Best silky smooth voice on the radio

Tristen Mayes

KDEE deejay Tristen Mayes plays grown-up music for grown-up folks.

KDEE deejay Tristen Mayes plays grown-up music for grown-up folks.

Photo by Adam Emilio

“Real” music for grown folks is played over the radio waves, thanks to the deejays at 97.5 FM KDEE—and there's one silky-smooth voice in particular that gets people moving in the morning: Tristen Mayes.

Mayes hosts his Midday Cafe show weekdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., where he plays the likes of R&B and old-school, funk, gospel and jazz for dedicated listeners, who call up and speak to him as if he’s an old friend or family member.

The relationship Mayes builds with the station’s listeners is what makes him truly genuine as a radio personality. And if you ask him just what is grown folks’ music? He’ll tell you in that same laid-back tone that gets listeners all giddy in the a.m: “Real music. Real instruments. Real artists. The music that we grew up with that actually was more a part of your fabric of life as opposed to the stuff there is now,” Mayes said. “So we as grown folks, we know Earth, Wind & Fire, we know all of Motown. These aren’t just songs on the radio, it’s how we live.”

Mayes has worked on the air for 20 years in various forms, playing music and covering sports, news and traffic. He even played some country music at one station. In all, he boasts about 30 different stations on his résumé in cities such as Philadelphia and San Francisco. Now, as program director for KDEE, Mayes—along with his soulful voice—is tailor-made for radio.

“I don’t care how your life started out, how crazy things got, if you stay focused and do what you love to do, you can experience some successes and some joys,” Mayes said. “It’s a pleasure gettin’ up on Monday morning to go do the show as opposed to a lot of people not having that same joy on Monday morning. My thing is, find some joy in what you do, or do something that gives you some joy.”