The New York DJ and producer gives us a lesson in dance music herstory
This week, we’re celebrating women in electronic music as Robyn takes over the site as guest editor. Here, the Swedish pop icon nominates Kim Ann Foxman to give us a lesson in the herstory of house music.
Over the past decade, New York-based producer and DJ Kim Ann Foxman has become one of house music’s leading figures. Formerly a member of house and disco group Hercules & Love Affair, her catalogue of releases channels the deep, jacking energy of the best of the genre. In 2014, Foxman began her own label Firehouse. The imprint is now where she puts out all her own music, as well as recent records from one of the UK’s original graffiti artists who became a prolific DJ and producer, Richard Sen, and a reissue of a 1994 vocal acid house classic “Keep On Climbin’”. This summer, she launched a new sub-division of the label called self : timer with a debut EP from Pleasure Planet, “an extraterrestrial doomsday cult” with Foxman, Andrew Potter and Brian Hersey at the helm.
Her knowledge of house music’s history runs deep, so we asked Foxman to choose five artists that she feels have shaped the genre. Her selections include Liz Torres, whose music was played by Larry Levan at Paradise Garage, to Ya Kid K, the vocalist behind the massive Technotronic hit “Pump Up The Jam”.
LADY MISS KIER
Kim Ann Foxman: Lady Miss Kier has shaped house music in many major ways through both her music, fashion, and activism. I was obsessed as a teenager when she was a part of Deee-Lite. She’s such an icon. I could pick her voice out immediately, it really cuts through and is so recognisable. “Good Beat”, “Power of Love”, “Runaway” and “Somebody” are my favorite Deee-Lite tunes, and she is an artist that I have followed through every album. She exploded into dance music in such a fun and refreshing way, with so much creativity, positivity, and so much personality.
She has always been a very outspoken activist, and helps raise social and environmental awareness through her music and her platform as an artist. She has also been a big advocate for LGBTQ community.
YA KID K
Kim Ann Foxman: Ya Kid K has played a big role in shaping house music. She wrote and sang the lyrics on all my favorite Technotronic jams, “Pump Up The Jam” being one of them, which was a huge dance hit in 1989. Her hits with Technotronic really brought club music to places and people it hadn’t previously reached. I love how tough she sounds over the track. Without her, we would be missing one of the best hip house dance tracks of all time.
Kim Ann Foxman: Colleen Murphy, aka DJ Cosmo, has played many roles in house music, from radio show host, to DJing David Mancuso’s The Loft, to co-founding Lucky Cloud Loft Party and running Classic Album Sundays, to owning a record label, working at record stores, compiling music, to journalism and so much more. She’s a great DJ with so much knowledge, it’s obvious she's done so much digging! Her passion for music is felt through everything she does. House music would be missing a lot of great musical curation in so many ways without DJ Cosmo.
Kim Ann Foxman: Liz Torres has been on a lot of major classic house records, and has been a queen of the early house movement ever since her first hit “No More Mind Games” in 1988. She made a ton of hits with Master C & J, like “What You Make Me Feel”, “Mama’s Boy” and “Can’t Get Enough”. Her songs were anthems of the true New York and Chicago underground. She was embraced playing live at Paradise Garage.
I love the sound and vibe of her Latin freestyle vocals, they’re so emotional. I grew up on a lot of freestyle music, so I’ve always loved this sound, especially in combination with house music.
Kim Ann Foxman: Paris Grey is clearly one of the most well-known house and techno music singers around. She is most known for her work with Inner City, produced by Kevin Saunderson. Everyone knows “Big Fun” and “Good Life”. They were hits! I also really love “Don’t Lead Me” that she did with Housemaster Baldwin. I love the way she sings, she has a beautiful soulful voice that is perfect for house music.