Buoyed by the success of the Matt Warren’s critically acclaimed Nu-House classic, Music Is My Life, Wake Up! Music’s founder and creative director MyMy Lady G aka House vocalist Pepper Gomez, decided that the Chicago-Miami based label’s next project would be an album of remixes. This, she decided wasn’t going to be just another remix album.
Instead, some of the world’s top DJs were invited to remix a track from Music Is My Life. Calls went out to the legendary John Morales, Brooklyn’s very own DJ Spinna, international man of mystery Al Kent, and the Chicago-based triumvirate of Ralphi Rosario, DJ Lil Tal and Marcus Mixx. They were joined by Texan DJ “That Dude Dom” Dominic Sustaita as well as up-and-coming DJs James Flowers and Michael A. Garza. These nine DJs play a starring role on Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall Of Sound Volume 1: Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life, which is the first installment in a new and exciting series of Nu-Music from Wake Up! Music which is sure to become the fuel of the parties, dance floors and lives of DJs, dancers and music fans the world over.
The ten remixes find the nine DJs at the top of their game, breathing new life into the tracks on Music Is My Life. Opening Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall Of Sound Volume 1: Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life is Ralphi Rosario a recent convert to NuHouse, who teases the listener with his Big Love Radio Remix of How Do I Love Thee that features a coquettish vocal from the legendary house diva Pepper Gomez. After that, it’s time for take off, and the DJ Spinna Galactic Soul Remix of The Way to My Heart, before disco meets house on what’s an amazing remix from New York’s very own John Morales. The John Morales M+M Mix once again finds Pepper Gomez’s vocal plays a starring role on a track that was one of the highlights of Music Is My upon its release.
Get On Up which topped the DRT Indie Charts in December 2018, is reinvented on the Thank God It’s Tal Remix which is oh so funky, and dancefloor friendly. So is the That Dude Dom Club Mix of Going Deeper which is a call to dance, just like the James Flowers Remix of Musica Es Mi Vida.
The Marcus Mixx Remix of Bang The Box brings back memories of the Acid House days, and convoys of cars trapping round the countryside looking for a likely venue for a rave. Adding a Latin flavour is Michael A Garza’s Deep Future Mix Extended, before the Al Kent Mix of Sometimes finds Scotland’s disco king showing his versatility with a trancey, lysergic and very Nu sounding track. Bookending the album is Ralphi Rosario’s anthemic Big Love Remix of How Do I Love Thee, which is a guaranteed floorfiller and future favourite of dancers everywhere.
From Chicago to Cologne, and from Miami to Munich and Lisbon to London, Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall Of Sound Volume 1: Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life will be on sale in all good record shops and is the only remix album of Nu-Music you’ll need to get your party started.
Genre: House, Nu-House, Nu-Music, Electronica.
01 How Do I Love Thee–Ralphi Rosario Big Love Radio Remix 3:43
02 The Way to My Heart–DJ Spinna Galactic Soul Remix 7:21
03 Catch Me If You Can – JohnMorales M+M Mix 7:12
04 Get On Up–Thank God It’s Tal Remix 8:13
05 Going Deeper–That Dude Dom Club Mix 9:09
06 Musica Es Mi Vida–James Flowers Remix 6:42
07 Bang the Box–Marcus Mixx Remix 9:56
08 LaRosa–Michael A Garza Deep Future Mix Extended 7:33
09 Sometimes–Al Kent Mix 6:12
10 How Do I Love Thee–Ralphi Rosario Big Love Remix 6:19
“I Am A DJ, I Am What I Play.”
Legend is an overused word, but it’s the perfect way to describe New York born DJ, and producer John Morales, who is an innovator and pioneer when it comes to DJ-ing, remixing and production. This has been the case since he made a breakthrough in the seventies after playing at clubs like the Limelight and Studio 54. For John Morales this was just the start of his musical journey.
Nowadays, John’s one of the most respected and hardest working DJ, producers and remixers. However, the name John Morales means different things to different people. To dancers across the globe he’s known for his carefully crafted, floor-filling sets of boogie, disco and house. However, this is only part of the John Morales story.
He’s also known for his production skills, and his inimitable M + M mixes which are a favourite of many other DJs. John Morales has also worked with some of the greatest artists in music including the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Candi Staton, Teddy Pendergrass and Barry White. Some five decades since his career began, John Morales has over 650 remixes to his credit, and the great man shows no sign of slowing down as he continues to tour the world, winning friends wherever he goes with his legendary DJ sets.
