Long one of the premiere out circuit DJs in America, Tony Moran calls Dallas home
SCOTT HUFFMAN | Contributing Writer
When Tony Moran attended Dallas’ Purple Party last month, it was from, for him, a most unusual vantage point. The legendary mix master was not posted at the DJ booth, spinning a continuous mix of thundering dance anthems — which he has done in the past — but from a crowded dance floor, moving to the beats with all the other revelers.
“I took the day off and went to Purple Party,” Moran says. “They were like, ‘What are you doing here?!’ and I was like, ‘I live here, beeyotch!’”
Moran, a native New Yorker, met his partner, a Dallas resident, 10 years ago during Memorial Day weekend. The pair, both with careers requiring frequent travel, began a long distance relationship. They found, however, that arranging their hectic schedules to make time for each other grew cumbersome.
“We were just like, ‘Well, I’m living in New York and you are living in Dallas,’” Moran says. “The commuting thing is driving us both crazy, and we both travel for a living. It became so complicated, we decided to integrate.”
The two settled in an Uptown high-rise with a view of the Dallas skyline. Their home offers many of the amenities a New Yorker like Moran might expect. And, though he owns a car, Moran enjoys the fact that he can — as he did in New York City — walk to many of the places he regularly visits.
“The upside is, I found a place that makes me feel comfortable,” Moran says. “I had become accustomed over all these years to things that bring me joy: seeing people … seeing energy … basically appreciating oxygen, whether it’s full of carbon dioxide or not. I love to walk. Since I got the car — like, four years now — I’ve probably put only 1,000 miles on it.”
Uptown’s proximity to DFW International Airport was also a big selling point. With a career spent migrating from one metropolis to another, headlining major dance events, Moran is a longtime member of the million-miler club; the superstar DJ estimates he has logged around five million air miles throughout his career. In fact, LGBT Pride month is a peak time for the in-demand spin doctor. And Moran views Pride celebrations as special opportunities to use the power of music to unify an often-splintered LGBT community.
“We, as gay people, kind of have this caste system that can be based on social background or economic background,” Moran says. “It doesn’t mean we are judgmental as gay people, it just means we have these little walls. For some reason, a magical thing happens [during Pride celebrations] and everyone is transformed to not giving a damn about walls. They embrace each other.”
A Grammy-nominated producer, Moran also intends to continue writing and releasing original tracks under his record label, Mr. Tanman Music. He built a recording studio in his new home and currently is networking with an area vocal coach in hopes of auditioning local talent. Of course, Moran will also keep working with revered dance divas like Martha Wash and Kimberly Davis and male dance vocalist Jason Walker. All are artists with whom he has produced several recent No. 1 Billboard dance hits.
“I love recording females,” Moran says. “I’m a divas boy. All these people like Cher, Celine Dion, Patty LaBelle and Deborah Cox … that’s what I am so comfortable in. But there are so many guys who are so talented out there. It’s kind of my mission to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake. He’s a wonderful talent, he’s a wonderful spirit.”
Moran credits his gay fans for the longevity of his DJ career, and he is grateful to be doing what he loves. Yet he understands that, as an entertainer, he is only as good as his last show, a fact that keeps him busy scouting new music and creating entertaining mash-ups of the classics. Moran’s undying mission is to spread the gospel of dance.
“I think some people believe — because of lack of information, not of ignorance — that [DJs] are all recyclable and interchangeable,” Moran says. “That’s all fine. The fact that you have a good time while you are there does not require you to know who I am. I did my job in that case. I’m not a priest looking for a congregation, I just want to be somebody with good message.”