How Miami audiences accepted Yacht Rock
I remember it at the time as “adult-oriented” rock, some “yacht rock” artists ( who were unaware they were Yacht Rock Artist ) were and continue to be well-respected by critics and fans. But generally , especially here in Miami the music was eclipsed by other styles that fit the party atmosphere of our city. Even when the term was coined in 2005 by JD Ryznar the music had no exposure locally and as nightclub DJs we thought we would get laughed off the stage for playing this music. Around 2014 , I met Juan Luv ( not yet a Captain) a fellow DJ who like me was tired of having to succumb musically to local trends. A surprise visit by Juan at a laid back Sunday gig where I was mainly playing smooth jazz and soft rock as background music led to a conversation about possibly playing this style at local bars and breweries. After a few beers and a couple of Bourbons later we convinced each other that it was possible . We began to devour the Yacht Rock video series and the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast As well as studying the Yachtski Scale , the official rule book of the genre. Searching social media for groups and followers of the music we were beginning to explore and discover tracks that were blowing us away, one of them being Finnis Henderson’s ” Blame it on the Night ” which made me want to journey deeper into this style.
We were ready , and were fortunate to secure an interview in a local paper THE NEW TIMES that created some buzz. The first gig was poorly attended , mainly family and friends and a few curious strangers , seeing what craziness we were up to in our Hawaiian shirts and Captain’s hats. Once the music flowed the audience began to catch on, requests on napkins and just plain yelled out let us know we were on to something. Some on point and some way off the boat. We were encouraged by requests like ” Dionne Warwick’s ” DeJa Vu ” but kept getting things like Jimmy Buffet’s ” Margaritaville ” which is a big NO NO in the Yacht Rock Realm . The certified Yacht Rock was too deep for most audiences here in Miami and we would have to devise a strategy to spoon feed this music to the locals who expected a more tropical feel to this music being played by these Hawaiian shirt wearing Cuban dudes.
We played a variety of Bars around town , most not knowing what to expect from ” Yacht Rock” waiting to see when we would ” pick it up a little” or get the dancefloor going, only to listen to Christopher Cross’s ” Sailing” Michael McDonald’s ” What a fool Believes” and Kenny Loggin’s “ This is it ” back to back as our super power set . We would have to make some adjustments and tailor our programming to the locals while remaining true to the ” Smooth and Sophisticated ” concept of Yacht Rock.
Bar Nancy calls………… a beautiful nautical themed bar in the middle of Miami’s Little Havana district for a Friday night . Audiences begin to grow, Covid hits , everything comes to a halt . Many bars around Bar Nancy shut their doors but not Nancy whose legions of supporters allow them to stay open through the pandemic and all it’s regulations. Then after several months we are called back and our attendance grows substantially with an extremely diverse crowd that you would never associate with the genre.
Yacht Rock Miami , the internet radio station sees a dramatic increase in listeners and serves as a Crash course for those who attend our events. We continue to tweak our programming constantly providing our listeners as well as our audiences with CERTIFIED YACHT ROCK, SMOOTH CLASSICS & CONTEMPORARY COOL VIBES. Now everyone is slowly getting ” On Board ” Have you?