Brooklyn-born DJ Spinna is another superstar DJ, who first stepped behind the wheels of steel at the age of eleven. Since then, he’s toured the world, with the flamboyant showman spinning everything from hip hop and house to funk and soul during eclectic sets that show off his prodigious skills. However, DJ-ing is just part of DJ Spinna’s story.
DJ Spinna was also a member of Jigmastas, who released their first single “Beyond Real” in 1996 and later, was a member of the hip hop supergroup Polyrhythm Addicts whose debut album dropped “Rhyme-Related” dropped in 1999. Later, DJ Spinna went on to become a member of the New York-based live house music group Tortured Soul and Domecrackers. He also collaborated with Stevie Wonder and Eminem, and has enjoyed a successful production career, while making a name as a top remixer.
Over the last two decades, DJ Spinna has breathed new life intotracks by Al Jarreau, Betty Carter, Donald Byrd, Eddie Kendricks and Roy Ayers with one of his remixes. This has resulted in DJ Spinna being hailed today as one of the world’s top remixers.
Ralphi Rosario was born in Chicago, where his career began in the early eighties when he started DJ-ing for friends. By then, he was a familiar voice on the radio, and was a member of The Hot Mix Five between 1980-1994, where he showcased his enviable mixing skills. Soon, though, Ralphi Rosario was expanding his musical horizons.
He embarked upon a career as a producer and remixer. He quickly became a household name with his classic house anthem “You Used to Hold Me,” became a crossover hit and introduced Ralphi Rosario to a wider audience. This was just the start, and Ralphi continued to produce floor-fillers and anthems that were popular across the globe, including the Latin-flavoured “Brinca” and the huge crossover hit “Take Me Up” which featured Donna Blakely and topped the charts in Europe. Meanwhile, Ralphi’s career as a remixer was going from strength to strength.
Soon, Ralphi was remixing everyone from Lady Gaga, Madonna and Mariah Carey to Depeche Mode, Donna Summer, Goldfrapp and Grammy nominee Katy Perry. In 2012 Ralphi received a Grammy nomination for his work as Rosabel with his production partner DJ Abel Aguilera. This was a huge honour, and inspired Ralphi Rosario, and over the next seven years he has continued to reach new heights as a DJ, producer and remixer as his remix of Matt Warren’s cover of How Do I Love Thee which features Pepper Gomez. She’s known Ralphi Rosario for years and is thrilled to have his major talent on this record.
Al Kent, or Ewan Kelly as he’s known to his mom, was born in Paisley, Scotland, and was introduced to music by his father, who loved everything from pop to country, and anything else that could be found in the bargain bin of the local Woolworth’s. Soon, the young Al Kent was following in father’s footsteps and collecting records.
At birthdays and Christmas, Al received records from his family, and any pocket money was spent on his vinyl habit. This was soon proving expensive, especially wh
en Al discovered Northern Soul. By then, Al had started putting on parties and DJ-ing with his record collection. This led to Al being invited to make his debut at a club, and his DJ career began in earnest. The money Al made, he invested in more records, and his career as a soul DJ continued until he opened the wrong door.
This resulted in him hearing house music for the first time which was a life-changing experience, and he embarked upon a career as a house DJ. This raised Al’s profile and he started to DJ at bigger clubs, but before long he wanted to make his own music.
Al’s first productions were inspired by old disco records he had collected a few years earlier, and were released on his own Million Dollar Disco label. Soon, Al had changed direction musically, and began playing disco. This was the start of a new era, where Al’s name was synonymous with disco as he released compilations, two albums by his Million Dollar Disco, and countless edits and remixes. Forty years after disco’s supposed demise, DJ, producer and remixer Al Kent is proof that it’s alive and kicking.
DJ Lil Tal.
DJ Lil’ Tal, born and brought up on the South side of Chicago, where he began DJ-ing on his mom’s hi-fi system. Just a few years later, when the future DJ-producer had grasped the fundamentals of music, a friend introduced him to Walter “Get Down” Brown who taught DJ Lil’ Tal to DJ in less than twelve hours. Having learnt the basics, he set about honing his craft.
His dedication paid off, and at the age of eleven, DJ Lil’ Tal began DJ-ing at picnics for local bars. Three years later, the fourteen year old DJ auditioned for the mix show on W.K.K.C 89.3 FM in Chicago. He became the mix show coordinator for the hot mix show, The Friday Night Network Connection. This resulted in DJ Lil’ Tal being invited to guest on Friday Night Audio on W.K.K.C. and Sam Sylk’s radio show. However, soon, Tal was looking beyond radio.
