Someone You Might Not Expect To Listen To EDM: Erin Sharoni, CBS Sports Host
Erin Sharoni is currently a host and anchor for CBS Sports. Additionally, she hosts the Live Like An Athlete podcast, and she is a board member for Athlete Ally, which empowers athletes to be role models and challenge homophobia and transphobia in sports. In the past, she worked on Wall Street for five years and modeled for FILA. Her impressive resume goes on and on, so you can check out the bio on her website or her Wikipedia page to find out more.
Sharoni is the second person to be featured in our "Someone You Might Not Expect To Listen To EDM" series. Last week, we featured Kat Cole, the president of Cinnabon. We discovered that Sharoni has long been a fan of dance music, and it was EDM.com's pleasure to speak with her about the influence it has had on her life.
We decided to begin at the start of her life to figure out how her current love for EDM developed. She revealed that music has been moving her since a very young age. “Oh man….I’ve been dancing since I could stand on two feet. Literally,” says Sharoni. Her love for music was fostered by her family. “I grew up in a household with parents who love, love, loved music. Everything was music. Music was on in the morning at breakfast and in the evening at dinner. My dad and I would dance around the house to various records all the time. Jazz, blues, world music...the Gipsy Kings, whom I loved.” She even attended a concert while in the womb. “They also took me to my first concerts...in utero, I saw (heard, as a fetus?) Bruce Springsteen...My first concert as a living human was Elvis Costello, at 12 months old. No wonder I had hearing problems.”
While her parents didn't necessarily play dance music while growing up, Sharoni was given something as a child that would become quite relevant later in life. She says, “My very first 'turntable' actually, was a Fisher Price record player on which I would spin little mini 45s of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper (whom I often dressed up as for Halloween). There are photos of me sitting at the record player, wearing punk jewelry and glitter jelly shoes, rocking out. Please note: I was THREE. There’s another series of photos of me wearing giant headphones at age 2, dancing with the family dog.”
However, Sharoni's first experience with dance music came during her teens, and it happened while on vacation. “As for actual DANCE MUSIC...I heard my first Goa Trance when visiting my cousins in Tel Aviv, Israel, at age 14,” says Sharoni. “It was an amazing summer, full of new things…We went to some underground club on a dark street...I think it was an old warehouse...my very first rave! I remember thinking, 'WHAT THE F*#!K IS THIS STUFF?? IT IS TOTALLY TRIPPY AND...I LOVE IT!' When I returned to NYC, I began searching in vain for places to hear that type of music. There was one weekly party down in the East Village that I'd sneak in to with friends. Lots of glowing, swirling colors inside that venue [laughs].”
Of course, everyone has that one track that fully immerses you into the scene. “The first progressive trance song I was really hooked on was Binary Finary, '1998.' I listened to that track ad nauseum. Heard it again recently, and it’s so old school. It’s like noting the difference between a current video game like Halo and the old 16-bit Super Mario Bros!”
One thing that might surprise everyone is that the current CBS Sports host used to DJ herself. “I did DJ...and before everyone and their mother had a DJ setup! I actually still have my Technics 1200s...a vintage item, now! I used to spin on campus at school and all the big parties. This was about a decade ago, or more. I'm aging myself here. It was so much fun,” exclaimed Sharoni.
While talking about sports on-camera might not have an obvious connection to spinning at a party, Sharoni presents a great point: “Really, you’re performing in the same sense that I am performing on camera now for a living. You’re interpreting, creating, delivering something, and hopefully entertaining and/or inspiring people.”
There is one thing that hosting doesn't provide her with, though. “The cool part about DJing, as opposed to television work on camera, is that you have a live audience to feed off of. There is NOTHING like that...it’s so exhilarating. I’m a very empathic person, in the sense that I feed off of other peoples’ energy and emotions. There is no place more energetic and emotional than a dance floor. The ability to feel that tangible, palpable energy, to resonate in perfect sync with an audience...that is REAL ecstasy,” said Sharoni. Her explanation of that tangible energy on the dance floor is something that dance music fans can certainly relate to. It is what has caused many people to fall in love with dance music.
The community's collective love of dance music has been influential in shaping many of us as people, and it's no different for Sharoni. “Dance music inspired me as a kid and still continues to inspire me. It moves my soul, makes my heart soar at times, and allows me to access and experience greater depth of emotion. I’m a pretty open and emotional person in general, in the sense that I am sensitive to energy. But anything that lets me access that even more—like music—makes me even happier. As an artist—I draw, paint, and sculpt—I need music. Can’t make art without music on. Dance music is always in my arsenal,” Sharoni says.
When asked about her favorite moment involving dance music, Sharoni had difficulty choosing one. Just like any other dance music fanatic, she agonized over narrowing her favorite memories down to just one or two. “I can’t think of one specific instance because I have sooooo many good memories! I really enjoyed my 'raver days' back in my late teens/early 20s, when I was just experiencing so much, meeting so many new people, being exposed to so many new sounds. Really an exciting time that helped me grow and change," says Sharoni. "I’m a people person. I love connecting with people—it’s essentially what I do for a living—and so I love that dance music allowed me to meet and connect with so many amazing people on such a deep level. You just vibe together. And I think that’s the cool thing about music in general—all music—it’s common ground that brings people together from all walks of life. With EDM...you get to DANCE together! That’s a primitive instinct. Humans have been dancing together since they could stand upright on two legs...a way to bond, a way to pray, a way to express themselves….”
