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Black Tie Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 3 months ago

Renaissance Man

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Nati Shabbat is bringing a higher quality of sound to Sarasota.
by: Harry Sayer Black Tie Reporter

Though he’s a partner with McCarver & Moser Jewelers in downtown Sarasota, Nati Shabbat wanted to conduct our interview on the pool area on the roof. The immediate reasons are obvious — it’s quiet, looks nice, and has a great view of the Sarasota Bay — but it speaks to something else about the 34-year-old entrepreneur's mindset. Shabbat has a certain penchant for vision and knowing what comes next, a constant eye on the horizon. Not a bad place to discuss his what led him to Sarasota, and his plans for what’s next. 

“Every target that I have in my life I’ve managed to achieve,” Shabbat said. 

He has a new target these days. Shabbat has moved on from exclusively focusing on jewelry to a career in event music. 

Around The World

Despite being raised in Israel, it was never Shabbat’s plan to remain in the homeland. After finishing his three years serving in the Israel Defense Forces, Shabbat headed to America, Michigan in particular, to “live the dream.”

“I knew I’d be something, I knew there was a big future ahead of me,” Shabbat said. “It’s something I’ve kept building up.”

His first job here required constant travel, and Shabbat estimates he’s lived in 40 states across the country, staying in some places only a couple months. He’s fond of Greenwich, Conneticut and Louisville, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey, but his favorite places he’s lived are tropical, beach-y areas. There’s a simplicity to living in places like Hawaii that he finds appealing, less of a focus on thinking and more on just being. It’s something that attracted him to Sarasota. 

“I’m very connected to the water,” Shabbat said. “Where there’s water, I want to live there for the rest of my life … I wanted to see what (St. Armand’s) looked like and I fell in love with the bay, with the water. I love peace, and it’s peaceful here.”

He opened a skin care business in St. Armands in 2011, and was around this time where he met his future husband Roland Moser, a Swiss watch maker and business owner. Shabbat soon sold his shares in that business and moved to New York to learn more about the jewelry industry.

That avenue proved prosperous with the couple running the jewelry store ever since. Shabbat and Moser opened their current location in downtown Sarasota two years ago. 

The Sound (Quality) of Music

Still, there was more to do and more to see, and Shabbat began considering his next venture. Being one of 11 family members pushed Shabbat to find his own way and make his own money, but music was always his first love, and not one that has faded over time. Once their St. Armands store closed, Shabbat used that time to spare to pursue his music dream. That dream comes in the form of SRQ Beats, Shabbat’s concert event company that has been putting on parties in Sarasota for about a year now.

“Music brings people together, like Madonna said,” Shabbat says. “When the BPM synchronizes with your heartbeat, you have to move your shoulders on the dance floor. It’s something inside all of us.

You’ve likely seen Shabbat and SRQ Beats at shows with Circus Arts Conservatory, The Ringling, the Jewish Federation, CAN Community Health and other groups. Beyond the local scene, the company has put on shows at Burning Man in Nevada. 

The end goal is to put on smaller but consistent parties with dance music once a month at different business venues across Sarasota. The events are broadcast live, with a recorded version being released on SRQ Beat’s YouTube channel a week later. 

“A party can’t have one typical kind of song,” he said. “It has to have different elements that create their own vibe on the floor, it’s how people give each other energy when they see them dancing.”

It’s a deceptively complicated industry but he’s familiar with. Growing up in Israel provided Shabbat with a unique opportunity — the chance to run help organize parties in a nightclub in Tel Aviv when he was just 14. 

“A wedding in Israel technically is a party,” Shabbat said. “A minimum of five to seven hundred people. Israel is smaller than Florida as a country, which is funny, but the parties we have there are top of the world. Tel Aviv is one big nightclub.”

He was the sound guy and after-party DJ for these events, as well as the go-to guy for organizing parties and DJ’ing at his school in Israel. He says that little by little, he began to make a name for himself. There wasn’t much money in it at that time, but it taught him an appreciation of lighting, sound systems, and the overall craft that he’s kept with him for years. It’s a level of experience he thinks makes SRQ Beats stand out. 

“The priority is the quality of the sound and the music. People think a couple speakers can do the job when they need professionals who have comfort with sounds that aren’t screaming or annoying, and you can still (hear it) while speaking with your friend at the bar. Sound men know how to do that. People steal music from Youtube … but the quality when you play it on speakers is horrible.”

He’s passionate about the subject. Nothing frustrates Shabbat quite like when a company spends money on an event’s decorations and not on the sound systems. Success in this field is a tricky thing to measure for Shabbat, SRQ Beats is continuing to host events this year across Sarasota and he hopes to have a more consistent schedule as time goes on. On a more immediate level, though, he still feels the thrill seeing people letting it all out on the dance floor. It's a unique kind of success. 

“A successful party with a full dance floor with people understanding music can make you release your anger. Everyone has their own luggage, whether it’s a husband, a kid, a family, a wife. We all want to release it.

Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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