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UP CLOSE: Meet mix master Alex Medina

November 23, 2017
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer (gkelly@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Alex "Funky Cold" Medina stood in front of his speakers with headphones resting around his neck. At his fingertips were a DJ controller with about 100 different buttons, knobs and levers and a laptop with a seemingly infinite library of music.

A simple yet fast-paced beat started. He bobbed his head slightly along to each thump. He pushed a glowing, blue button and applause straight from a sitcom's live studio audience played. He bowed.

In a matter of five minutes, Medina smoothly transitioned from Baby Bash's "Sugar, Sugar" to Rob Schulz's "Sugar" to The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" and finally ended on Bob Marley's "Is This Love?" All the while, his two Pomeranian-huskies, Chance and Chase, barked from their crate in the next room.

Article Photos

Alex Medina has been in the entertainment business since he was a teenager. He currently performs as a DJ at parties and clubs.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

"You meet people from all walks of life in Lake Placid," Medina said, "It's definitely broadened my horizons in reading a crowd and playing the right music."

Medina has been in the party and music industry since he was a teenager living in New York City. After his family moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island, Medina met his friend and mentor Shawn Solomon of Party Time Entertainment.

Solomon specialized in parties for an array of occasions - birthdays, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, proms - and got Medina involved in the entertainment business.

"I actually started getting in costumes to get into the business," Medina said. "You know, like Elmo, or for trademark sake the 'red monster' or the 'blue monster.' I had a niche for making the best of a situation entertainment wise."

It wasn't long before Medina transitioned from wearing unofficial "Sesame Street" costumes to DJ-ing weddings and parties for Solomon.

"Since then, I not only grew fond of music but also being a part of people's lives in the sense of their memories and the milestones that they reach, whether it's birthdays or getting married or bachelorette parties," Medina said.

When it came time to go away to college, Medina originally attended Lamar State College in Port Arthur, Texas, on a basketball scholarship before studying at Paul Smith's College.

"Not that I didn't like [Lamar State]. I was young," he said. "I was stupid. Wound up getting into some trouble and had to come back home."

Medina didn't know much about Paul Smith's or the surrounding Adirondack region but figured it was the right school choice for him.

"I wanted to move away," he said. "I didn't want to stay in the city. I just knew there was a lot of trees and basketball. Plus, it was a small school, so that would really help me focus on my school work."

While attending Paul Smith's, Medina would DJ parties, school dances and weddings he found on Craigslist.com.

After graduating, a friend told him about a job opening at Roomers Night Club in Lake Placid.

"I told them I was experienced, but I kind of lied," Medina said. "Weddings are different from the night club scene, but I was confident enough in my skills and became the resident DJ."

Medina worked at Roomers Thursday through Saturday six hours a night for three years before leaving to pursue other opportunities. Solomon even made it up a few times to watch him perform.

"It was kind of like a proud moment for him," Medina said, "to see me go from being in a costume to being a DJ at my own night club."

Medina said he not only loves his DJ work because of the music but because it gives him a chance to work with children.

"It's cliche to say, but the kids are our future," he said.

While working parties for CAN/AM Hockey tournaments, Medina said he plays the role of mentor as well as entertainer for an hour and a half for the kids.

"While I'm having fun and getting them to dance and play silly games," he said, "I'm also letting them know 'stay in school, listen to your parents, be a good person.'"

Medina worked as a residential counselor at Mountain Lake Academy. He described it as an alternative education for kids who were having and or causing trouble at home and school.

As a residential counselor, he basically hung out with the kids all day for 10-hour shifts. He'd make sure they cleaned their rooms, did their homework, ate right and were respectful to others.

Medina said about half the kids had mental disabilities while the other half the kids just had bad behavior. He felt music was the perfect way to connect with the children and help steer them in the right direction.

"There are a lot of kids out there that are very talented and you won't even know unless you help open up that potential for them," he said.

Medina said he remembers one child in particular who he made sure he stayed out of trouble because he appreciated his knack for singing.

"I'm not going to say I made him talented," Medina said, "but I definitely pushed him in a way to focus and try to make something out of himself. I'm not sure what he's up to now, but he actually sang the national anthem for the Empire State Games that year, which is a big deal for him and the school as well."

Now with his own DJ and sound equipment and growing popularity, Medina said he's at crossroads with his life. Does he want to try and make a business out of party entertainment, or does he want to try and be a big name DJ who plays concerts and festivals?

"I want to do something I'd be successful at, and I would definitely be successful in working weddings and running parties," Medina said. "But performing to 1,000-plus people and having everyone jumping around to your music is probably a good feeling."

 
 

 

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