The Local Spins series highlighting recordings that most influenced Michigan artists continues with a look at albums that shaped DJ SuperDre of Grand Rapids. Listen to tracks from all of her picks.
EDITOR’S NOTE: All musicians can trace their inspiration to key recordings that captivated them and influenced their careers. Writer Ross Boissoneau today showcases recordings that changed the world for Grand Rapids’ DJ SuperDre, aka Andrea Wallace. Scroll down for a Spotify playlist of her picks.
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Andrea “Dre” Wallace is a triple threat: A versatile musician, DJ and tech wiz. She started piano at age 4, graduated to school music programs, and continued studying music while in college. She also started spinning sounds on turntables and studying computers, combining those interests as a DJ.
She parlayed all her knowledge and experience into working in the corporate world, touring as a DJ and ultimately creating an online data aggregation platform for musicians that takes into account a musician’s social media, distribution and other online presences to give them insights and ideas for marketing purposes. She serves as CEO of Opnrmusic.com, which connects musicians with performance opportunities.
When she discusses her musical influences, it’s hard to get her to narrow it down. The references run from Hans Zimmer and Max Richter (“He’s a modern classical composer and does scoring for films too; I’ve always liked his stuff”) to house and techno performers like Carl Craig, Cashmere and Frankie Knuckles.
SuperDre will be part of the lineup for Local Spins Fest, celebrating Local Spins’ 10th Anniversary, on May 21 at the Studio Park piazza in downtown Grand Rapids. Other artists on the bill that day: Cabildo, Hannah Rose Graves, Full Cord, Public Access and The Accidentals. View the schedule and get tickets online here.
1. Prince, “Purple Rain” (1984) – I actually didn’t see the movie until I was in college, but my parents had this album on vinyl and cassette. I played it so much that I tore up the tape. For me as a kid, Prince was the perfect mix of pop, soul, R&B, hip hop, electronic, rock ‘n’ roll – literally almost everything. I think the song “Purple Rain” is one of the most beautiful songs, a true rock ballad.
Listen: “Purple Rain”
2. Lenny Kravitz, “5” (1998) – My first celebrity crush. But that aside, I just always loved how eclectic this album was because I had just started playing electric guitar and I just loved how it put together soul, rock ‘n’ roll and electronic all into one package. Also, he did the majority of the instruments HIMSELF on this album, which I just think is incredible.
3. J Dilla, “The Shining” (2006) – J Dilla is probably my all-time favorite producer. I’m definitely partial because he was from Detroit, but the sounds that he produced inspired most of the hip hop, R&B and electronic music that I loved from 2000-2007 and beyond really. The way he used samples in music was amazing. Looking at all three of these albums that influenced me, I think there’s one common theme: I tend to be most inspired by music that sort of combines a lot of different styles. J Dilla also really made me understand how vibey and powerful hip-hop beats can be just on their own, without lyrics. It changed the way I thought about song structure and blew up the rules a bit.
Listen: “Geek Down” (feat. Busta Rhymes)
Currently Loving: Kanye West, “Donda” (2021) – I’m generally a fan of Kanye’s music and have been since his first album. I list this one as the most interesting to me recently because I just really enjoyed listening to it over and over. Listening to an album someone made for a parent that passed away is what makes it such a great album. It sounds like an album dedicated to someone who was very loved, made by an incredibly complicated individual. Again, because I love mixing genres, I love the heavy use of synths from Mike Dean (who is amazing) along with Kanye’s Sunday Service choir. I don’t listen to a lot of gospel, but that choir is incredible. I also loved the voice clips from his mother throughout the album. It’s been the most interesting album that I’ve listened to in a while.
ALBUMS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: SuperDre’s Playlist on Spotify
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