When you have a passion for something, you pursue it with all your energy, blood, sweat and tears. Ethan Horace — aka Mr. Music — has been following his passion for music, broadcasting and journalism for quite some time. This year, Horace’s work paid off.
In February 2017, Horace won the Journalism Award at The Beautiful Humans Awards Show held at the Women’s Club of Minneapolis. The award is given to individuals who have played an out-sized role in shaping the Twin Cities entertainment industry, including fashion, music, journalism, photography and production. “To me it’s like the People’s Choice Awards of Minnesota,” Horace said.
Horace reported to the MSR that he has covered almost every major event around Minnesota, from live performances to marches and interviews as well. “They told me I was nominated. I wasn’t expecting to win. It was interesting, because somebody else from KFAI also won a trophy, so KFAI brought home two trophies that night.”
Horace recalls how his passion began in 2013 while attending the Institute of Production and Recording (IPR). “I emailed 1,000 pieces to like record labels, radio stations, trying to fit in somewhere. Out of all the people I emailed, an internet radio station called Sotapop Radio contacted me for an internship. I was recording podcasts from my room. That’s how it all started.”
As time passed, Horace had the capability and wherewithal to invite and interview a guest the owner had been trying to get for two years. The owner asked Horace how he got him on the show and liked the answer. Horace became program director.
“A few other students at IPR and me were full-time students. We did 75 interviews in 90 days, so the generation buzzed. After me and the Sotapop owner fell out, I went over to KFAI.”
Since joining KFAI, he has done the Power Hour show with DJ Enferno, and has also created his own internet station called MNTC Radio. The station covers events such as SoundSet, the X Games, Timberwolves games, etc. “One thing about Black Press is they kind of stick to the genre [our music and culture]. I cover all events of all genres.”
Currently, Horace has his show, the Power Hour 2.0. He is also on WFNU FM with Power Hour 1.0, MTNC Radio with a show called the Money Music Mix Up, and he is involved as an underwriter for KMOJ.
Originally from Staten Island by way Rhode Island and Liberia, Horace makes his rounds in other nearby cities such as Chicago to cover events because of its bigger market. “We worked on the Chicago Comedy Field Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival. I really like to travel,” Horace said.
“I like going to film and music festivals. Interviewing celebrities is cool, but I like to get the one-on-one connection with the people about their struggle.”
Horace did not have an easy road getting to where he is now. “I was a knucklehead when I was younger,” he recalled. “I was always locked up, and my mom always had to leave her job to get me from school.
”I did, however, show signs that I would be involved in radio. I had stacks and shoe boxes of cassettes of my favorite songs from the East Coast to here. When 2pac came out with changes, I recorded it from KMOJ.
“That was my favorite thing to do as a child. I would listen to the radio for hours. I didn’t know until I was about 29 that I would be doing this seriously.”
Horace is a fan of several genres. “I’m from the East Coast, so I love hip hop. But I like rock and roll. I still like Smashing Pumpkins and Oasis.
“When I was in school, cats would make fun of me, wondering why I was listening to Nickelback, or Linkin Park. Everything from R&B, the lyrics will be from country songs or classics from the ’60s and ’70s. That’s how I got the name Mr. Music.”
Horace says letting people get their voices heard drives him. “When you’re interviewing an artist or somebody about their business, they’re getting [their] voice heard locally and around the world. It’s a way of helping people.”
Helping others get their voices heard keeps him going. “It’s an outlet for me.”
One of the most vivid memories Horace has is when he had an R&B artist, King Reckless, on the air. “They told me I was the first person to let artists drop their mix tapes on air. We got a lot of calls, and he felt really good about it.”
Horace hopes to further his radio career on a national level. “Radio is one of those areas where it is hard to get paid right away; it’s hard to even get through the door. It’s OK to have your hands in more than one entity, but make sure you’re mastering one craft before you go to the other.”
Ivan B. Phifer welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ivan B. Phifer is contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at email@example.com