Louie Vega’s influence on the NYC music scene can be seen across his decades of DJing and producing: from house parties to house’s biggest nightclubs, Louie has been creating the beats that drive the rhythm of the city that never sleeps.

His impact on New York City’s underground continues today through his Expansions NYC events. Starting in 2019 in Manhattan and Brooklyn venues, the Expansions NYC parties have encompassed the diverse, creative, and collective spirit which has been a defining feature of Louie Vega’s music and life. From the dancers to the musicians, to the clubbers on the dance floor, each element of the event works together to create an unforgettable and unique moment in time. At an Expansions NYC night, one might experience a 6-hour DJ set leading into a 3am jam session with keyboardists, guitar players, and poets all united to celebrate music that ranges from house to disco, afro, R&B and more.

It’s this inspiring collaborative energy that Louie Vega captures in his latest album Expansions in the NYC. Featuring an extensive list of house heavyweights, legendary vocalists, and talented musicians from across generations representing their passion for music from gospel, jazz, pop, disco, and house, the album not only encompasses the kind of nights that Louie has been curating for the past few years, but showcases the melting pot of music found in NYC and the everlasting love of those who have been blessed to be a part of it. #

Louie Vega photo by Miguel Bautista

What was most important to you when you first started with Expansions NYC events?

Most important for me was to bring out the NYC and Five Borough underground dancers and creating an inclusive community.

How have your expectations been fulfilled since its establishment?

It’s been amazing! This party has grown and blossomed into something special that reaches even beyond nightlife. From nightlife to streaming live on my Twitch channel and everything in between, it’s become a fertile ground for innovation.

What has been one of your favorite experiences at Expansions NYC so far?

The late night dancing on a Wednesday night (a work day), the jam sessions, bringing together keyboardist Axel Tosca, guitarist Toni C., percussionists Ritmo Y Timbao & Sting Ray, poet Sugah Lyrics and various singers, the 3am improv masterclasses that became the inspiration for the album Expansions In The NYC.

The underground dance culture is unique in NYC, there’s nothing like it. I’m speaking all around, from club dancers to voguers, from established artists to new people emerging on the scene.

What is the energy currently like in the NYC scene?

It’s all in Brooklyn right now for club music, even Expansions NYC is in Brooklyn at various venues (and dope venues I would add!) The pandemic is coming close to an end, let’s give NYC a chance because there will be lots of places opening soon.

What would you say is something that is unique to NYC’s dance music scene throughout the decades?

The underground dance culture is unique in NYC, there’s nothing like it. I’m speaking all around, from club dancers to voguers, from established artists to new people emerging on the scene. When they get together in one room with the right DJ playing, it’s mesmerizing.

Is there anything about the NYC scene today that you wish were different?

More clubs in Manhattan is what we need. It’s so centrally located and it’s a world stop for any international guest.

[ Previously: Louie Vega: Music Is A Family ]

What do you feel has been the most rewarding part of being a DJ?

When you produce music and play music and you see someone dancing with their eyes closed, arms up, and the facial expressions with so much emotion to your creation, it’s breathtaking and rewarding.

What matters the most to you when you are hosting and/or DJing an event?

What matters to me is that everyone goes home with a smile and that they are touched by the music and atmosphere.

How did the Expansions in the NYC album project first come about?

The Expansions In The NYC album was inspired by a night I curated in NYC 2019. The party was called “Expansions NYC.” I played 6 hour DJ sets and at 3am I would have these jam sessions with musicians, poets, and singers. It was a journey into the sounds with impromptu live performances.

One surprise was having my son Nico Vega on the album. I didn’t expect him to rock an entire track right in front of me.

Within the weeks of the party, individual characters developed and a community of music lovers and dancers came together as one. It ranged from the old school dancers to new kids and international guests from clubs I’ve played around the world. It was multigenerational.

What was most important for you to share through the music on the album?

It was most important to share the love and pass on some history and hold a space for the new, which was what my night Expansions NYC was all about. I wanted you to experience this as the artists (e.g. Moodymann, Anané, Kerri Chandler, Josh Milan, and Honey Dijon) singing on the album.

There is a real range of artists on the album, from Robyn (of Sweden), Bernard Fowler (formerly of the Peech Boys), Boogie Disco legends Unlimited Touch and Gospel King Bebe Winans & his sister Debbie Winans, with the young Korean Soul gospel singers. For all of them l kept their roots but I gave them an original and fresh approach. I reached out to my DJ buddies Joe Claussell and Spinna, even paid tribute to my heroes Patrick Adams, Leroy Burgess, Rod Temperton, Heatwave, and Gamble & Huff.

