Whatever you think about the act of manifesting, there’s something to be said for the apt naming of Brooklyn-based spot Rise Radio. A café, event space, and livestream radio platform with over 65 hours of music and programming a week, Rise Radio is a space dedicated to creative self-expression and connecting the community.
Opening its doors in late summer 2019, Rise Radio was only up and running for six months before COVID hit and lockdown regulations forced it to close. Collaborations, gigs, and parties planned for the forthcoming months fell to the wayside. The future looked uncertain. But, despite the world being shut down, Rise Radiofounders Alfred and Vanina Perez De Tagle, and Shawntia Leigh found a way to adapt by launching Rise Radio Broadcast. It was a project that they’d always had in mind, but it had been on the backburner until COVID-19 presented the perfect opportunity to bring it to life.
Rise Radio Broadcast, which live streams via Twitch, became a lifeline for many during the lockdown and continues to spread Rise Radio’s positive vibes over the airwaves now that the city’s restrictions have lifted. As Rise Radio grows and evolves, it’s catching the attention of collaborators including running brand On, who is teaming up with Rise Radio to throw a party on November 6 in celebration of the New York marathon.
Ahead of the event, we connected with Rise Radio Broadcast regulars Sarah Maria, Jah Banks, Julio Galvez, and co-founder Shawntia Leigh to learn more about the platform and its community, and asked them to put together two playlists with their favorite warm up and cool down tracks.
Shawntia Leigh, Co-founder of Rise Radio
How did you get into running?
As I grow as a person and entrepreneur I’ve learned over and over again how important fitness is to my process. The more responsibility I’ve gained, the more clarity I find in those long walks and jogs. I got into it naturally, using my daily walks to Rise and jogs around my neighborhood with my dog as my time to get sunlight on my skin, clear my mind, and get my energy going.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m a New Yorker and I love hip hop, so I love Jay Z, Nas, Pun, all the classics. But I also listen to a lot of disco. At home with family, it could be anything from La India to Opera. I listen to the Rise Radio Broadcast all day while I work, and get to hear what people are really playing in the city at that moment. I’m all over the place with it!
What inspired you to co-found Rise?
Coming up I worked in Manhattan learning the corporate way. I was extremely lucky to start my hospitality career learning from entrepreneurs that focused on opening venues in hotels. I fell in love with the way they took me in, shared with me, and taught me their craft. I had witnessed over and over again how more established creatives in my immediate social circle were slow to share opportunities or trade secrets and it saddened me, but also inspired me to become a different kind of entrepreneur and employer. After what felt like a strong apprenticeship and enough hours served to learn my craft an amazing idea and opportunity came together when I met Alfred and Vanina. We truly aligned on a vision for a new type of business structure where collaboration and positive energy are at the forefront. Through the ups and downs, that’s what keeps us fueled. Our community inspires us to Rise.
Why did you want to collaborate with On?
On is a great brand that supports each community it enters. That aligned with us and inspired us to collaborate. At Rise, we try to take a different approach to nightlife, by presenting our health-conscious and spiritually grounded 360-approach to lifestyle. We want our team and patrons to feel good, and have fun without the draining effects of the traditional nightlife experience. This collaboration speaks to the duality of Rise as a venue and platform.
Shawntia’s show Real Spicy Radio airs every Monday at 5:30 p.m. EST.
Sarah Maria, Producer and DJ
How did you join Rise?
Every Thursday I MC, hype man, and interview with my co-host DJ Prince on YAHDCAST. I originally came to Rise to help him with bookings. When we first got the show during COVID somehow I went from booking to being on the show, doing interviews and getting more comfortable with the mic and now MCing, which is great, because it's allowed me to explore. Music is really important to me. It's very emotional, music is my meditation.
What’s your relationship with running?
Running for me is spiritual, it’s free therapy. I'm able to increase my endorphins, adrenaline helps release cortisol in your system as well. It's just good for your body. Living in New York, running is how I'm able to take a moment to be in tune with my surroundings. Moving through neighborhoods gives me that silent connection with my community. I can be a fly on the wall and move through neighborhoods and see different people. It makes me realize that I am connected to other people in New York even though most of the time we're just passing by each other.
How does it feel to be a part of the Rise community?
It's really a home. It's a community in and of itself. I can walk in on a Thursday and know everyone there and I can walk in on a Sunday and only know a couple of people there, but it's the same type of community. There's just something going on in the water over there, it's such a feel-good place. When I run, I feel good. When I go to Rise, I feel good. When I'm on my show talking about music in such a welcoming space, it's like they're family.
