My Grandfather on my mother's side of the family was in the Coast Guard during prohibition and was basically a "rum runner," delivering booze all along the Eastern Coast of the US. After prohibition, he started a legal liquor distribution company as well as his own brand of wine, beer and a soda company called Boller, which was popular in the New York and New Jersey area. Charlie Chaplin was said to be "addicted" to my grandfather's BlackCherry soda and would have cases flown out to his studios in Hollywood every month. I think because of that business my family was always in the party mood, I don't remember a weekend growing up where we weren't celebrating one thing or another; backyard BBQs, renting the local Knights Of Columbus hall for some dancing and good food, weddings, birthday parties--with such a large family it felt like it was a non stop party.
That's how you went into dance music?
My family LOVES to dance, music was always a big part of the festivities, and as far back as I can remember we always had the iconic New York radio DJ Cousin Brucie blasting on the radio during the family outings... That guy is still doing it, God bless 'em. If I had to name two people who influenced my musical tastes the most it would be DJ Cousin Brucie and the late great Frankie Crocker; they both featured soul and R&B music with great vocals and that has been a focus of mine my entire career.