Frankie, he definitely was my dad, he was like my father. I would call him crying and he just say: “Go have a drink!“. We had a really beautiful relationship, Frankie and I.
You attended ADE too last week. What do you think of this edition? What’s you relation with this famous electronic music festival?
To be quite honest, this is my second ADE. Last year, I felt I just wanna to invest, invest in me and I thought to myself: you know what? I work hard and this is the perfect opportunity for me to kinda branched out and show my brand to the world. ADE is a very powerful tool and I’ve met many, many people. This year was kind of interesting because when I went I saw half of NYC which of course I love, you know, they’re my family, but also as a businessman I feel like my family, I see them (like) home and the music industry is very broad, so this year my strategy was a little bit more different, I felt like I needed to attend an EDM concert and do a little bit of homework of what EDM is today. Because I just feel like underground house music is coming back strong and I’m so excited about that, because it did kind of die for a little bit so, to have you guys be part of something so special… listen, I’m looking at these pictures, I think everyone is grateful. I know I’m very grateful that you guys have me here, so, again, thank you for having me.
What equipment do you use during your live performances?
I’m pretty simple, I grew up with vinyl, so again, going back to what I was saying earlier, vinyl was just tangible, I would pick it up and say: “it’s written by, produced by, engineered by”. And now when you go to Beatport or when you go to Traxsource or when you get promos, those guys that helped produced the record, there’s no credit for them anymore. So, I thinks that’s a little unfair in a lot of ways but I mean who am I, it’s just my opinion, it would be nice to know that Joey who also engineered Madonna, Dennis Mitchell, these are all the other names people don’t really know who they are because the music industry has changed. That’s also one of the thing I spoke about ADE this year was about the music industry in the 21st century. Because, at the end of the day it’s like we need to eat, you know, you wanna keep this beautiful office and I’m hypothetically speaking, you wanna open up an office like this in NYC and have a satellite office and maybe I’ll work there? (laugh). No, but I mean, it’s special. So, this is pretty amazing, pretty powerful, because you guys wanna keep the legacy going and educate people. I was telling Luca on the way here about educating people on where House music’s roots come from, Chicago, NYC, Detroit, Philadelphia. So yeah, that’s great.
So, last question: What else have you got coming up? Your next projects?
I’m working on two different projects and they are both actually pretty much black and white. My heart is with Pop/RnB (or R&B) music, that’s how I started, how I got signed with Mariah Carey when she had her label called Crave and she was married to Tommy Mottola and then when they heard my vocal and my song writing skills, they always compared me to George Michael. People when I explain that, they say to me: “But you have such a heavy voice, how do you sound like George Michael?” But I don’t know. Mariah discovered me and they signed me but then, unfortunately, Tommy Mottola and Mariah Carey had a divorce and then the label had to go under so, they dropped me. What am I working on? I’m working on artist called Nico Derenzi, he is a pop act, urban and I’ve just signed a huge EP deal with Roger Sanchez, so, I’m working with Roger, I’m in talks with Todd Terry and a lot of the guys, Federico Scavo as well, so my direction has actually changed, I think, for the best, the better. So, that’s what I’m working on and I’m focusing on the Roger Sanchez EP.
Thank you so much Sin, hope to see you soon!
Yeah, thank you guys for having me! Very much! HOF I love you! Frankie Knuckles in da house!
Watch Sin Morera’s live DJ set from our HQ below!
Sin Morera’s latest releases