Kevin Saunderson is a legend in his own right, known and respected around the World, as one of the three Artist/Producer/DJs from Detroit, who originated Techno/House music, which helped to reshape the future of Dance music as we know it.
Kevin was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964, but moved at the age of nine to the place known as the 'Motor City', Detroit. He attended Belleville High School (West of Detroit), where his youthful urge to make music had been fuelled, when he befriended two other like-minded students. After leaving school he attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, where he played Football. After 2 years, Kevin quit playing football in order to pursue a musical direction, so he joined his high school pals Derrick May and Juan Atkins, which unknown at the time would be the move that would help Kevin's career escalate.
He started as a DJ and developed new skills that led him into producing records, which he released on his own label, KMS Records. The demand for his Artist/DJ/Producer derived records was overwhelming overseas, as well as right here in the States, cities like Chicago and New York were open to Kevin's new brand of music. He introduced acts like 'Kreem', 'Reese', 'Inter-City' (later to become Inner City) and 'Reese & Santonio'. Kevin has many other aliases too such as; 'Tronik House', 'The Reese Project', 'EsRay', 'Kaos' and latterly, 'E-Dancer', which he uses to show his versatility in being able to create different facets of Dance music. Kevin also pioneered the art of the "remix," changing the face of how remixers revamp songs. His very first remix for The Wee Papa Girl Rappers "Heat It Up" went on to pick up 'DMC Remix of the Year' in 1989.
Kevin's biggest achievement (to date) and his most commercially recognized project ; has been INNER CITY, who have come full circle after TEN years, as one of the World's most important Dance acts. As one of the most influential prime movers in the house and techno revolution of 1988, Kevin (Saunderson) and Paris Grey have been to the top, struggled and bounced back to the top of the pile. Now in their thirteenth year together, the duo have proven they're one of dance's great survivors with a new dazzling renaissance and they're justifiably proud of a healthy career spanning early pioneering hits like "Big Fun" and "Good Life", "Ain't Nobody Better", through to "Hallelujah", "Pennies From Heaven", "Till We Meet Again", "Do Ya", "Your Love" (to name but a few) and most recently the 1999 Spanish re-recording of their 1989 hit "Good Life", which soon became a Number One Club hit in Europe and entered the TOP TEN on the UK Pop Charts. (The group's latest single, "Good Love", is also destined for success in the UK).
Since the beginning, their career has been nothing short of remarkable not only for their numerous critical and commercial achievements, but also for their longevity. Whilst most acts have been snubbed out at the onset of the 'next big trend', Inner City have managed to sidestep the trends making "songs that went on to become classics". Amazingly, the good life of being one of the World's top dance groups came to them by accident.
In 1987 Kevin, then a 22 year old Detroit college telecommunications student struggling to pass his exams and at the same time trying to make a success of his fledgling indie record label, KMS, recorded a backing track in a makeshift studio stuck in the basement of his apartment. He needed a girl vocalist who could also supply lyrics and his friend Chicago house producer, Terry "Housemaster" Baldwin, suggested Windy City Chanteuse Paris Grey. Paris agreed, flew into Detroit, came up with lyrics and "Big Fun" was born. Incredibly the tape was then filed away and almost forgotten until months later when UK dance aficionado, Neil Rushton, visited the Motor City to put together a compilation album, "Techno - The New Dance Sound Of Detroit" for Virgin Records. He freaked when hearing the song and made sure "Big Fun" was on the LP. Soon afterwards, it was released as a single and went on to become a Worldwide smash. But despite its sudden success, Paris hung on to her job as a sales assistant in a Chicago store - only quitting when the follow up, "Good Life" even outsold "Big Fun".
The third single "Ain't Nobody Better" retained Kevin's techno-logic microchip feel, topped by Paris's soulful voice. Their debut album, "Paradise" cemented this prosperity and highlighted the Detroit techno blueprint of mesmerizing rhythms that owed more to the white European synth groups of the 70's and early 80's, like Kraftwerk, Can and Depeche Mode than to the black dance music roots of the 60's and 70's that Chicago house and New Jersey garage related to.
In 1993, INNER CTIY parted company with their label, Virgin Records and to close the Virgin chapter, the label released the "Testament" '93" remix album to celebrate their time together. Featuring remixes of their best-known songs from the likes of CJ Mackintosh, Leftfield and Future Sound Of London. It hit the stores at Easter '93 as the group toured the UK (with THE REESE PROJECT). Also in that year they were voted, by the readers of Mixmag Magazine, the "Best International Act of the Year" and a "homecoming" deal with their manager Neil Rushton's SIX6 label was finalized. Another UK Tour followed in August '93, including a headlining appearance on the Reading Festival's dance stage and the top slot at the European Dance Weekender in Paris the following month. It was also at this time that Kevin's work with his other group THE REESE PROJECT was greeted with equal glee by journalists and clubbers alike.
To date, INNER CITY have had 12 Top 40 hits in the UK, as well as having had two Top 20 albums, with combined sales of more than 6 million. Inner City have also achieved many awards for outstanding accomplishments, such as being voted the 'Best Dance Act in the World' by DMC in 1989 and 1992. Inner City have also received 4 Gold singles, 1 Gold Album and 1 Platinum Album.
Meanwhile, Kevin's alter ego E-DANCER produces techno music, pure and simple. Created for a savvy audience by an original master. E-DANCER's first full length LP entitled simply "Heavenly" has hooked audiences and critics alike. Even more mains-stream music publications were compelled to take notice. For example 'Spin' magazine cited "Heavenly" as 'one of the ten best albums you've never heard'. Odd praise? Perhaps.. But accurate nonetheless, for rarely has a record so "underground" in both profile and content, been so obviously rewarding for the savvy listener fortunate enough to listen to it. Indeed, "Heavenly" is a 'must have' in any Detroit Techno collection.
It is a safe bet to expect many more surprises from Kevin Saunderson in 2001. As well as the already released E-Dancer vs. Inner City single "Good Love", there will also be a new Inner City album, a new E-Dancer album and somewhere in between some live appearances.
Kevin has also turned his attention back to KMS Records, 14 years after starting the label. His aim is to develop new talent and most importantly, he will be doing what he does best, creating great music. With his new Inner City release already receiving critical acclaim, it reaffirms Kevin's standing as one of the innovators and a leader in the industryâ€¦