We had the good fortune of connecting with Amir Al-Qadaffi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amir, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
What’s the end goal? The end goal for me is to ultimately be fulfilled by my work and my life. I want to live a life on my terms, but also live a life of meaning. A life that is of service to others, a life that gives back, a life filled with grace, gratitude, and fun. I have been fortunate to find that in most of the work I have done for my adult life, whether it was tour managing rock bands, teaching coding and beat making to kids, or in my pre-pandemic career as a DJ which I did for most of the last decade. By the end of my career I want to have helped musicians of all types, DJs, rappers, bands make moves towards their goals and further their growth and their prosperity. As entertainers and as people. I think that there may be a gap of mentorship with these acts. It takes a lot to get noticed and even more to get competent help that won’t take advantage of you. There is a big gap between the ands that are selling out A markets and in tour buses and the guys that are just getting started with regional touring and shows in 15-passenger vans or Bandwagons. I would love to fill that gap by drawing on my experience in the entertainment industry and offering that guidance without the constraints of a traditional client/management relationship.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Whether it’s me performing a set, helping a band make it to stage, or giving someone a cool sticker to slap on to something. I’d like to think what sets my work apart from most is the ethic I bring into it all. I like to use all of these seemingly disparate endeavors to form communities, and ultimately to help people. People are the resource, and not in a commodity way but in a we are all sharing this existence way so why not be of service to each other, and if I can eke out a living doing that then all the better! I am most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to do what I want to do mostly on my terms. That has often meant making less money but I value freedom, experiences, and time over most things including money.
Nothing about my path to where I am today has been easy, it’s been full of challenges, but I wouldn’t change any of it. In my mid 20s I was jaded with my sales job even though it was providing an awesome living for a single man in Richmond, VA. I essentially quit and went on the road with a rock band, learning the ropes of tour managing via trial by fire. After a few years on the road with different bands I found myself back at home barely making ends meet and I fell into DJing sort of by accident. DJ’ing led to me teaching beat making and computer coding to children at a non-profit’s summer camp which led to me becoming their Community Engagement Director. Through all of that I was still DJing and planning and promoting parties as my primary job, which I was doing right up until the pandemic lockdowns of Spring 2020.
My approach to challenges is knowing that I can conquer any challenge that comes my way, for me that confidence is most of the battle. Along with that I like to try to step back and analyze every situation and come up with a solution that works best for everyone. Oftentimes that takes compromise, and sometimes the solution is unpopular, or difficult. Along the way I’ve learned to conduct myself in a way that makes people want to work with me. For me that means setting proper expectations, showing up on time, doing a great job and doing it consistently, and most importantly being pleasant to be around people often forget that one especially in entertainment. It’s not always easy to do all of those things, and I sometimes fall short of my own standards, but there can be lessons for me to take to the next thing in that. Some lessons I’ve learned are that it’s ok to fail, you have to give yourself the grace you’d extend to others, it’s ok to say no, never take a job just for money, sometimes the best decision will be the unpopular one and that’s fine, and it’s okay to say “I don’t understand this” and to ask questions.
What I want the world to know about my brand is also what I want the world to know about me, there is no set path to fulfillment or success, but helping others, focusing on community, and remembering not to take life too seriously, can be on that path.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was afraid you’d ask me this! Most of my time here has unfortunately been during the pandemic so I’m not that great with what’s going on locally, My wife has an iPhone note with a laundry list of options for any kind of fun you’d want to have in San Diego. We are still working our way down the list but I know I’d take my friends on a tour through our Mission Hills neighborhood first as I love a lot of the houses here. They’re pretty different architecturally to what I’m used to on the East Coast and there are some that I really like. Then we would stop at Heart Work my favorite local coffee spot owned and staffed by some lovely people who were my first friends here. If it’s a weekend I would have to take them to a car meet, either Rancho Santa Fe or South OC Cars and Coffee. I’m an absolute car fanatic and I love the scene out here. There’s something for everyone. Next would have to be a trip to Balboa Park, the Prado, the Butterfly Garden, I really enjoy just going out and walking around that area. Then maybe some shopping at Fashion Valley before a light lunch and spritz at Zinque, before strolling around Little Italy and then it would be time for my afternoon coffee at Bird Rock. For nightlife there are so many options especially as we re-awaken. I haven’t gotten to do much as far as that goes (RIP Blonde Bar also) but in a perfect world I would be vibing and grooving at a Booty Bassment party into the late night.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shout out to my wife for her endless love and support as I endeavor to grow into this next phase of my life, and for setting a great example of what a successful unconventional entrepreneur can look like. Along with my wife there are too many people to name, so many people have had an impact on me and shaped the way I maneuver, operate, and look at life. If I get into naming names I may forget someone! I’d also like to thank anyone that has befriended my in the little time I’ve been in San Diego. Community is important to me and I really value the bonds I’ve made in San Diego so far.