Tal met Paul Johnson who became his mentor as he embarked upon a recording career. He collaborated with his DJ-ing partner DJ Gant-Man, and later, as a seventeen year old, released “Flava In Ya’ Ear” on Dance Mania Records which was a huge success. This was just the start, and DJ Lil’ Tal he continued to record for a number of labels during a long career.
Nowadays, DJ Lil’ Tal is an experienced DJ, producer, remixer and is a partner in a record label, and he’s come a long way since he first started DJ-ing on his mom’s hi-fi turntable as his remix of Get On Up shows.
In 1987, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk of the Hot Mix 5 played “I Wanna House!,” which was the debut single from DJ and producer Marcus “Mixx” Shannon, whose music became a favourite of dancers and DJs. By then, Marcus was dividing his time between DJ-ing, running a series of small, short-lived labels and producing a variety of releases, including a number of psychedelic-tinged house singles. This was new and innovative and Marcus Mixx seemed destined to become one of house music’s leading lights.
Unfortunately things weren’t that simple and that wasn’t the case. In 1995, Marcus stopped DJ-ing, and by the dawn of the new millennia was living in his parent’s old house after they split-up. Marcus was isolated and no longer part of the Chicago House scene. Things got a lot worse in 2008 when a foreclosure order was served on the family home, and he had no option but to move out. He looked after his father until his death in 2011, and then moved in with his brother for three years. However, in 2014 Marcus had to move out and found himself homeless.
For a man who many thought was going to
be a top DJ-producer, this came as a crushing blow. However, since then, Marcus has reinvented himself as a videographer and continues to make music. Marcus has been a massive support to Wake Up! Music, singlehandedly creating the bulk of the music videos for the releases. He’s also raised enough money via a GoFundMe to rent an apartment, and is currently looking for a new home in the Windy City, where he is well known, loved and respected.
That Dude Dom.
That Dude Dom is one of the monikers used by Texan DJ Dominic Sustaita, whose introduction to Chicago House came when his cousin who lived in the Windy City, sent him a mixtape. This was the first of many mixtapes that Dom received and used to listen to them on his boombox. Soon, he was buying the latest Chicago House releases and spent hours teaching himself to mix and eventually this paid off, as Dom embarked upon a career as a DJ.
Thirty-three years later and That Dude Dom continues to DJ and has remixed Going Deeper for Wake Up! Music Remixes DJ Wall Of Sound Volume 1: Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life. It finds That Dude Dom rubbing shoulders with some of the DJs who inspired him to embark upon a career as a DJ four decades ago, and there’s much more to come from him in the future.
Thirty year old James Flowers is an up-and-coming DJ-producer and musician who was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1988 and discovered music at an early age. His American mother and Vietnamese father loved music, and James heard all types of music from an early age.
By the late-eighties, James discovered hip hop and its culture, and soon, began collecting vinyl, which he added to his collection of CDs and cassettes. James like many future DJs, had been bitten by the collector’s bug at any early age, and since then, has been collecting music and sharing his finds.
James is also a musician who enjoys experimenting and improvising, and flits between musical genres as he works on a variety of different projects. The latest project James worked on is a remix of Musica Es Mi Vida from Matt Warren’s Music Is My Life, which will no doubt be appreciated by an ever expanding list of listeners.
Michael A. Garza.
When Fusion Records’ Miguel Rodriguez was working on the release of Angels by M Theory, which featured Matt Warren and was being recorded at his Warzone Studios, a four year old boy sat in the corner taking everything in. As Michael A. Garza watched his father and Matt worked on the track, this was the future producer’s introduction to house music.
By 2003, Chicago-based Michael was listening to an eclectic selection of electronic music, which would influence him when he embarked upon a career as a producer in 2007. Initially, he was working in Garageband, and made several demos and remixes. Two years later, in 2009, his father heard Michael’s productions and realising his son had talent and potential, encouraged him to continue with his nascent production career.
Ten years later, in early 2019, Miguel Rodriguez was asked by Pepper Gomez of Wake Up! Music if he wanted to remix a track from Matt Warren’s Nu-House classic Music Is My Life? Miguel decided to offer his son Michael the chance to remix La Rosa, telling him: “it was his time.” The young remixer and producer rose to the challenge, not only remixing La Rosa, but editing the video as well and in the process, showcased the expanse of his talents.
All ©Derek Anderson LLB(Hons) & Wake Up! Music Group