I’d love to hear about the production process — with so many collaborations, what was it like organizing and working with such a variety different artists?

Each production had a life of its own that started out with a real event. It might be a late night discussion amongst the artists and musicians, or maybe I traveled somewhere at a gig and met an artist. Once I had my foundation for the album — which were tracks I came up with transpired by my night at the Expansion NYC parties — I would think of which artist would fit with a track and look at my dream list of artists to work with.



This was originally published in #Expansion: 5 Mag Issue #198 with Louie Vega, Brian Jackson, Beretta Music and more. Support 5 Mag by becoming a member for as little as $1 per issue.



Every production had a different and unique process. Organizing was all about aligning our schedules and conversations, once we met at shows worldwide or I’d just call them to discuss the ideas I had.

Here are a few:

Robyn — We coordinated to meet at my studio, Daddy’s Workshop. I had just seen her perform at Madison Square Garden to a sold-out show. Before that I had flown out to Sweden thanks to Robyn’s brother who put together an event to help celebrate her album release Honey after a live performance at a large studio replicating her MSG performance. It was almost like a “Pre World Tour” show for her people in Sweden.

I saw her again in Ibiza and we finally scheduled a time to meet at my studio. She showed up at the studio and then reached out to Kindness who came to collaborate with us on the song. I played keys and had a groove ready in an hour and she started writing while Kindness was on the way over. Kindness came in and the song came together naturally on the driving track. Kindness even dropped a few fun vocal parts in the vamp of the song, Robyn sang her entire lead and backgrounds in that one session. I then mixed and completed the tracks afterwards in a future session.

Moodymann — We’ve been friends some years now, he played my birthday party on several occasions in Manhattan at Roots NYC Cielo and guested at the Ritual with Anané & Louie Vega in Ibiza. I reached out to Tracy Washington (his personal manager) about Kenny Dixon Jr.’s feature on my album, and she came back with a big YES! I was ecstatic! I had a track I thought was perfect for Moodymann which was Fender Rhodes- and bass-driven with lush synth strings. When I sent it he loved the track and got on it right away. He wrote a great song and his voice, his singing reminded me of the great Gil Scott-Heron. The result was “Seven Mile,” a tune about an area in the city of Detroit.

Toni C — Toni is a songwriter I’ve known since I started DJing professionally (we are talking 1984) who wrote a variety of hits: “Love Will Save The Day” for Whitney Houston, “Love’s Gonna Get You” which has the famous sample “I’ve Got The Power,” the holiday song “Christmas Kisses” and her newest piece “Time Don’t Wait” which she sings lead on and plays guitar. She co-wrote an amazing song on the album entitled “You Got Me Dancing” which features Audrey Wheeler & Cindy Mizelle.

It was Toni C’s birthday and my son Nico and I decided to take her out to dinner. As a gift Nico and I whispered to each other, let’s ask her to come to the studio and let’s jam and write. We had a groove down in 90 minutes, I then worked at Josh Milan’s Honeycomb Studios and asked him to play keyboards and we recreated the demo. I had Phil Hamilton of Unlimited Touch play electric guitar and the groove was in the pocket. Audrey Wheeler came to Honeycomb studios as well and nailed the lead vocal. I then sent the track with the lead to Cindy Mizelle and she put on the finishing touches vocally (the session with Cindy I worked remote with her while I was touring Switzerland and Europe).

I had to have the super talented Toni C on this album, she was actually the last song recorded for the record. Lucky me!!

There are nineteen more stories, but we will leave that for the book!

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Were there any surprises for you along the way as it developed?

One surprise was having my son Nico Vega on the album. I didn’t expect him to rock an entire track right in front of me. I asked him to come down and play some keyboards and he ended up creating an entire track entitled “How He Works.” He plays “Stand On The Word” on his piano, so that tune must have been embedded in his head at that time, so he heard that hook which he and Yas Inoue (our engineer) sampled from the Elements Of Life version of “Stand On The Word.” We ended up clearing the sample and he now has publishing on “How He Works.”

The track is one of the dope club tracks on the album. When Nervous Records put the dubs out it had lots of play from DJs Honey Dijon, Joe Claussell, Peggy Gou, and many others!

What are you most proud of and excited about with this album?

Having mother and son on one album. My incredible wife and only child recording with me is heaven sent.

On this album we brought together generations of people who are humble, kind, talented, spiritual, and fun all at the same time. I’m so proud to present to the world this unique creation.

Louie Vega’s Expansions in the NYC is out now on Nervous Records.

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