Andre Power on Creating a Global Community Fueled By Good Music and Good Wine [Q&A]
Photo: Mikey Avila
Co-founding the world phenomena Soulection and masterminding the renowned global event series 'LINK UP,' Andre Power is a culture curator. With his eye for fashion, music, and natural wine, he’s been able to facilitate ecosystems of liberation, connection, and sacred community.
Having grown up in Philly, a city famed with the meat of good music and little promise of upward mobility, it’s a true miracle to see Power claim the life that he has. Traveling across continents, he’s captivated audiences in the darkest crevices of cities that speak a different tongue but pulse to music’s feeling all the same.
From gaining the attention of platforms like HYPEBEAST and Billboard to crafting mixes for esteemed brands and platforms, it’s impossible to enter Power’s orbit while holding onto any ounce of your inhibition, because the conversation he has from turntable to body is unspoken and otherworldly.
Ahead of the birthday edition of his 'LINK UP' series, we caught up with the artist to talk music, Philly, and what it truly takes to build a global life of love and liberation.
Ones To Watch: You’re a very intuitive DJ; you connect with the people in the room in a way that makes us feel like we’re participating in the set. What’s the secret to mastering that skill?
Andre Power: I’m just a big fan of music. People can have their own specific taste and think their taste is better than someone else, but as a DJ, you have to work extra hard at both educating and entertaining your partygoer. Because I’m a fan of music and my peers, I’m constantly going out and supporting other DJs, seeing what they’re doing and how they’re interacting, what they’re doing right and wrong. I’m a student at the end of the day and I’ll forever be a student. It’s really all about putting in the extra work and separating yourself.
What is your take on the way streaming has affected people’s relationships with music? As someone who comes from the age of LimeWire and having to earn those deep cuts, algorithms throwing music at you seems so unromantic.
Not even just with streaming music, but even shows and films, I think sometimes it’s too overwhelming. We have way too much access at our fingertips. Like you said, things become less sacred. I have so many songs in my head of so many genres at any given moment, that I just get so overwhelmed and I end up listening to the same thing I’ve always listened to. Because we have so much access, it kind of makes things a bit more temporary. Like cool, this is fun, what’s next?
I relate to defaulting to my comfort albums very deeply. Do you know what song or album ignited your passion for music?
I’m from Philly originally, so a lot of my background influences are Philly artists. There was a lot of Patty LaBelle growing up, Maze & Frankie Beverly, my parents were super tapped into the Philly soul scene. And that’s funny because whenever I play “Before I Let Go,” everyone comes alive. Those songs mean so much to me and being able to tap back into my childhood while DJing and watching the crowd do the electric slide is a crazy, full circle experience.
With your 'LINK UP' series going global, is there a common thread you’ve seen no matter what city or country you’re in that will make a crowd go crazy?
You know what’s wild? It’s 2000s hip hop and R&B. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am. That was my prime time, so all of those songs I probably had on physical CD. Obviously all the songs are great, you’ve got icons like Usher and Ciara, Missy Elliot, but I don’t know what it is.
Do you think it’s the nostalgic element to it or the music itself?
I think it’s the music honestly. The producers back then were tapping into something spiritual. That era of style and fashion, I can be in Russia, Germany, or China, those songs will translate so well. That’s always my go-to.
Between co-founding Soulection and hosting these 'LINK UP' events, what importance does community hold in your purpose?
I started hosting these events towards the end of the pandemic when people felt disconnected from one another. Knowing that music is what brings people together, I started 'LINK UP' in 2021. Natural wine, good food, good music, good vibes, I just wanted to create a space for people to connect with each other again. As months went on, the event became a reflection of who I am. I’m an artist, a creative, I love fashion, good food, good wine, people. It’s now this inclusive safe space for LGBTQ+, people who want to dress how they want and be themselves. People don’t dance as much in these major cities, but the way I’ve curated DJs, you can’t help it. When we started Soulection in 2011 we had no idea it’d be this global movement and it’s been the same with 'LINK UP,' something that came from the heart and is now growing on its own.
Have you ever been surprised by how open or responsive an unsuspecting city was?
It’s always in Asia, but specifically China. There’s this town in China called Guangzhou that has a bubbling nightlife scene. I had no idea they knew me or Soulection, or partied that hard or dressed that well. It makes me curious about the countries that have these small pockets of nightlife, music, and style that we don’t know about.
Lastly, what do you think your inner child feels about your life right now?
My inner child is so proud. Coming from where I’m from and the people I’ve grown up with, I’m not supposed to be here. A lot of my people live a certain life they’re okay with, they’re in the streets, or they’ve passed. Or maybe they got in trouble and can’t travel or leave the country. Once I left, I felt like I made it. Everything else is a bonus. My dream has come true and I’m insanely grateful. You really owe it to yourself to dream bigger.