Joey Negro has been producing with love for close to three decades. Arguably house music’s major proponent of soulful, disco-tinged, vocal records and without question instrumental is its development and popularisation, no-one treats a loop, groove or hook with as much care and attention as Joey Negro.
Joey Negro is the most well-known pseudonym of master British DJ, producer and remixer Dave Lee. Under a plethora of other monikers including Akabu, Doug Willis, The Sunburst Band, Sessomatto, and Z Factor, Dave was one of the first artists to incorporate disco samples in house music when he began his production career in 1988. 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. Little has changed since then and Dave is still widely regarded as one of the most credible and in-demand artists on the global scene.
Intrinsically linked with the birth of disco and house in the UK, Lee set up the dance music division of Rough Trade, Demix and through this link, he began 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. This experience and intimacy with other leading house labels led to Lee establishing his own imprint, Republic Records in 1988. Republic was one of the UK’s first soulful house labels releasing classics such as Phase II ‘Reachin’ and Turntable Orchestra ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’. And after producing several acid house favourites – including ‘1666’ and ‘Get Acidic – in 1989, Republic then put out Lee’s most widely-recognised work during this time: ‘Forever Together’, released under his Raven Maize alter ego in partnership with Mike Cheal and Mark Ryder.
Joey Negro, as an entity, was born in 1990 with the release of ‘Do It Believe It’ on US cult house label Nu Groove. The track was a breakthrough success and was followed by ‘Do What You Feel’, which was released on his second label and successor to Republic, Z Records. ‘Do What You Feel’ eventually crossed from a club hit to a top 40 pop hit. Another Top 40 track followed with ‘Love Fantasy’ and an album Universe of Love soon after that.
One of Lee’s most notable pop successes came when was approached by boy band Take That’s label with a view to working together. Although the Dan Hartman song ‘Relight My Fire’ had never been a hit in the UK, it had become a popular club track on the house music scene, so at Lee’s suggestion they covered it, with Lulu also being brought in to take the cameo role that Loleatta Holloway had performed on the original.
2018 saw Z Records release the long awaited follow up to Backstreet Brit Funk with Volume 2 showcasing more from the underground Brit Funk scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Vol.2 was released on double CD and Gatefold Double vinyl Part One and Part Two.
2018 also saw Joey Negro release the hugely anticipated Remixed With Love Volume 3 which was three years in the making and featured 20+ tracks of classic disco records all lovingly remixed by JN from the original master tapes. The album included tracks from Gladys Knight, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gwen McRae, Slave, Eddie Kendricks, Booker T, Brenda Russell plus many more released on Double CD and Gatefold Double Vinyl across three parts.
Still going as strong as ever after nearly three decades in the game, the Joey Negro discography is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in dance music, while his deep understanding as a selector of all things disco and house on the dancefloor have ensured his status as one of the most important dance music artists of all time.