The Jetsetter Series is Victorinox Travel Gear’s ongoing conversation with some of the world’s most fascinating people where we discuss our favorite subject: travel. This month we had a chance to catch up with Michaelangelo L’Acqua, Global Director of Music at W Hotels. After more than five years with W Hotels, Michaelangelo has racked up some serious frequent flyer miles DJing for crowds all over the world. Read on to learn more about his career and where it has taken him.
1. Tell us a bit about what you do as Global Director of Music at W Hotels.
W Hotels has a deep passion for music embedded in their DNA. My role as Global Music Director is to create the musical touch points that represent the soundtrack to their lifestyle and brand values. I oversee the music that plays in the hotel, produce their compilations, run their international DJ series and produce the live concert series. W’s mission statement is “New and Next” so I am constantly reading trends and curating the best parts that represent a W point of view.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
3. How did you get started in music?
Music has always been a part of who I am. At age six I started playing violin and went on to attend The Manhattan School of Music for most of my childhood. I eventually graduated college with a degree in Jazz Performance from the New School. I transitioned into becoming a music producer creating works for major record labels and TV as well as fashion runway shows in Milan, Paris and New York. After 15 years of scoring and performing music, I acquired a unique set of skills that has allowed me to create an unconscious emotional connection between the individual and their environment through music. This is what has led me to working with W Hotels.
4. Do you remember your first experience receiving a positive reaction from a crowd?
At age 9 I performed my first solo violin concert. At that moment I discovered that music was a way I could communicate beyond the thoughts in my head expressed though words. I’ve been doing this ever since.
Yes, very much. For years, I produced music for fashion shows in Europe and most of my travel was to and from Milan, Paris and London. I am now entering my fifth year working with W, and since I started, I have probably racked up nearly a million miles of air travel. Brand expansion in Asia has been a focus for W since I joined the team and I have had the amazing fortune to spend a lot of time throughout that region visiting most of the countries that I only dreamed of experiencing in my life.
6. How many of the more than 70 W Hotels locations have you visited? Which was your favorite?
I’ve hit my fair share of W’s throughout the world, including Asia, Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Russia and North America. My all time favorites are: Barcelona, Koh Samui, Bali, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Chile, Paris, Verbier and South Beach.
7. How do you ensure that you’re carrying your gear securely but still doing it in style?
Travel gear that gives you the ultimate freedom to move at lightening speed without hassle is key to a life on the road. I am obsessed with trying to stick more stuff in a small suitcase that weights less and less each time. Many years ago I was hit with an overweight luggage charge (400 Euro extra, while the ticket was only 45 Euro.) Ever since, I have been on a mission to never again face such overages.
A short while later, a dear friend of mine gifted me some Victorinox hardside luggage and it changed my life. I have been obsessed with it ever since. Hardside, duffle bags, carry-ons, computer cases, backpacks – you name it, I’ve got it. I’m now like George Clooney in “Up In The Air,” no award miles ever left on the table. There is no better feeling than when you grab your bag from the luggage carrousel and everyone looks at you with luggage envy.
I always keep headphones (noise cancelling) USB phone chargers, laptop, eye mask, ear plugs, hand sanitizer, water and a good book for when I’ve watched every movie they have on the plane.
9. What’s on your travel playlist?
I’m currently loving the albums from London Grammar and Banks.
Below, you can listen to a travel playlist put together by Michaelangelo that include London Grammar and Banks! Or click here to listen
10. Where do you find creative inspiration?
I find creative inspiration through human engagement. I’ve been blessed to meet so many individuals who are extremely passionate about what they do. Our cultural backgrounds might differ, but the passion to challenge ourselves, overcome and express your voice to the word remains constant. Creativity then becomes a byproduct of these experiences as these moments and people make me want to grow and be better in everything that I do.
11. What are some interesting musical preferences/differences you’ve noticed playing for crowds around the globe?
I’ve watched over and over and over again how people become one moving organism when they feel music at their core. There are no differences or preferences between individuals when they are feeling music and letting themselves go. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been apart of – especially when the source of the music is coming from one’s own hand.
12. Do you have to cater specifically to different crowds or do you try and get them into new music?
I’m all about new music and educating people with it. Watching their reactions when they hear something for the first time is amazing.
Well I’ve just come back from a dream trip in Asia. Bangkok, Maldives, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi Don. Next up is a U.S. run. SXSW in Austin, Winter Music Conference in Miami, IMS Enage in LA and a live concert with Alunageorge in San Francisco. In the Spring I head to Cannes to work with amfAR, followed by Ibiza for International Music Summit.