Created in Ohio and modified in Chile, the D.Y.D., or “Do YOUR Dance,” movement reached Rhode Island on Jan. 10 as a slew of performers took the stage at Olive’s in Providence to entertain and share their love of music.
D.Y.D was started in Ohio by a young man named Phil Terry, who was repeatedly encouraged by his cousin to write and record his own hip hop music. Realizing it was healthier to release his pent-up emotions through penning his own raps rather than using his fists, Terry discovered what he loved to do and went after it. Terry has already recorded a CD of original songs under the name Phantom, and he’s hard at work on his next album, which will focus on the D.Y.D message.
D.Y.D carries a positive message about discovering one’s passion and pursuing it, but the movement took on new life when Terry met Lindsey Lerner, a Warwick resident and senior at Bryant University, while the two were studying abroad in Chile last fall.
Becoming fast friends, the pair shared the idea that D.Y.D could be something more, something bigger. Lerner suggested using the message of D.Y.D to not only encourage others to discover their passion and pursue it, but to share that experience and tell the story of how they made it happen in an effort to get others to do the same. To that end, Lerner not only became Terry’s friend but also his manager, and has her sights set on booking shows such as the Jan. 10 D.Y.D event at Olive’s.
In addition to Phantom, the show featured the live debut of Rhode Island upstarts DJ Derelikt and rapper JSCiRE, as well as local rock band Michel, singer and keyboardist Stephanie Johnson, and two Philadelphia hip hop combos, including Ol’ Souls and Jbre & Dougie Kent.
The show was the result of three months of hard work.
“The planning for this started about three months ago, if not a little longer,” Lerner said during an email interview. “It’s crazy how it all came together.”
Lerner said she actually did things backwards.
“Phil and I had picked the date because we both knew that we would be available, then contacted artists to see if they were also available, and then ended up finding a venue,” she said. “Finding a venue was the toughest part – we are beyond grateful for Olive’s assistance, especially their manager, Gayle, for all of her help. Many places do not want to give up a Saturday night space to artists who are new or from out of state, and everyone who performed fit into one or both of those categories. Olive’s took a chance on us, but we proved ourselves.”
Although there were some hiccups along the way, Lerner said she was pleased with the show and plans to use it as a learning experience to make the next one that much better.
“As a whole, I think that the show was a success! Obviously being our first event, a lot of things went wrong, but on the other hand a lot went right and that’s all we could have asked for,” she said. “Everything Phil and I do is some sort of learning experience one way or another, and that was the goal of this – to learn something. Taking that into consideration, then it was even more successful! For us, there’s no better way to learn than by doing.”
Terry, who drove 15 hours from Ohio just to perform and spread the D.Y.D message, said the show was totally worth it.
“That was probably one of the most well put-together shows I have ever done with other artists. It definitely surpassed my expectations,” he said during an email interview. “Even with the little hiccups we had, we pushed through it and created something I think was worth all our time and energy.”
Terry said he loves being on the stage with a microphone shouting out his lyrics at the top of his lungs.
“That’s how I feel when I am up there, I go into a trance and I don’t really know what I did when I come off,” he said. “It’s like I actually turn into Phantom and just let it all out.”
Lerner said she enjoyed being able to take artists from every genre and put them together to create an experience, all while giving first-time performers a shot.
“Both JSCiRE and Derelikt were first-time performers and they did great,” she said. “Olive’s was giving us a chance, so we wanted to pay it forward and give others a shot as well.”
Not only was there variety on the stage, but also in the audience.
“There were all ages there and I think that’s another reason why the show was such a success – diversity proved extremely beneficial to us,” she said. “Some people may not have necessarily enjoyed the hip hop or rap artists, but they could still vibe well with the band Michel, or maybe some people didn’t necessarily like Michel but really enjoyed Steph Johnson’s voice.”
Lerner said no matter what, there was a sound that everyone could connect to.
“That was the purpose of the night,” she said. “That’s also the purpose of D.Y.D – to foster a learning environment where people can work together toward a common goal and achieve it while learning something.”
While the most challenging aspect of the show for Lerner was finding a venue, Terry said the hardest part for him was arranging two of his songs, “Fast Car” and “Highland,” in a new way, since they were performed with live guitar and drums, with Lerner on guitar and Lindsay Mason on drums.
“I mean I know we were worried about how many people would show up and making sure we had reliable openers, which we most definitely did – I loved them all – but work-wise, at least for me, was getting down those songs in a new way I have never performed before,” he said.
Lerner said she thought it would have been harder to get different genres and different artists to work together, “but it was refreshing to have nearly everyone willing to participate in a D.Y.D show.”
Lerner said before the show ended, Terry asked her when the next one would be, as did others who were in the audience that numbered over 100.
“I’m grateful for everyone that was able to help me along the way, especially Alex Perullo, Stephanie Perry and Ron Washburn from Bryant,” she said. “I can’t wait to do it all over again! But now it will be much better because of everything I learned going through this process – experiential learning at its finest!”
Terry said the surreal feeling that he’s making his dreams come true didn’t hit him until his 15-hour ride back home to Ohio.
“I am going to a place I have never been close to in my life, but yet I have fans there and people who are willing to come support a dream I have had for years,” he said. “It was easily one of the most emotional experiences I have had in a long time.”
To learn more about Do YOUR Dance, have an idea for a D.Y.D event, or are interested in booking Phantom for a performance, contact Lindsey Lerner at LLerner@bryant.edu or DoYOURDanceDYD@gmail.com. To listen to D.Y.D music, visit reverbnation.com/DYD.