2 Minutes With … Ali Coleman, DJ, Party Organizer, Promoter

On how music connects everyone

Ali is a veteran DJ, party organizer, promoter, host and nightlife advocate, best known for his long-running Voice of Voice NYC and Family Dance Brooklyn events. He's been a DJ for 45 years, and 2024 marks 30 years of Ali bringing communities together through dance, culture, music, art and inclusion. 

He has hosted events and DJed at some of New York's top clubs and party spaces such as House of Yes, Nowadays, Cielo, Public Records, Club Shelter, Water Taxi Beach, Santos Party House and Limelight.

As an NYC nightlife advocate, Ali helped organize and bring about historic change in 2017, working with an array of the city's creative minds to get the controversial Cabaret Law repealed and institute the first Mayor's Office of Nightlife.

We spent two minutes with Ali to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Ali, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in the Weequahic Section (South Ward) of Newark, N.J., and now I live in Brooklyn.

Your earliest musical memory.

Singing a solo in front of the church congregation when I was 5 years old.  

Your favorite bands/musicians today.

Louie Vega and his Elements of Life band.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on.

My "105th & Amsterdam" track is at the top alongside my work with Dance Parade, an organization that promotes 100+ unique styles of dance. The original track turned out okay, but then Tom Glide helped me take it to another level. About five years after releasing it, "105th & Amsterdam" took on another life with remixes from Max K, Sakaki Nakamura, Bradford James, 12Shades, Tom Glide and me. 

A recent project you're proud of.

My new track "Change Gonna Come, Long As I Got You" pays tribute to grand-master Sam Cooke and Love Committee. I am a child of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. It's in my DNA to stand for justice and equality. Mr. Cooke's "Love Energy" endures and remains a powerful and poignant anthem for social change. 

One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.

How technology is making the creation and sharing of music more accessible for everyone. I believe we are all connected to the universal vibrations—and music is one of the ways we stay connected. 

Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.

Clubhouse Jamboree producer liL Ray! He's been a cornerstone of NYC House music culture for over 30 years. His annual Clubhouse Jamboree is the longest running outdoor event of its kind in New York.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

My daughter Nyesha's book Unmasking the Covered Me. I especially like the chapter about our journey. It's a very inspiring read.

An artist you admire outside the world of music.

Dave Chappelle for his truth-telling through laughter. 

Your favorite fictional character.

Spiderman aka Peter Parker aka New Yorker.

Someone worth following on social media.

Natasha DiggsSoul In the HornL3NI

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

I have a BIG Imagination.

Your biggest weakness.

Perhaps I under-sell myself sometimes. There are times I could demand more for my services. I try to be fair and reasonable when working with people. 

One thing that always makes you happy.

When I celebrate being happy "just because" from the moment I open my eyes. Today is a gift, so I accept it with a most affable heart.  

One thing that always makes you sad.

The state of some humans and their un-evolved ways of interacting with other humans makes me sad. Instead of staying in sadness, my way is to effect change. 

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.

I have no idea. Before I was a DJ at age 13, all I wanted to do was be a singer. I've been a taxi driver, a factory worker, a foot messenger, a direct marketer, an international mover, to name a few … I could be doing anything. I'm truly honored and extremely appreciative to be able to share this life through music.  

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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