Bobby Shaw interview podcast hosted by Lenny Fontana # 103

True House Stories interview podcast hosted by Lenny Fontana

Feb 16 2023 • 2 hrs 2 mins

Bobby Shaw's start in dance music began in 1977 as a bartender in the highly successful discotheque, The Barefoot Boy.
There he became close friends with DJ Tony Smith and was fortunate to experience and hear the likes of disc jockeys Roy Thode, Vince Michaels, Larry Sanders, and Wayne Scott, to name a few. During this tenure, he also got to know dance promoters such as Ray Caviano, Ken Friedman, Billy Smith, Alan Mamber, Starr Arning, and Rita Heyer. In 1978, Shaw's passion for music led him to seek a job within the dance community and he was able to land a mail room position for Ray Caviano at TK Records.
While at the label, Shaw assisted on notable acts as Voyage, Peter Brown, The Ritchie Family, T Connection, Beautiful Bend, KC and The Sunshine Band, Jimmy "Bo" Horne, Anita Ward, and Bobby Caldwell.Bobby's old mentor, Ray Caviano, was rewarded with a custom dance label, RFC Records, which was distributed through Warner Bros. Records and Shaw joined him in 1979 as a regional promotion person. Although Caviano was later dismissed from his role, Shaw stayed on at WB until 1984. While there, he promoted future dance music classics from Gino Soccio, Change, Kraftwerk, Laid Back (discovering and mixing the classic 12" White Horse), The Time, Prince, Chaka Khan, Patti Austin, Janice McClain, Stargard, Talking Heads, and the Tom Tom Club. Perhaps most noteworthy though was his relationship with Madonna as he helped guide her through the early stages of her career with Michael Rosenblatt and Mark Kamins.
Shaw helped set up Madonna's early club gigs and was her promotion person for the early masterpieces Everybody, Physical Attraction, Holiday, and Burning Up. In 1984, MCA Records' executives Richard Palmese and Jheryl Busby took notice of Shaw's work at Warner Brothers and they created a national dance music promotion manager's position for him.
He remained there until 1998 and during that time span he became the first corporate vice president of dance music promotion at any label. Shaw's experience was the backbone for bringing such luminaries as Elton John, Patti LaBelle, Dan Hartman, Bronski Beat, New Edition, Stephanie Mills, Fine Young Cannibals, The Jets, Londonbeat, Colonel Abrams, and Tracy Lords to the dance floors of the world. In addition, Shaw became the only record company executive to ever win the AIR competition as he took that honor in 1986.
In 1999, Shaw started his own promotion company, Bobby Shaw Promotions and he is doing it still today. As well he is involved with a Weekly Twitch Show under the name BobbyPromo.
His shows are quite delightful and each show is like a history lesson when you listen to the music he chooses and you experience watching him.