|Birth name||Dexter Wansel|
|Born||22 August 1950|
|Genres||Jazz, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, songwriter, arranger|
|Labels||Philadelphia International, Digital Jukebox|
Dexter Wansel began as an errand boy backstage at the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia from 1959 through 1963 for his step-uncle Georgie Woods. There he met many great artists who encouraged him to pursue music. During high school, he and his friend, Stanley Clarke, performed in bands together.
In 1970 after being honourably discharged from the United States Army, Wansel quietly joined the ranks of synthesists like Wendy Carlos and Dick Hyman, where he began programming the EMS VCS 3 'Putney' and the ARP 2600 for sessions at Sigma Sound Studios both credited and uncredited. From the early to mid '70s, Wansel also played keyboards for groups such as Instant Funk, Yellow Sunshine, and MFSB. After signing with Philadelphia International Records, as in-house songwriter/producer/arranger, he established a songwriting relationship with the lyricist Cynthia Biggs.
He also collaborated with other writers such as Bunny Sigler, T. Life, Vinnie Barrett and Kenneth Gamble. Wansel produced, wrote, arranged, played keyboards and synthesized hits for artists at Philadelphia International Records as well as numerous other labels. In 1977, he produced the Grammy-winning album Unmistakably Lou by Lou Rawls.
Wansel's music has been used as samples in the world of hip-hop. His 1975 'Theme from The Planets' drum beat intro, is hailed as being one of the first foundation beats of hip-hop. This beat continues to be sampled today and can also be heard on TV commercials and in movies. His sampled music has been used by Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, J Cole, Eric B and Rakim, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Kim, Ice-T and Ice Cube. In 1979 as conductor of the world-famous MFSB Orchestra, Wansel was the music director/conductor for the historic show at the White House commemorating the very first 'Black Music History Month' celebration in 1978. From 1978 through 1980, Dexter Wansel was the A+R Director for Philadelphia International Records where he oversaw many album releases by the label's artists under the direction of Gamble and Huff. His LP Time Is Slipping Away, recorded in 1979, produced his second disco-themed hit (his first was "Disco Lights" in 1977) called "(I'll Never Forget) My Favorite Disco" co-written by Cynthia Biggs. It proved to be highly successful on the US club scene.
In April 2021, Wansel signed a new record deal with Digital Jukebox Records.
Wansel is the father of Grammy-nominated music producer and songwriter Pop Wansel, and a U.S. Army Veteran of the Vietnam War era (Taiwan). He has authored a novel entitled Shortwave, published in 2011.
|Year||Album||Chart positions||Record label|
|1976||Life On Mars||—||44||—||Philadelphia International Records|
|1977||What the World Is Coming To||168||45||24|
|1979||Time Is Slipping Away||—||58||—|
|2004||Digital Groove World||—||—||—||Hotplanet Entertainment|
|2021||The Story of the Flight Crew to Mars||—||—||—||Digital Jukebox Records|
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart|
|Year||Single||Chart positions||Record label|
|1976||"Life On Mars"||10||91||Philadelphia International Records|
|1979||"It's Been Cool"||—||91|
|"The Sweetest Pain"||—||40|
|"—" denotes the single failed to chart|
Selected production discography
- The Jacksons - The Jacksons, 1976
- Lou Rawls - All Things in Time, 1976
- The Jacksons - Goin' Places, 1977
- Lou Rawls - Unmistakably Lou. 1977
- Lou Rawls - Let Me Be Good to You, 1979
- Teddy Pendergrass - TP, 1980
- Lou Rawls - Sit Down and Talk to Me, 1980
- Patti LaBelle - The Spirit's in It, 1981
- Grover Washington Jr. - The Best Is Yet to Come, 1982
- Patti LaBelle - I'm in Love Again, 1983
- Patti LaBelle - Patti, 1983
- Phyllis Hyman - Living All Alone, 1986
- Who's Who Among African Americans (15th, illustrated ed.). Gale Research International, Limited. 2002. p. 1330. ISBN 9780787657291.
- Hogan, Ed. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- Ballin, Sofiya (August 27, 2014). "Producer Andrew 'Pop' Wansel, inspired by Philly". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- Trammell, Matthew (June 17, 2014). "Beat Construction: Meet Andrew "Pop" Wansel, the Producer Behind Nicki Minaj's Soft Side". the fader.com. The Fader, Inc. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- Hailey, Jonathan (August 8, 2014). "Pop Wansel Names Top Five Producers & Best R&B Song Ever [VIDEO]". theurbandaily.com. The Urban Daily. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- "Shortwave" page". Sage Words Publishing. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013.
- "Dexter Wansel Presents Sounds Of Philadelphia". DC Nitelife. Archived from the original on June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
- "Dexter Wansel US albums chart history". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- "Dexter Wansel US singles chart history". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2011.