E-BOOK: „Stars of ’90s Dance Pop. 29 Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers” – James Arena


Mereu spun că muzica anilor ’90 a fost cea mai bună din cele cunoscute de mine. Sigur că sunt mulți care nu sunt de a acord cu asta, dar este în regulă. De fapt, probabil muzica cea mai bună ți se pare cea din adolescență și începutul maturității, pentru că atunci treci prin cele mai multe schimbări, mai ales de natură spirituală și emoțională.

Oricum, ascult zilnic muzica acelor ani și mai ales piesele din genul dance și celebrul euro-dance inventat chiar în acei ani. Așa că m-am bucurat cînd am găsit la Amazon acest e-book cu interviuri cu cei mai tari artiști de la acea vreme.

James Arena le pune interlocutorilor cam aceleași întrebări, ceea ce mi se pare o o idee bună, pentru că poți compara răspunsurile. La finalul fiecărui interviu, este o sesiune flash de întrebări de tipul „îți place asta sau ailaltă”, dar nu m-au încîntat prea mult răspunsurile artiștilor.

Cîteva puncte comune

Autorul i-a întrebat pe toți de ce cred ei că a avut succes muzica dance din acea vreme. Majoritatea au invocat faptul că lumea era atunci mai blajină, că nu erau atîtea conflicte între oamenii care voiau doar să asculte muzică și să se simtă bine dansînd pe ea.

Au fost și alte răspunsuri interesante:

The ’90s was a time when everybody wanted to dance again, and people were feeling inspired. The glue that connected the people with the music were such elements as those massive gospel choruses and big vocals. It became the era of the diva, but in a different way than in the ’70s or ’80s.

In the ’90s, it seemed that everybody was happier, and dancing was really the thing. It seemed like people were nicer and less violent. No heavy, offensive lyrics in dance music. (Nance Coolen, Twenty 4 Seven)

Întrebați despre consumul de droguri, cam toți au spus că nu s-au atins de ele, însă unii dintre ei au avut alte vicii, printre care alcoolul. Sau femeile, așa cum a mărturisit Haddaway. Însă toți au răspuns că erau dependenți de aplauze și succes. Iar succesul atunci putea dura cîteva luni sau cîțiva ani.

A fost o perioadă dificilă din punctul de vedere al business-ului de muzică. Erau mulți producători și fiecare dintre ei voia să-i întreacă pe ceilalți. Artiștii nu erau mereu tratați cu respectul cuvenit și nu erau plătiți mereu pe măsura performanțelor lor. Așa se face că unii artiști intervievați regretă anumiți ani din acea perioadă, iar alții se declară mulțumiți și recunosc că și acum cîștigă de pe urma succesului din anii ’90.

Un alt punct comun este dezamăgirea creată de scăderea vînzărilor de casete și discuri odată cu apariția unor site-uri de piraterie online precum Napster. Nu toți au știut să se adapteze erei digitale și au trecut prin depresii, de altfel inerente artiștilor.

Povestea cîntecelor

Iată cîteva povești interesante despre acea perioadă și despre unele dintre cele mai faimoase piese din lume:

The melodies are hypnotic and make people feel good, like a great nursery rhyme that people gravitate towards. The music is so unique in that there was and is no other song that sounds like “Rhythm Is a Dancer.” To me, it was a perfect marriage of music and voice. (Thea Austin, Snap!)


We opened for Michael Jackson’s HBO concert in Bucharest, Romania. It was incredibly exciting to see Michael perform — it’s like an out-of -body experience. I was like, “I’m going to run across the same stage he’s gonna run across?” You know? Amazing! To hit that same stage, sing our song, and have that same audience singing “Rhythm Is a Dancer,” word-for-word, and their first language wasn’t English, well — thank God it was an easy verse. [Thea laughs.] Their applause and excitement sounded like a mix of thunder, lightning and joy. (Thea Austin, Snap!)

Citește cum am ajuns eu la concertul lui MJ din București din 1992.


Ultimately, I think the reason the track became such a success was the fact that it was so different from anything else that was out there. It was a bit like a catchy lullaby for children, you know? I think, psychologically, if you give people something simple with a great hook, it sticks with them — even if they don’t like the song. (Sannie Carlson, Whigfield)


The bottom E I had to sing, well, I had no idea I could sing that low until I actually had to do it. The chorus about being a model — well, again, I had no idea what I was doing. I did the song pretty much section by section. We’d never done anything like it before. (Fred + Richard Fairbrass, Right Said Fred)


“What Is Love” is a blessing, definitely, and I’ll explain why. Without this song I’d have ended up as maybe a local artist just doing his little local thing. Or I might have pursued political science, doing some kind of judicial work. To be realistic, I am extremely thankful for it. (Nestor Haddaway)


Creating a dance song was like creating any other kind of song. You think of the bass drum that will fit the vocal vibe. You think of a high hat pattern that enhances the groove of the words that will be sung. You think of the synth pattern to underline your main vocal melody line — and everything should come in a constant creative flow. (Nosie Katzmann, compozitor)


“Be My Lover” was a real song with lyrics by Melanie and me. We were at a gig in Germany, and in between sets she says to me, drying herself off with a towel, “So, how do you feel about mixing business with pleasure? ”I responded that it was my experience that it doesn’t usually work. We continued doing the shows, and when we got into the studio, she said something like with all the time we had spent together, I should know if I wanted to be her lover. My response was that I heard what she was saying, but I needed to know more about her. Well, that’s where that song came from. (Lane McCray, LaBouche)


We created something we knew would be popular on the dance floor, as well as on the radio. And then, of course, we tried to make sure it was as catchy as possible — but still had that African influence. I never took out that African influence — I kept the accents, the African drums in the background and all that. All this together was the secret. (Alban Nwapa, Dr. Alban)


I saw the 1986 movie The Name of the Rose (featuring Sean Connery), which was basically a medieval James Bond movie. I was fascinated by that and had a great love of choir music. For about two years, I suggested to Michael Cretu that we do something with Gregorian chants. He always questioned who would buy this music (because he had studied this form of music). I heard a rhythm coming from someone’s Walkman while taking a guided tour of the cloister, and it hit me that the sound might work with the chanting. I went to a department store and bought all their Gregorian chant music. Then I came in with CDs of these chants I’d made and asked him to put on one of the drum tapes, like a Soul II Soul sound, and it really started to groove. Michael started playing chords with it. We just knew this was it. Basically, overnight we finished the whole track “Sadeness”. (Frank Peterson, producător Enigma)


O poveste deosebită este cea a Marthei Wash, fostă componentă a trupei The Weather Girls („It’s Raining Men”), care și-a înregistrat vocea pentru piesele „Gonna Make You Sweat” (C+C Music Factory) și „Ride on Time” (Black Box), dar care nu a fost creditată inițial pentru contribuția ei și n-a apărut în clipuri din cauză că era obeză, fiind înlocuită de fotomodele. În urma unui proces intentat de Martha, producătorii au fost obligați să-i ofere credit și, de atunci încolo, s-a schimbat legislația în muzica din SUA.

The controversy was very new to me, and I just had to have the confidence and energy to go through the process and the interviews. My attorney , Steven Ames Brown, argued the cases so successfully that it became mandatory that artists singing on a recording have to be credited and properly featured. That was the best thing that came out of the whole debacle. The new legislation affected not just dance music, but all music. (Martha Wash)


James Arena, „Stars of ’90s Dance Pop. 29 Hitmakers Discuss Their Careers”, 2017, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers

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