Paul Blair, aka DJ White Shadow, has performed for millions around the globe and worked alongside A-listers like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. But no matter where his career has taken him, the Grammy-winning producer’s heart has always been in Chicago.
This year, the Evanston native serves as co-chair of the eighth annual Ping Pong Ball, the anticipated fundraising event for the Jackson Chance Foundation, which provides complimentary parking passes to families with children in the neonatal intensive care unit at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital and Rush University Children’s Hospital. Here, Blair fills us in on his close connection to the nonprofit, his pingpong predictions and the next move in his dynamic career. Nov. 10, Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St.
Why are you so passionate about the Jackson Chance Foundation?
I have two wonderful children that were born prematurely. Their mother and I experienced firsthand the incredible challenge of having to visit our newborns in the NICU. The cost of parking was so high when my twins were in the NICU years ago that I actually rode my bike. I can’t imagine what the costs are now. Most people don’t know when a loved one is hospitalized that there are so many related costs, besides medical bills, including parking. Anything I can contribute to helping another family find ease in the incredibly stressful times of getting to spend those days with your newborn, I am extremely honored to be a part of.
What can we expect from this year’s Ping Pong Ball?
I am pretty sure you can count on me embarrassing [co-chair and former Chicago Bear] Jerry Azumah in pingpong. I can’t outrun him, I can barely hold a football, and I am not nearly as handsome or charming, but I plan on taking him down at the Ping Pong Ball.
How can Chicagoans support the Jackson Chance Foundation?
The Jackson Chance Foundation is a great cause and even a little bit can be a big help. Buy a ticket to Ping Pong Ball and watch me destroy Jerry Azumah as I rip my shirt off, Hulk Hogan 1998 style! Visit jacksonchance.org to make an impact for NICU families.
Your career takes you all over the world. What do you miss most about Chicago when you’re gone?
Besides my family, the city of Chicago is the stage that the show of my life is set on. Most of my best friends in L.A., Miami and New York are from Chicago, and we wouldn’t be who we are without this city. Chicago is the best city in the U.S. and filled with some of the best people on the planet.
You’re beginning a new professional chapter in producing and scoring films. What do you enjoy most about that creative process?
There are three scripts out now that I am sure will all be on the screen in the next few years. I’m working with some incredible actors like Rosario Dawson and Isabela Merced, as well as Will.i. am and Kenan Thompson, and my brother, Evan Ross. I fell in love with the idea of making a big-budget picture from a script after working on A Star Is Born. I won a Grammy for that soundtrack, and now I am going to chase the big EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award) dream. Heck, I am already one quarter of the way there! I kid—but I just want to do great things with my friends.
Photography by: PHOTO BY JESSICA CZARNECKI