Musical Flexibility

Mike Cruz makes spirits soar on the dance floor

”Movin’ Up” may have a religious provenance with its powerful chorus delivered by a church-reared belter, but God had nothing to do with DJ Mike Cruz’s dance floor smash from seven years ago. The inspiration was much more secular and mundane: the small screen.

Cruz first worked on the song with lead vocalist Inaya Day and actress China Ro over dinner while the television played. ”We just started belting out lyrics to each other” — lyrics based on what they were seeing. The Jeffersons happened to be playing — complete with that ”de-luxe apartment in the sky” — and a moment was born.



Cruz

”After dinner we went to the studio and started arranging vocals, and it just came off the top of everyone’s head,” he says.

”Movin’ Up” became Cruz’s calling card, and it remains a staple in today’s clubland. ”From there, it started taking off,” Cruz explains. As a hit songwriting producer and a leading remixer of dance artists, from Day to Taylor Dayne to D.C. native Rachel Panay, Cruz is an increasingly globe-trotting DJ.

Cruz will make his debut in D.C. on March 1 to launch a weekly gay dance party, Flex at Platinum. ”You can expect to hear vocals, beats, tribal, electro, some funky stuff, he says. ”I kind of like to play a little bit of everything. Honestly, I think that has been some of my success.

”Yes, I produce a lot of diva vocals, but that’s not what I play all night long.”

The 33-year-old New York-based DJ of Puerto Rican and Italian descent listens to classic rock, salsa and reggaeton more often than dance music when he’s not working. Asked why, then, he only works with dance music, he just laughs and points out the obvious: ”Because you can dance to it!” Even at work? ”Yeah — I dance up in the booth and act a fool.”

Mike Cruz will spin next Thursday, March 1, at Platinum, 915 F St. NW. Doors open at 10 p.m. Cover is $15. Visit www.pureent.net/ or call 202-744-9089 for more information.


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Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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