Empathy. You’ll be able to do more for your peers as a human and clients. If you’re able to understand the needs of others, how they feel, you’ll be able to navigate through any situation better in all aspects of life.
As a part of my series about leaders helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Eric “E-Rock” Nagrampa.
Eric “E-Rock” Nagrampa is an Entrepreneur, DJ to the stars, Radio Personality, Podcaster, and Music Director from San Francisco, California. A dual resident to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nagrampa is known nationwide. Notable achievements include nationally syndicated radio shows, major club residencies around the United States, and sharing the stage with top musical talents including John Legend, Ludacris, T-Pain, Ne-Yo, and J. Cole. Nagrampa is passionate about entrepreneurship in the music industry along with philanthropy.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Back when I was 11 years old, I had a love for playing baseball and going swimming with the other kids in the neighborhood. One day, during a typical Saturday afternoon swimming pool visit, I encountered a tribe of 3 brothers, LJ, Charlie, and Pete. After befriending the trio, I became a regular visitor to their household to play video games. Little did I know that Charlie, the middle child, was a DJ. Anytime I would come to their house to play video games with the youngest child (Pete,) I had noticed that Charlie was always practicing in the adjacent room. Sure enough my curiosity got the best of me and led me to ask Charlie to let me watch what he was doing. From then that began my journey and I went over to practicing DJ’ing under Charlie’s mentorship all the time. Little did I know then that that moment would lead me to this point today, being able to see the world and impact many lives along the way through music.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
My late Grandfather was one of the biggest San Francisco 49er football fans you would ever meet. He “bled” red & gold, he lived for that team. Throughout my childhood he would always mention that one day he’d love to see me play football, that I could be the next Joe Montana. That never happened but by the good graces of God and my journey, I ended up working directly for the San Francisco 49ers football organization. Working for them is something that I was deeply proud and passionate about due to the team’s history amongst my family. I didn’t become one of the team’s star players, but being the team’s founding DJ is an accomplishment and fills my family and I with great pride. My most cherished moment within the organization would be programming the pre-game warm up music list on the behalf of the 49ers team during Superbowl 54 against the Kansas City Chiefs. That moment will always be close to my heart.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One night early in my career, I’d say I would have had a few too many drinks, and I was schmoozing with the “decision maker” of a very large nightclub. The entire night I called him the incorrect name and finally he corrected me. We laughed about it and had a great night. Lesson learned, pay attention and not drink as much in front of the important people that have a hand in your career.
Ok thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our discussion. Can you describe how you are helping to make popular culture more representative of the US population?
At the beginning of the pandemic the nightlife industry was completely at a standstill. I knew that I needed to pivot and fast. I met the head of partnerships for Twitch, a popular streaming platform known for gaming, while djing. We kept in contact and we discussed bringing live music via dj’ing to Twitch. A little over a year ago I started to DJ, had some friends join in, and boom: we were able to reach not just a national but international audience. We were able to show those who maybe could never go to a club, wanted to go to a club, or those going through a dark time that the US club music scene would keep going. By doing things that are not only out of the ordinary by virtually streaming live, incorporating visuals, and interacting with our fans we were able to make this popular dj culture a feasible endeavor. Now as the nation begins to open up, we are able to have our in-person events plus stream on Twitch for those that aren’t able to make it to an event.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by the work you are doing?
One of the greatest mentors in my life would have to be none other than the Bay Area’s own and most legendary Jazzy Jim Archer, Program Director for KMVQ 99.7 NOW FM San Francisco. “Jazzy” always made sure that I recognized my self worth and I was always capable of doing so much if I really put my mind to it. He taught me what it took to get to the top of the industry, how to stay hungry, and remain humble.. We set goals and I’m proud that today I have not only surpassed a few of those aspirations, I accomplished my “push goals” also known as my top tier goals.
As an insider, this might be obvious to you, but I think it’s instructive to articulate this for the public who might not have the same inside knowledge. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why it’s really important to have diversity represented in Entertainment and its potential effects on our culture?
Inclusion is everything, I truly believe that everyone and anyone should have a chance to be a part of something. As a first generation Filipino and El Salvadoran, I am proud to represent my heritage. During the awful rise of AAPI hate crimes my closest colleagues known as the Headliner Music Club were able to get a full day of dj’s streaming on Twitch to raise money against AAPI hate. Being a part of something so powerful and important to me meant the world. These are memories and experiences that other individuals will remember for the rest of their lives.
Can you recommend three things the community/society/the industry can do to help address the root of the diversity issues in the entertainment business?
- Empathy — learn it, live it
- Educate — learn about others lives, their struggles, their passions, their causes. We may never fully understand but the open heart and mind is powerful
- Donate — time, resources, financial. Whatever your available means are, it could make the biggest impact to someone in need.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I am a firm believer in leading by example, the extreme golden standard. Practice what you preach, be the reason why someone is inspired to work hard because they saw you as the first person in the office and the last person out. I take meetings and calls from leaders in the industry often. Sometimes it’s to catch up, sometimes it’s to throw around new concepts. Beyond being a DJ, I am an entrepreneur and am always willing to take the “DJ hat off” and lead with my entrepreneur heart.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Empathy. You’ll be able to do more for your peers as a human and clients. If you’re able to understand the needs of others, how they feel, you’ll be able to navigate through any situation better in all aspects of life.
- Save your money, you never know when that rainy day will arrive as you read from my “turning point” moment.
- Invest. Take any amount you can and invest!
- Be very cautious of who sits in the front row of your life. I used to think everyone had my best interest at heart. As much as I wanted to believe that was a true statement, at times it was not the case. You have to select those who will not only applaud you when you win, but always inspire you to do better when you lose.
- Diet is everything. Diet isn’t always just food: it’s thoughts, it’s energy, it’s everything you can “consume.” If you don’t choose wisely on what you consume both physically and mentally, you could be put in a bad place that will take some time to reverse. Be weary of what’s good for you and what’s not, especially on social media. Follow and surround yourself with positive moments and energy that you can digest that allow you to thrive in a peaceful way. Health is wealth.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I’d like to help lost youth. As a kid, I wasn’t the best student in middle school or high school but as an adult I do understand that with the right mentorship, I was able to thrive. It took me a while to bloom, but at times I wish I had the information and business knowledge I have today to have been able to act swiftly on making those adjustments. Sharing information is so crucial to growth, and sometimes I wish that we could all share it sooner so everyone could thrive.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It’s nice to be important but always it will be more important to be nice.” Being genuine will not only help you, but it’ll make someone else want to help you.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!