This week I’m excited to introduce you to Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy a musical curator and educator who founded the international listening event and classic album platform Classic Album Sundays. I was lucky to meet Colleen when we were on a vinyl panel at Warner Music last year and I immediately knew I wanted to have her be a part of the blog.
In addition to Classic Album Sundays, Colleen is also an international vinyl-based DJ, mentored by her late friend, the legendary David Mancuso who founded his Loft parties in 1970 and who inspired her obsession with audiophile sound. She is also a radio host and broadcaster currently on Worldwide FM and BBC 6 Music, and writes articles on music and sound.
How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?
My first transistor radio which I got for Christmas at the age of 7 in 1975. When I first put it on, Silver Convention’s ‘Fly Robin Fly’ was playing. Growing up outside of Boston I had access to some great radio stations including WBCN, KISS 108 and loads of incredible college radio stations like WBRU and WERS. I had my first radio show when I was 14 on our 10-watt high school radio station WHHB have hosted a radio show for nearly every year for my entire life. When I was 16 I got an after school job in a record shop and that is where I expanded my musical horizons.
What is a day in the life like?
I’m very fortunate in that each day is different. I travel a lot around the world as a DJ and the next few weeks I will be in Italy, New York City, Hong Kong, Croatia, and a few festivals in the UK where I have lived for the last 20 years.
I’m always working on a few radio shows such as my series This Woman’s Work which spotlights classic albums by women, my Classic Album Sundays Worldwide docs for Worldwide FM, my Sounds of a City series for BBC 6 Music and my dance radio show Cosmodelica on Worldwide FM. And four days of the week I’m in the Classic Album Sundays office creating content, brainstorming new ideas or hosting live artist interviews with people like Sister Sledge, John Grant, Nitin Sawhney and many more at special Classic Album Sundays events. Its great as I get to indulge all of my musical passions.
What has been your favorite / the coolest thing you’ve worked on?
I can’t choose one but if I can choose three its:
- Developing Classic Album Sundays from a monthly record club in my friend’s pub to an internationally recognized platform.
- Hosting radio docs on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 4 and Public Radio International
- Working with my late friend David Mancuso
What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?
Figuring out a way to make a living as I have pretty much worked for myself for most of my adult life.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?
Learn from the best and follow the beat of your own drummer.
Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?
I started collecting in my mid-teens after my father gave me a hand-me-down GE Trimline portable record player for my own bedroom. Boston had a lot of great second hand record stores like Nuggets, Planet Records and Looney Tunes and I used to go in for the day and discover records that looked cool or that I had heard about the in UK press. Then when I got a job at Strawberries Records and Tapes in 1984 I became an avid record collector.
What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.
I just love how people are returning to vinyl. I think streaming is here to stay and will be the main medium through which people will listen to and discover new music. However, die-hard music fans will still want a physical format and I think vinyl is the physical format that will persevere especially as high resolution downloads will eventually replace the CD. Plus, vinyl when mastered and pressed correctly can sound incredible.
Being a DJ and with your involvement in so many types of music what is your favorite thing to listen to?
I don’t have a favorite musical genre although I find myself listening to jazz more and more. I also listen to the music blasting out of my teenage daughter’s room and there is a lot of great music coming out from younger people – its inspiring. There’s always great music being made – you just have to find it.
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