Playah’s Paradise Entertainment began with the passion for music and dreams and of friends Lorenzo Sam and Jeff Andersen, and a conversation in an army barrack.
Twenty years later, the dream has grown into the TraXarT Music Group – a conglomeration of Playah’s Paradise and Sound Control recording studios, Simply Great Graphics design studio and Omar Swanson Photography studio.
“The idea is to have a one-stop shop for the artists,” Andersen said. “That’s the wild part, since all this has kind of happened in the last six months, we talked about having something like this years ago.”
Playah’s Paradise started its recording journey in Sam’s basement. Sam said he and Andersen didn’t have time back then to focus on building their business — they both were building their careers, which involved multiple deployments.
Although the two friends enlisted elsewhere, they were sent to Fort George G. Meade for training. Andersen said despite many moves, the two remained friends. He kept making music while stationed in Japan.
“There were no computers back then — he sent me tapes — with a letter,” Sam laughed.
In 2006, Sam incorporated the business on his own, while Andersen sent him music. Andersen said it’s been a long but fun journey in which the friendship has grown.
“We’ve had ups and downs along the way, but we’ve always been able to turn to this as solace,” Andersen said of the business.
Once Sam retired from the military, he had time to focus on the business. An opportunity arose to move into the current location, and the two jumped on it.
The other TraXarT owners are Joe Billups, Warren Degraffinreaidt and Danny Bobbitt. Sam said the military experience of three of the owners offers a lot of leadership experience.
Scorpio Gross is the artist behind Simply Great Graphics, who has a focus on speed. Andersen said artists who come in to record have the unique ability to give feedback in the studio, sometimes leaving with same-day art.
Sam’s and Andersen’s friend Andre Quattlebaum has stepped in to manage business affairs, allowing the pair to focus on the business.
Sam said the studios primarily have served hip hop, pop and R&B artists as well as young rappers. Andersen said they plan to offer services for bands in the future.
The next step is to open a bar and lounge on the lower level of the building. The space once housed restaurants, and more recently, a church.
Recent upgrades include the addition of TVs and a sound system. The business has applied for permits, and hopes to offer themed events such as comedy night, open mic night or sip and paint.
Sam said they are in the process of bringing on five interns. In exchange for real-world experience, the interns can take advantage of resources at the studios, with potential for employment at the end of the internship.
The group would like to offer summer camps in the future, to teach teens and allow hands-on experience with the tools of the trade. Sam said he wants to make a local impact, after spending 20 years focused on national interests.
Although Sam and Andersen agreed their desire is to run the company, they don’t mind doing some of the legwork. Andersen said they’ve worn many hats throughout their journey. They’ve chosen to do as much of the work themselves as possible to remain debt-free.
“Everything we’re doing now, I’m cool with it,” Sam said.
Although they now help others record music, the two friends agreed making their own music is their favorite part of the experience.
“I’m trying to get that sound I hear in my head onto the canvas — I still get lost in that,” Andersen said.
For more information, visit http://www.playahsparadise.com.
Glen Burnie United Methodist Church, 5 Second Ave. S.E., will offer its vacation Bible school from 9 a.m.–noon Aug. 13-17.
The theme will be “Shipwrecked – Rescued by Jesus” and will include treats, games, adventures, experiments and music.
Register at www.gbumchurch.org or call 410-761-4381.
Dorsey Speedway Cruise-in
The Lost in the 50s Custom Car Club will host its annual Dorsey Speedway Cruise-in 5–9 p.m. Saturday at Marley Station Mall, 7900 Ritchie Hwy. Participants are invited to bring memorabilia from the speedway.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/lostn50s.
Basket and cash bingo
Ferndale Volunteer Fire Company, 4 South Broadview Blvd., will offer a basket and cash bingo Saturday. Doors open at 7 p.m. Play begins at 8 p.m. Proceeds will help fund improvements to the company’s hall.
For tickets, contact Laura Long at 443-690-4575 or e-mail at email@example.com.
At the library
Kids can sharpen their reading skills by reading to a furry friend beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Glen Burnie Regional Library, 1010 Eastway. Call the library for a 15-minute time slot.
Also for kids, check out a wacky surprise activity at 2 p.m. Monday with Madcap Mondays.
Fatma Daglar of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra will perform an oboe solo at 6 p.m. July 17.
To share your news in the Glen Burnie area, contact Amy Laque at MDGazetteAmy@gmail.com or 443-924-6440. Follow her on Twitter @GlenBurnieTalk.