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Solarez can KJ and sing, too

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Name: Gene Solarez Age: 61 Family: Daughter Nicole Solarez, 29, of Rosevile City: Lincoln Job: IT consultant What do you do at Orchid Thai each week? I do the Friday night karaoke from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. I also do an occasional show at Sterling Cafe and some deejaying and karaoke at Sun City Lincoln Hills. What’s the official term for what you do with karaoke? In karaoke, the official term is KJ, for “karaoke jockey.” How long have you been KJ’ing? For the last year and a half but I’ve enjoyed singing karaoke since 1995. Is there anything challenging about KJ’ing? Getting a good crowd in can be a problem and getting enough people to support karaoke is a challenge. What do you like about doing karaoke deejaying? The biggest thing is I love music and always have. Growing up, I annoyed my family by humming and singing songs. I also enjoy meeting people. Do you sing? I do. I play guitar so I sing to myself. I also perform for a group called Morning Star and we perform at convalescent homes and senior residents. I do that without the words (not karaoke). What do you do for a living? Mostly these days, I do training as a technical instructor. I do work for Sun Microsystems, working with a system called Solaris. Sun was acquired by Oracle and I teach classes for Oracle. I’m an information technologist and I train people to use the hardware and software. What is rewarding about your job? Teaching people. It’s a very rewarding thing when the lights go off, when people get it. I’ve also traveled all over the world, to Sydney, Australia and Germany, all over the United States and to Canada. How did you decide what you wanted to do? I’ve always like music and was always tinkering with amplifiers. I thought it would be a good idea to get a degree in electronics. I got recruited by Hewlett Packard where I was a technician and so I worked in manufacturing. I kind of liked it. My intent was to be a recording engineer, and with karaoke, I work with equipment to make people sound their best. Do you like living in Lincoln? I consider this my home. I moved to Lincoln in 2007. I enjoyed the idea of the open space in Lincoln and that it hasn’t gotten crazy like Los Angeles or Sacramento. It’s a much quieter lifestyle. Where did you grow up? I’m a native Californian and grew up in the Los Angeles area. I moved to Arizona for school and then I was recruited by Hewlett Packard to work in Silicon Valley.