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Joey Negro


Joey Negro Bio

Joey Negro, aka Dave Lee, is one of the most respected, prolific and original artists in the industry.

Joey Negro is the most well-known pseudonym of the master British DJ/producer and remixer Dave Lee. Under a plethora of other monikers including Jakatta, Akabu, Doug Willis, Raven Maize, 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.

A producer first and foremost, Dave’s 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, Make A Move On Me, Can’t Get High Without You and Jakatta’s American Dream and My Vision, Dave has established himself as a true expert in all things funk, soul and disco-related.

Dave grew up on the south coast of England during the 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 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 releasing classics such as Phase II’s Reachin and Turntable Orchestra’s You’re Gonna Miss Me. This was also home to the first Dave Lee production, M.D.Emm.’s Get Busy, which reached #88 in the UK charts and #18 in the club charts. His most successful work during this time, according to Dave himself, was Forever Together released under his Raven Maize alter ego.

The name Joey Negro came about in 1990 when Dave released Do It Believe It on uber cool 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. Another Top 40 Love Fantasy and an album Universe of Love followed soon after.

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. Dave was behind Take That’s Relight My Fire, suggesting it as a cover then producing the finished result. He has since produced tracks for 911, Robbie Williams and Shayne Ward. 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. Being such a well known train spotter Dave has been behind over 20 compilation releases including his Joey Negro In The House release on Defected, Disco Spectrum 1 – 3 (BBE), Jumpin’ series, Disco (Not Disco), Southport Weekender Volume 1, Nite Life and Back In The Box releases on NRK.

In 2010 Dave released a new studio album as Akabu, the debut for his more deep-tech-house orientated guise. The LP titled The Phuture Ain’t What It Used To Be received praise from the likes of Carl Craig, Josh Wink and Nic Fancuili as well as great reviews in the press, who were impressed with Dave’s ability to produce something very different to the sound he is normally associated with.

Things haven’t slowed down for Mr Lee. No Sugar, his collaboration with Gramophonedzie and Shea Soul being one of the few tunes to reach the top 5 on both Beatport and Traxsource. The latest Soul of Disco compilation was widely regarded as the best so far. Dave’s revamp of Muzique’s Keep on Jumpin held the number one spot on Beatport for most of August. While at the beginning on September there were four Joey Negro remixes in the Traxsource top 5 – which must be a record. Unlike many producers who’ve been in the game as long, Dave certainly keeps himself constantly busy in the studio with a constant stream of high achieving singles on Z.

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.