THE MAX FACTOR
In which our man at the turntables,, cruises the Croatian coast before sharing the stage with a Black Eyed Pea
THE BUSY MONTH of April kicked off with a whirlwind trip to Europe, the highlight being a two-day layover in Croatia to visit my old pal Jeremy Ng, who recently became the Asian agent for the newly launched Art of Kinetik superyachts. Not only was I given a sneak preview, I was also treated to an afternoon cruise along the Dalmatian coast aboard a 19-metre Hedonist yacht. I have to say it’s a truly awesome feat of engineering and an absolute beast of a boat, combining flawless design with space-age technology that culminates in the ultimate ride. I had to pinch myself on several occasions just to remind me that we were in the 21st century rather than the 25th!
It’s certainly easy to imagine these maritime monsters cruising the waters around Hong Kong, and though they’re currently on show in the Med and haven’t yet ventured as far as Asia, I was assured that they’ll be making an appearance later this year, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress.
Once my Adriatic adventures were concluded I had to head straight back to LA for my next engagement. This time I’d been booked to play at the highly prestigious X Prize Foundation event, where I’d be performing alongside none other than Grammy-award-winning artist and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.
The X Prize Foundation was founded in 1995 as a non-profit organization that gathers together some of the most prominent minds in business, science and industry to solve some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. It does so by creating and managing high-profile prize competitions that stimulate radical research and development breakthroughs in vital fields, far more valuable than the actual prizes themselves. The foundation is best known for launching the private spaceflight industry through the US$10 million Ansari X Prize, and also for accelerating the ultra- fuel-efficient vehicle market with the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. It has also focused on oil-spill disasters through the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Challenge, which offers $1.4 million to anyone who can assist and accelerate the removal of seawater surface oil resulting from leakages from tankers, rigs and other sources.
The event was held at Fox Studios, where more than 100 CEOs, philanthropists, White House staff and innovators in the fields of science and business gathered for a weekend forum, culminating in a dinner to honour X Prize fellow and acclaimed Oscar-winning director James Cameron. Of course, I felt privileged to be rubbing shoulders with such dignitaries and was very excited at the prospect of performing for them.
As the sun began to set over the legendary film studios, the guests began to arrive for welcome cocktails in the grounds, before moving inside for dinner. Naturally, the boffins were eager to exchange ideas, so I made sure to keep the music light and atmospheric, lest it drown out their conversation.
Dinner was followed by a series of speeches introduced by the co-host and chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, who welcomed guests and presented a short movie highlighting some of the work and progress of the X Prize Foundation. Then James Cameron took to the stage and blew the audience away with a powerful and heartfelt speech about many of the problems facing mankind today, and his own personal journey into the field of philanthropy.
Once the speeches were over it was time to boogie, so I opened up the dance floor before handing over the reins to will.i.am, who’d come straight from his brother’s wedding, having left early specifically so that he could be here to lend his support to such a worthwhile and beneficent cause.
For the remainder of the evening, he kept the packed floor rocking and delivered a cavalcade of his own hits, mixed with a selection of crowd-pleasers past and present. I have to say that in a world of ego-driven celebrities, it was inspiring to see someone who’d been blessed with such good fortune being eager to give back so selflessly. Narcissists, please take note!