Despite leading a very busy life, Sharoni still managed to create time in her schedule to attend one of the biggest dance music events in the world. "In October, I went to Amsterdam to stay with my friends, who are DJs. They headlined a few parties at ADE [Amsterdam Dance Event], which was amazing, and I encourage every single person to go to next year. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. I would move there in a heartbeat if there was viable work there for me. I love it. And ADE is just so cool….2,000 DJs descend upon Amsterdam and fans from all over the world to attend...It’s super chill, spread out across the beautiful city," says Sharoni.
With her love for dance music still going strong, it was important to ask what her favorite songs are. This question was understandably difficult to answer: "Dude. Seriously. I can’t even answer this because I am such a lover of so much, that I’m just all over the place with my 'favorites.' I’m prone to hyperbole—as an entertainer for a living, duh. Ask anyone who knows me. I’ll get really passionate about something—a song, a DJ, a food, an artist, a product—and I’ll go on and on about it and I truly do love it...but I’m like that with a lot. I just love to love. I love to immerse myself in what I enjoy, and that’s always changing.” As an alternative, she listed the songs she's been playing the most as of late.
Everything You Never Had (We Had It All) [Edited Version] - Breach ft. Andreya Triana [blast it in the car a lot…]
So Good To Me (Robaco Bossa Club Mix) - Chris Malinchak
Float Away - Yousef, The Angel
No One Gets Left Behind (Konstantin Sibold Remix) - DJ Yellow Flowers and Sea Creatures
Come Home - Alpha 9
Clear - Mia Dora
COOL (Ben Pearce Remix) - Le Youth
5 AM - Nick Arbor & Alana Aldea
Sinfonia Della Notte - Dennis Ferrer
I Wanna Feel Your Body - X-Kom [this song is sooooo sexy, I dare you to not be enticed when you hear it!]
When asked about her favorite DJs, Sharoni provided a great response: “Oh man, that’s like asking what my favorite color is. I love the rainbow. I love so many DJs, so much music. I’d have to name my friends, of course, but I also like plenty of others...thing is, there is a difference between DJs who are good live and DJs who produce amazing music in studio. Some do both really well, like Dennis Ferrer. Some are just incredible live, like Victor Calderone, who never disappoints. I met Yousef, founder of Circus Records, during an ADE party, and like Dennis Ferrer, I was so impressed with both his music, which he makes, and his DJ presence. Sam Divine spins some great sets, and I love that she’s a chick who can rock the tables. In general, Defected Records throws great parties and their DJs spin good sets. I really loved their presence at ADE.” Her answer made it clear that she's knowledgeable about the roles of DJs and producers in dance music. This was impressive since so many people who listen to dance music automatically assume someone is going to be a great DJ since they produced a few solid tracks. Some awesome producers can be terrible DJs, and some great DJs don't know how to produce a song.
The next show Sharoni plans on attending is one of the top festivals in the world. “I am now living in Miami Beach, so of course, Ultra/WMC is up next,” exclaims Sharoni. “Right down the street from me...I could ride my bike to the main stage! I’ll of course go see my buddy Dennis Ferrer, who'll get the place rockin' with some solid deep house."
Living in Miami has also helped rekindle one of her first loves. Sharoni says, “I would love to DJ again in the future. Funny, fate brought me down to Miami...obviously, a good home for EDM. If there’s a time to get back in to it, I guess it’s now, while I’m here!” However, there is one problem she faces: “Funny thing is, because I was spinning so long ago, all of my equipment is....ANALOG! Tons of vinyl too, which thankfully, we no longer need to lug around. Need to get hip to the current DJ setup.”
Dance music in the United States has undergone big changes since Sharoni was spinning back in college, so it was important to hear her thoughts on what dance music has become in America. She says, “I like that people are generally more 'open' to dance music genres, and I see it continuing to grow. But of course, with popularity comes more offerings, and with more offerings comes dilution of quality. It’s simply market economics, supply and demand, law of large numbers, etc. I’m a geek, sorry. Point is, there is a wider offering and more people participating, so greater variability in quality. That’s fine, though. Something for everyone. The cream always rises. People will parse out their preferences. So long as I can still access the good stuff! Sort of makes me nostalgic for the 'old days' when it was really a subculture and the term 'EDM' wasn’t even used...We were just 'raving,' so to speak—think about the etymology of that word for a moment, please. But, I’m the kind of person who embraces change, progress, and loves moving forward….To that end, I look forward to the evolution and growth of the genre.”
Dance music clearly means a lot to Sharoni, and she knows the effect it can have on people. She encourages everyone to “Let the music move you! Dance with love, smile, hug someone, yell and shout, express yourself, don’t let anything or anyone shut you down!”
This music literally changes people lives. With that in mind, Sharoni provided a quote from the poet, Rumi: “Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”