What’s your favorite music to listen to while you run?
I'm a sad girl. When I run I listen to a lot of jazz. I feel I'm overstimulated in life. There's always new music and new content. I'm a film producer so everything is always coming through. I try to cleanse my musical palette and brain with jazz. When I'm running, I listen to a lot of Dominic Fike, then this group out of the UK Mini-Kings with Ragz Originale and BenjiFlow. I also love running to (DJ) Prince.
Sarah’s show YAHDCAST airs on Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. EST.
Julio Galvez aka The Whooligan, Founder of Room Service International
How did you get involved in Rise Radio?
I’ve been DJing, touring, and sharing my love of music with the world for almost 20 years. I’ve been fortunate to know Alfred, Rise’s co-owner, for over a decade from our stomps in San Francisco. He’s always been someone I've looked up to, so I was amped to hear about their opening in Brooklyn. I missed most of Rise Radio’s first year in business because I was touring, but I stepped in one day during their record fairs, re-connected with Alfred, and the rest is history. I’m grateful to be a part of the Rise Radio family and community.
Why did you start running?
Fútbol for me and most Latino families is from the womb, so really, I’ve always been a runner. I started playing organized soccer at the age of six and trained and played extensively until my Sophomore year of college at San Francisco State University. After I stopped playing organized soccer, I started working at Amoeba Music on Haight Street and lived right around the corner. Luckily for me, Golden Gate Park was my backyard, so I had the opportunity to explore and run through some of the most beautiful parts of San Francisco. Running for me is therapeutic, it’s healing, and it helps me clear my head and get my mind right. Running is a way to explore new terrain, challenge myself, and believe in my power and ability to execute my goals.
How does running help you with DJing and your other creative work?
A lot of my ideas come to me when I run. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and anxious with all of the work I have to do, so running helps me sort of iron them out, reset and find peace in all of it. I’ll listen to a bunch of different music when I run, getting to filter out and mentally compartmentalize playlists and new music is super helpful and saves me mad time.
What do you listen to when you run?
I listen to everything, from Jazz to Techno to Japanese Disco — sometimes throwing on a dope mix from one of my favorite DJs is all I need. Between my radio show and play-listing upcoming gigs, new and unreleased music from my artists and labels, demo submissions, and stuff my friends send me, there’s always something to vibe out to.
What was it like to run in On’s sneakers?
On’s Cloudnova and Cloudboom Echo are my joints. They both make a statement, but more importantly, they’re ultra fly and ultra-cozy – just like how I try to make y’all feel with my music.
Julio’s show, Bed & Breakfast airs every first Sunday of the month from 12–2 p.m. EST and The Love Stream airs bi-monthly on Saturday nights.
Jah Banks, Personal trainer, Artist, and DJ
How did you get involved in Rise Radio?
I remember when Rise first opened up. I know Al through a mutual friend, DJ Greg, who is my best friend, my mentor. He heard about an open spot and I was like, “yo we should try to DJ.” He's so busy that he put me in touch with Al, who told me about wanting to start the radio. I couldn’t see it but they really made that happen. And at a well-needed time, it was almost serendipitous how it happened. I see it getting better and better, which is really great.
Why do you run?
I like to treat DJing and personal training as just part of life. I'm very big on moderation. So for me if you’re not getting enough fun in your life or if you're not exercising enough, you're doing something wrong. I've been in music for a long time and having a great time on a Friday night after a long work week, to me, that's just as important as you coming to the gym on a Monday and getting it in at 8:00 AM. It's all-encompassing for the mind.
As far as running I've never really been big on it, but I do run weekly. It’s just a good benchmark to know that I can run these three miles. That's my thing about running, it's to know I can do it. Once I'm done with it I will concede till next week. I'm not Usain Bolt, I'm just a man.
Do you listen to new music when you run?
[Running] is how I discover new music. I have Spotify and I’m always on the suggestion tab. I'm pretty big on Afrobeat. I'm Jamaican, so I listen to a lot of reggae and dancehall. But, now there's also this new wave of avant-garde R&B and hip hop that's coming out right now. It's not really hip hop. It's not really R&B. It's not really Caribbean, but it's all there.
But to be honest, I'm also a sad boy. I listen to some R&B while I'm working. Tems’ album just came out and that's my favorite album right now. I listen to her a lot. Giveon too. Stuff like that which is weird, because it doesn't really go in with training when you're trying to get pumped up, but I'd rather just be in the zone. And similarly to Sarah, I treat it like meditation time, so whatever's going to get me in that zone.
Jah’s show airs monthly. Look out for upcoming dates via Instagram.