Joey Negro

Hard working UK Dj/producer

Joey Negro is the most well-known pseudonym of master British DJ/producer/remixer Dave Lee. Under a plethora of other monikers including Jakatta, Sessomato, the Hed Boys, Doug Willis, Raven Maize, The Sunburst Band and Z Factor, Dave was one of the first artists to incorporate disco samples in house music when he began his production career in 1991. Indeed, he was in the studio making credible and outstanding British house music when many luminaries around him were still busy getting to grips with their decks. In 2009 little has changed and Dave is widely regarded as one of the most commercially successful and in-demand artists on the global scene. A producer first and foremost, Dave uses his DJing talents as a sound-bed for tweaking his musical creations to perfection. His work ethic is legendary, having been involved in well over 200 productions, countless albums and a healthy stack of hit singles. Through releasing tracks such as ‘Must Be The Music’ and ‘Can’t Get High Without You’ and Jakatta’s ‘American Dream’ and ‘My Vision’, Dave has established himself as a true professional who keeps getting better. Widely considered an expert in all things funk, soul and disco-related, Dave is also a helpful ‘consultant’ depended on by radio and TV producers worldwide. Born on the Isle of Wright, Dave grew up on the south coast of England during the late 70s and early 80s listening to local radio stations and the sounds of Earth Wind & Fire, Heatwave, Shalamar and The Jacksons. A lack of good quality music at the time encouraged Dave to seek inspiration in the record shops of London. This soon led to a job at London vinyl store Smithers & Leigh, where he first heard the revered house classics ‘Jack Your Body’ and ‘I Can Feel It’, sounds that were major inspirations for him to produce his own records. Following the closure of Smithers & Leigh, Dave joined Rough Trade Distribution where he was charged with setting up its dance music arm, Demix. It was here where Dave started working with the Rhythm King label, which had had a number of hits with acts like Bomb The Bass, S-Express, Cookie Crew and Beatmasters. His experience in advising other labels led to Dave establishing his own imprint, Republic Records, in 1988. Now defunct, Republic is today remembered as the UK’s first soulful house label. His first release on the label, M.D.E.M.M.'s ‘Get Busy’, reached #88 in the UK charts and #18 in the club charts and led to Dave signing several classic house records to Republic by artists including Turntable Orchestra and Blaze. It was on Republic that Dave was to finally gain recognition for introducing garage as a genre of music in its own right. Classics such as Phase II’s ‘Reachin’ and Turntable Orchestra’s ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ exposed a totally new sound to the masses, and a sound that was to prove hugely successful. His most successful work during this time, according to Dave himself, was ‘Forever Together’, released under his Raven Maize alter ego. Dave created hype ahead of its release when, using a computer-enhanced image of a friend sporting an afro as a press shot, he led the media to believe Raven Maize was a convict fresh out of prison. The Joey Negro namesake bore fruit in 1990 when ‘Do It Believe It’ was released on US cult house label Nu Groove. The track was a breakthrough success and was followed by ‘Do What You Feel’, which Dave released on his second label and successor to Republic, Z Records. Virgin eventually released ‘Do What You Feel’ and the song became both a club hit and top 40 pop hit. Dave’s reputation as a highly-skilled producer and remixer has resulted in many chart-topping liaisons with high profile pop acts over the years. He has completed remixes and productions for stars including Mariah Carry, Royksopp, Artful Dodger, Sugababes, M-People, Diana Ross, Pet Shop Boys, Brand New Heavies, Ultra Nate, Sister Sledge, Simply Red, Take That and Lionel Ritchie. His hard work and brilliant remixes for both dance and pop artists alike led to Dave’s crowning as Best UK Remixer by both DMC/Mixmag and DJ magazine in 1992. Z Records has gone from strength to strength, releasing countless 12” cuts by artists including Copyright, Nova Fronteira and Michelle Weeks as well as Dave’s own productions under his Sunburst Band, Z Factor, and Joey Negro aliases. Z Productions, an off-shoot of Z Records, is currently setting new standards in artist management and production. Dave’s impressive discography has ensured he has remained in demand on the global DJ circuit, playing at the biggest and best venues over the world. Several compilation releases including his ‘Joey Negro In The House’ release on Defected, his ‘Disco Spectrum’ and ‘Jumpin’ series, his ‘Nite:Life’ and ‘Nite:Life 08: Remastered’ releases on NRK plus his ‘The Trip’ and ‘Lust: Art & Soul’ compilations have further spread this master’s influence. As a DJ Dave strives to reflect his extensive love of music by playing eclectic and mind-blowing sets which showcase the many edits and updates of old tracks he’s become famous for. “I’m forever chopping up new records in the studio to make them work better in clubs,” he explains. “I can’t help myself, I want dancers to experience the very best highs a record has to offer, even if it means I have to spend a few days in the studio rearranging something. I couldn’t be a producer without being a DJ and certainly DJing would be a whole lot less fun if I didn’t get to tweak the music I was playing out.” Not content with being the most commercially successful house producer in the UK, compiling and mixing endless successful compilations and running his own successful house label, Dave continues to play out all over the world and make records, simply because he loves it. Dave Lee, Joey Negro, Jakatta, Raven Maize, Z Factor, call him what you will, but his ability is without question and his status as one of the most gifted and hard-working individuals in world music circles is as true as ever.

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Joey Negro

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