By Chida Rebecca | Editor-in-Chief
Noel Brandon aka IAMNOEL is a local favorite. An entrepreneur, speaker, DJ, artist and electronic music producer, Noel is an energizing performer with over 20 years’ experience in the music industry.
His talent for spinning a fusion of sounds and a knack for successfully navigating his company through corporate and social scenes has allowed him to perform at a variety of luxury nightclubs, celebrity parties and reputable Fortune 500’s such as GoDaddy; Heineken, Tesla, Google, GoPro, and Uber, to name a few.
Not just your typical spin master Noel often collaborates with live musicians, always looking to push the boundaries of traditional deejaying.
But when ‘Rona showed up to the party, Noel found himself without a club to spin in and a party to hype, until one evening when a friend asked him to play a few songs on the balcony of an apartment complex in Little Italy. While Noel had seen it take place on the news in Italy, he never pegged himself as the guy in San Diego that would follow suit.
“I honestly thought SDPD would do a flyover in a helicopter, shine the light on me, get on the bull horn, and tell me to stop.” Rightfully so – being a Black man making a ruckus in the dark of night with his speakers and turntable would’ve stereotypically been reason enough for police to arrive on the scene. But contrary to his thinking, Noel’s ability to fill the air with melodic pleasantries was comforting to all within earshot.
A couple of thousand people showed up on their patios and balconies to listen in. “They couldn’t believe it, and I couldn’t believe it either.” The first night, Noel played a 45-minute set. Nights following, he noticed people would drive up and park their cars – just sitting there. It wasn’t until he zeroed in on what was happening that he realized they were coming to hear him play. “They were sitting on top of their cars waiting for me,” he said. Operating with the belief that music opens people’s hearts, healing hurts, Noel believes music makes people feel alive. “I believe those feelings change people’s outlook, which can change their countenance. I think in general, music makes people feel,” he said.
Night after night, he would play, and people would dance, sing, and be merry – for two months straight. The support was beyond what Noel thought he would experience.
“The San Diego Police Department sent me a text on Instagram, asking if they could be involved the following week after I started.” Twenty cars deep, SDPD showed up with sirens blaring in full support of Noel. “They stood on their cars and thanked San Diego for staying home and staying safe.” The next day on the news, Noel even received a nod of sorts from San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Within a short time, Noel’s reputation was international, with him appearing in BBC World News and various outlets from France to Mexico. While he was doing what he had always been doing, the worldwide recognition and experience changed the way Noel looked at what he was doing. Taking a pure leap of faith by doing something slightly different, Noel says, has impacted his whole life. “I am now recognized in my city as San Diego’s DJ.” He is also seen around the world as the DJ that brought hope and joy to many. “[This] has brought more prominence to my brand and opened up numerous opportunities for me.”
But creating a soundtrack for life isn’t a light task. Noel says he takes influences from everything he hears and sees on a particular day. “I make a playlist in the moment.” And though entertaining brings light and hope, it carries a heavy assignment. “As artists, we help others see art and life from different points of view. My responsibility is to challenge what we see, what we believe to be true, and what truly is important to society.”
While the San Diego toggles between opening and remaining closing, Noel says he’s a lot busier than ever with tons of virtual opportunities. “I’m getting booked.”
Currently listed as a preferred vendor for real estate companies, Noel says he’s still deejaying for tenants. To date, he has 12 properties booked.
Taking a small pivot and a leap of faith has proved to be nothing short of Noel’s blessing and something he’ll never forget or regret.
With the worldwide protests and social unrest, we asked IAMNOEL what his recommended Playlist was. Well here’s what he gave us: