In 2001, Papa Joe Aviance (aka Papa Joe) was having lots of fun, but he wasn’t happy as a self-proclaimed “club kid” of the ’80s and ’90s when House music was king in the underground club circuit in New York City. He had previously uprooted himself from humble beginnings in Saginaw, Michigan where he watched his hero, his grandfather, build a successful business. Papa Joe knew he wanted to be just like his grandfather but he (Papa Joe) was, then, struggling in New York City trying to follow his own dream of breaking into the music business.
Then on September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell right across the street from where Papa Joe worked at the time. The world changed, New York City changed, and Papa Joe knew that he had changed as well. After attending about thirteen different funerals from the 9/11 tragedy of people he knew personally, Papa Joe became introspective. He realized that he was not in a place that he wanted to be. There was so much that he wanted to do with his life and so much that he wanted to accomplish. So he uprooted himself again and made his way to Los Angeles to chase the elusive dream of fame and fortune in the music industry.
Once Papa Joe made his way out West, he was out of his comfort zone and found himself in frustrating and sometimes intimidating circumstances. He did his share of grunt work. He finally had his “Cinderella moment” when internationally-renowned producer DJ Amador happened to walk into the video store where he worked. They had a brief conversation about their mutual love for music, specifically House music. Not long after this conversation with DJ Amador, Papa Joe recorded a song with international songstress Lula. The song was “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” and it flew to the Top Ten of the music charts and later peaked at number six. The first record that featured Papa Joe’s voice was successful!
The music climate today has been a perfect storm, reawakening House music on the charts. With Electropop artists like LMFAO, the iron is hot and ready to strike and Papa Joe is at the musical forefront with a new hit on his hands called “Live for Life.” It’s a song with an infectious beat and upbeat message.
There is no doubt that this song is an imitation of true life. For his first hit, “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life,” a video was shot featuring Lula and himself. After seeing himself in the video for the first time, Papa Joe didn’t like what he saw; he didn’t want to be that size. And by shear willpower, he simply walked his weight away. To date, he has lost a total of 233 pounds! He walked his weight off and still loves to be a motivator. His close friends call him the Tony Robbins of House music with positive messages set to upbeat music and printed on stylish gear.
When Papa Joe isn’t pursuing his music, he is running his trendy clothing line called Joe Joe, which is named after himself and his grandfather. His clothing line is popular with the Hollywood set and night club goers. Papa Joe says that he was always a jeans and t-shirt type of guy and he started making t-shirts with positive messages and it just took off. He now has a production company called Papa Joe Networks, where he showcases his work as well as his collaboration with other artists in music and design.
Papa Joe is a great advocate for other struggling artists. Whether he will live for life or save a life as a DJ, the success of Papa Joe Aviance will inspire you, motivate you, and bring you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.
-Article Written by: Aiona Kaufusi
*article photos courtesy of Bridge and Tunnel Communications