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A&R: This “HOUSE” Was Built Beat By Beat

An interview with the legendary innovator, DJ Tee Alford

By Haikeem Stokes

With this uncharacteristically and surprisingly warm weather, and an easy ride along I-95; I’ve reached my Upper Marlboro County destination, Olde Towne Inn, 14745 Main Street, Upper Marlboro, MD. Today, I am meeting with a pioneer of the Philadelphia “House” music scene, the one and only, DJ Tee Alford. In the mid-80s, this Newark, N.J. native, gifted Philadelphia an extraordinary genre that has been eternally giving. This music aficionado championed in an era that, liken to hip-hop, was supposed to be simply a passing phase. Thanks to past and present torch carriers it’s still very much alive. After exchanging pleasantries and ordering appetizers our interview begins.


What initially brought you to Philadelphia?

Ultimately, it was where I chose to attend college. After thoroughly evaluating my acceptance letters, one of Philadelphia’s local universities won me over because of its extensive Electrical Engineering program. I felt as though it would set me on the path that I wanted to follow. I had no idea that campus life would propel me into something that eventually became a worldwide phenomenon.


What made you pledge to Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated?

Prior to attending college, several friends of mine that graduated ahead of me joined and they all were very intelligent, thorough, industrious individuals so Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated definitely piqued my interest. Once attending college, I noticed the incredible community work and positive initiatives they were involved in as well as the active alumni that greatly attributed to these efforts worldwide.


WURD-FPRADIOLiveShow_042122 | Tee Alford | Listen on hearthis.at

Tune into Philadelphia’s WURD 96.1 FM Saturday’s midnight- 2 a.m. FunkyPeopleRadio.Net


What sparked your interest in becoming a DJ?


Sitting in my room alone or kicking it on the front steps with my friends as a pre-adolescent, listening to the who’s who of DJs that spun on New York’s popular radio during the late 70s and early 80s. I became enthralled immediately. That was when pure singers, live bands, and musicianship took center stage. I believe that was one of the greatest eras of music. College radio throughout New Jersey and New York thrived as well. That was where I’d hear those classic B-side gems that didn’t make it to mainstream. Before long, I began experimenting with equipment and various techniques which lead to my father buying me two turntables plus a mixer. Once he did that, I was literally off to the races with what was initially referred to as Dance/ Club music. By the time I graduated high school, I was well seasoned from continuing to listen to the greats of that day on the radio and doing various parties. In my first semester of college, I was very frustrated on campus because I no longer had direct access to my music source. Since the local radio wasn’t playing what I was used to hearing on the weekends, I was forced to go home every weekend. That became extremely taxing, so I eventually brought my equipment on campus and hosted listening parties in my room for the few that shared an affinity for this type of music. Before long, more and more students became intrigued and we wound up taking over the common area at the end of the hall. Once we outgrew that, I began spinning at a few small venues on campus. By the end of my second semester, I had an idea to utilize one of the university’s larger halls and that became a constant staple, so to speak.


Read the full article in this month's issue of Intellectual Ink Magazine: April 2022 - Kindle edition by Grace, Allison, Young Foye, Charlotte, Stokes, Haikeem. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Follow Haikeem https://www.facebook.com/haikeem.stokes Follow DJ Tee Alford https://www.facebook.com/tee.alford.9

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Is it a love letter written by the heart, shared only with the mind?


Or possibly, a soulful ballad sung by a tap dancing tongue?


Maybe a tearful inquiry with a resounding response?


Quite frankly, a sonic whisper comparable only to the wind.


Sight unseen still undeniably felt.


The journey awaits.