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.
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.
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.
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.