N.A.B.: Are you a native New Yorker?
Dee Vasquez: Absolutely I pride myself on being a native New Yorker from Queens NY born and raised. That’s where I grew up I want to stay here, lol. I’m disgustingly proud, there are a lot of people that come out here to New York and have been here for like 10 to 12 years, and there like I’m a New Yorker. I’m like no your actually not. I can’t understand why people would want to take this place up as there own. But just recently Lena Horne pasted away. She was a great artist and a great woman. I’ve learned that she was born and raised in NY from Brooklyn. And she really created her career right here in NY. I’ve always said that was my dream, I’ve been asked to move to LA, Orlando and MIAMI to pursue my career. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to do it here at home. I don’t want to leave. I want to make it right now here where I live. Because you don’t make it any where else, you make it here. People go out to different states and different cities and they build there rep, build there careers and gain that creditability else where and then they have to come to NY to get that co signed that stamp of approval. I want to get all that right here at home; there is no need for me to leave. This is where it is, this is where it all starts and this is where it all ends. To think about Lena Horne and her lifestyle and what she has accomplished at home. That’s exactly what I’m aiming for. So definitely a NY veteran and yes I’m disgustingly proud.
N.A.B.: Tell me a story about growing up in queens?
Dee Vasquez: I lived in different parts of Queens. What I can really remember is growing up in Richmond Queens. It was no joke in the early 90’s. I was born in 83 so growing up in the early 90’s is really where I really got to see and understand different things. I remember my mother saying “Don’t go outside” “You don’t go outside”. In the early 90’s going to school, hanging outside with friends going to the park and roaming the streets during the day, we realized we didn’t live in the nice part of town. We learn that early. We lived in the same neighborhood that the drug dealers and the crack-heads (the drug abusers) lived. But we also found a way of gravitating and living. We knew that’s the block you really don’t visit, these are the people you really don’t speak to, and you must observe. It was a wake up call for a lot of kids. If a kid was getting into trouble and he was going to school and he was partaking in illegal activities. You looked at him like your no good because you know exactly how there going to turn out. We saw the drug abuser or drug dealer on the corner. And you told yourself that’s how you’re going to end up. It was a great lesson that smacked you in the face everyday. Then later on we moved to Astoria Projects. That was definitely something else for me, because before we lived in a house then we move to an apartment and then we went to the projects. It was like, what is this? That’s when I found out what the housing apartments represented and what housing was created for. I learned that just because you might live in a project, you are not defined by the projects. Growing up in the projects you learned about project rivalry. I never understood that. These are just some of the things I went through growing up in this part of town. It is what it is and you learn to survive. But I do recall having a sense of community. In high school if I was coming home late and a neighbor saw me walking alone he’d walk me home to ensure I got home okay. We didn’t have to know each other’s name we knew each others face because we lived in the same neighborhood. Sometimes it would be a group of 5 and they were all respectful, not trying to kick game. It was, she’s living in our hood she’s part of us now and were making sure you get home okay. You can always respect some one looking out for the peer, so I loved that and will remember that. It was definite a harsh reality growing up in Queens.
N.A.B.: Are you a Hip Hop Fan and do you appreciate other genres of music?
Dee Vasquez: First and fore most I am a hip hop fan. That’s the reason I represent Hip Hop today. I do love other genres of music. I’m Puerto Rican and Dominican, so Salsa meringue, bachata and all that. Growing up I was a huge fan of freestyle music, pop music, rock music and Kirk Cobain when he came out.
N.A.B.: How did you get involved in broadcasting?
Dee Vasquez: Will I dove in head first. I always had a vision of having my own talk show. Growing up so many people had such a bad interpretation of hip hop. I wanted to show people the positive images of hip hop and that the music and culture does influence people to progress. I’ve always felt that hip hop influenced me in a positive way. I wanted to be able to show people a different side of hip hop, the good Hip Hop can do. After graduating from high School I started inquiring and I found out about Back-Stage Magazine and the Village Voice and got into auditing for anything and everything. After two yrs of auditing I received my first return call from Video City. And them my career kind of took of from there.
N.A.B.: Is the there a major difference when your on the air on Hot 97 hosting then when your on Fuse TV or even at a night club. Is there a science behind it?
Dee Vasquez: Oh wow there is. That is a really good question .I love doing live events. I love it, I Love it. I feel like I’m at my greatest as a far as exuding that energy that I have. Naturally I am a high energy person, so it reflects great when I’m on stage. On TV it’s about taking that energy and taking it back and rather releasing it little by little. You don’t want to release it to early on television, so that’s the science there. I speak quickly, I do things quickly. So when you’re on stage you need that high energy and you need to move things along quickly. So naturally everything that I embody as far as my high energy, me speaking fast, me talking to the crowd, that impulse and all those things I can do naturally, really shine on stage and I love that. On television you must speak perfectly because everything is timed. You need more high energy and must speak at a slower pace. All these things are the complete science to television, more energy and it has to be something that is contained and a little more monitored. On the radio, you have two minutes talk breaks. So you have to do all you’re talking with in those two minutes. With in the two minutes you must be fearless as far as the talk breaks. But you don’t want to talk about the same thing during your talk breaks, in and out, in and out. We could be speaking about Usher in one talk break and the next talk break we will be talking about a politician that’s doing a community event in the Bronx. It’s hard because we are not getting the conversation feedback from the audience. They are listening to us speak on the radio. You want to speak about different things but you don’t want to be scattered all over the place. There is a science to it all.
N.A.B.: I hear you are developing a TV show can you elaborate on that?
Dee Vasquez: Yes I really want to get into my own and find my voice as a producer. Even when I was on Video City, I was finding my own artists to interview. Writing my own questions for the interviews and choosing my own locations. I even sat in on some of the editing to give my input. I was very clear with my vision very early in my career. Later on when I did FUSE everything was completely different, you couldn’t touch anything. I just had to stand there and do my job. Everybody has there job and everybody has to do there job. With all the experience that I have gained, I just felt it was time to get my own vision and story and put it out there. I have a couple of projects in the works. I just want to do something more educational and entertaining at the same time.
N.A.B.: I would like for you to give some brief advice to the future Dee Vasquez that may look at you as there role model and that will follow in your foot steps?
Dee Vasquez: Know your voice and take time wit it. Take time understanding yourself. First off you have all the time in the world. You really do. You must be proactive, understand what your limits are and what your resources are. You need integrity. If you don’t stand up for anything you will fall into anything. Build your brand and empower your self.
N.A.B.: Any last words or shout outs?
Dee Vasquez: Yes definite last words. My story was featured in a book called “souls of my young sisters”. I’m speaking about finding my voice and standing up to authority. It’s about truth as authority not authority as truth. The website is www.soulsofmysisters.com to purchase book. Read my article entitled “Ask Dee Vasquez” in “Straight Stunning Magazine”. You can tune in every Wednesday on sirus-satellite radio (shadesradio45) 8pm and every Thursday night on Hot 97 with Kay Slay.
WRITTEN BY A.D. THE GENERAL