Chris Barbosa (born in the Bronx, New York) is an American record producer from New York who redefined electro-funk as Latin freestyle in the early 1980s with Shannon's "Let the Music Play". Barbosa also has strong affiliations with the audio tape-editing scene.
In 1981, the Bronx-born Barbosa was a DJ at New York's WKTU, whose job included calling up select club and mobile DJs (New York City Mixology Disco Spinner staff member Ralf Rivera (now deceased) and Frank Forti Jr.) whose variety show had a part in Twister’s success in their market on a weekly basis. This meant getting their top 20 playlist to reflect the music that was being played in the streets. These reports would determine which records were added to the station's playlist.
In 1982, his grandmother purchased a keyboard for him, a Roland JX-3P. An executive from Emergency Records Sergio Cossa signed Barbosa to do production work with the record label. At this point some of Barbosa's musical influences were Arthur Baker and John Robie, the duo that invented electro funk with Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock".
"Let the Music Play"
In 1983, he teamed up with Mark Liggett to find a singer to lay down the vocals to "Fire and Ice", which was the instrumental track of "Let the Music Play". A young African American R&B background vocalist named Brenda Shannon Greene recorded the song.
The "Fire and Ice" or "Let the Music Play" track invented by Barbosa was produced differently from other electro-funk records. It had a more Latin American-based rhythm with a heavy syncopated drum sound than the records produced by Baker and Robie. This style of electro funk was redefined as "freestyle" because of the way it was produced and mixed.[clarification needed] Barbosa is widely credited as the genre's founder. Baker and Robie eventually copied his sound three months later on Jenny Burton's "Remember What You Like" (as it was released three months after "Let the Music Play"), Tina B's 1984 "Honey to a Bee" and the Goon Squad's 1985 "Eight Arms to Hold You."
In September 1983, the 12-inch single of the song was released at which point Greene was then re-dubbed Shannon. After the song's initial success, and some contract negotiations, Shannon went on to record a full-length album of the same name. The single was frequently played on radio stations nationwide, including WBLS, WKTU and WRKS. Her album, released in February 1984, was also the first freestyle album in dance music history and certified gold (selling over 1 million copies at the time). Both the 12-inch & 7-inch singles where also certified gold.
During the course of 1984, Barbosa and Liggett sought out other session singers to lay down tracks on more freestyle songs: These artists were Nolan Thomas, who was Jewish, and Jay Novelle and Xena, who were African-American. That year Barbosa played sequencers and produced Robin Gibb's album Secret Agent, released that year.
Unfortunately for Barbosa, in 1986 Emergency Records stopped signing new artists,[why?] forcing Barbosa and Liggett to launch Ligosa Records. The duo immediately signed Monet and George Lamond to their label. In addition, Ligosa Entertainment, a subsidiary, produced songs for upcoming freestyle music acts like Judy Torres (dubbed the "Queen of Freestyle"), Sa-Fire, Mark Kalfa, among others. Barbosa also found chart success in 1990 with George Lamond's "Bad of the Heart", which hit the Billboard Top 100 and peaked at number 25.
In 1995, Barbosa and Liggett dismantled their production and record company and parted ways. Barbosa continued to give to the freestyle genre he created, producing underground artists who rarely had their new material played on mainstream radio stations in the US. In 1999, a huge surprise came to Barbosa when Shannon invited him back to update her 1980s singles "Let the Music Play" and "Give Me Tonight".
He worked for a while as FOH Sound Technician charged with operating Allen & Heath iLive T-112 Digital and Soundcraft Analog Consoles, Sennheiser wireless mic systems, and Aviom In-Ear Monitor System for one of Orlando’s largest church venues. He also provided direct audiovisual support by orchestrating venue projectors and lighting, video cameras, titles and graphic design, audio and video post-production editing and trained new sound engineers and creative media team interns.
Lists of artists Barbosa has produced for
- Judy Torres
- George Lamond
- Jay Novelle
- Lisa Fischer
- Nolan Thomas
- Fascination[disambiguation needed]
- Robin Gibb
- Veronica Underwood
- Jimi Tunnell