Junior Vasquez

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Junior Vasquez
Birth nameDonald Gregory Mattern
Born (1949-08-24) August 24, 1949 (age 71)[1]
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresHouse
Occupation(s)
  • DJ
  • record producer
  • remixer
Years active1980s–present
Labels

Junior Vasquez (born Donald Gregory Mattern, August 24, 1949[1] in Lancaster, Pennsylvania), is an American DJ, record producer and remixer.[2]

Career[edit]

Mattern moved to New York City as a young adult in 1971 with ambitions of becoming a fashion designer, briefly attending Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and working as a hairdresser for a while. Mattern soon became fascinated with NYC nightlife especially the work of DJ Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage. After adopting the pseudonym "Junior Vasquez", he began his career in music production in the 1980s. Vasquez worked with DJ and pop remixer/producer Shep Pettibone, and together they co-produced and edited numerous singles from artists like Madonna, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, MC Hammer, Prince, Pet Shop Boys and others.[3] Vasquez landed a brief residency at Club Bassline, where he began to make a name for himself as a live DJ.[3]

Many of Junior Vasquez's earliest underground hits were released under the name "Ellis D", including the house track, "Work This Pussy". Vasquez also released the tracks "Just Like a Queen", "My Lolleata", "It's Scratched", and "Took My Love Away".

From 1989 to 1995, Vasquez was the DJ at the original Sound Factory,[3] a club he co-founded with Richard Grant, which was located at 530 W. 27th St in the Chelsea district. Major record labels began soliciting Vasquez to produce club-friendly remixes for their top singers using his personal beat-driven house style. Due to a rise in demand from these labels, many singer and musicians like C+C Music Factory, David Morales, Björk, Marilyn Manson, and Madonna were known to frequent his Sunday morning events.[3] Working with many popular artists allowed Vasquez to create his own repertoire of exclusive "Private Collection" of authorized remixes (along with several unofficial remixes) which were not released to the market, and thus made his live sets even more distinctive to his following.

Junior Vasquez also was closely associated at this time with The House of Xtravaganza, a ballroom "house" which enjoyed prominence in New York City at this time. In the early 1990s, Vasquez released his single "X", which sampled Danny Xtravaganza say the word "extravaganza!" (the voice sample was taken from Danny Xtravaganza's 1990 single "Love the Life You Live").

After the Sound Factory was closed in February 1995, Vasquez held residencies at the Tunnel (1995-1996), and at ArenA (held at the Palladium) (1996–1997) where his suspended booth was custom designed by designers Dolce & Gabbana. In 1997, he returned to the former site of the original Sound Factory, now called Twilo. Remodeled to include a custom-designed DJ booth for Vasquez's exclusive use and fitted with new cutting-edge audio technology known as "Phazon", Vasquez's residency at Twilo lasted until May 2001, when the venue was closed by order of the city. In 1997, Ian Jenkinson and Inner Rhythm Artists Tribal Gathering enlisted Vasquez for the largest single artist DJ event in UK history at the London Arena. Problems with the venue saw the event split between the two clubs: Ministry of Sound and Cream.

Vasquez held shorter-lived residencies at the various clubs in New York, including Discothèque, Sound Factory (so-named by Richard Grant who retained legal rights to the name) and opened in a new space located in Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan.

In addition to his work as a DJ and remixer, he has co-produced albums for John Mellencamp, For Real, Lisa Lisa, and Cyndi Lauper as well as individual LP tracks for Madonna, Cher, Wild Orchid, and Kristine W.[3] Vasquez, along with his former record label Junior Vasquez Music, is also known for introducing new artists, including many crossover singers, to dance/pop music scene, including Vernessa Mitchell, Jason Walker, Casey Stratton, Quentin Elias, Vivian Green, and Sam Harris. In late October 2019, Vasquez partnered with his new Manager / Business Partner and former corporate marketing and PR honcho, Christopher Petrock, to reignite the musical magic with their new company Junior Vasquez / House of Ellis, in the studio, on the dancefloor and in other new projects and ventures for 2020 and beyond.

Most currently Junior's Private collection mix of Donna Summer's “My Life” saw its commercial release on the new Donna Summer collectors edition box set “Encore” and his mix of “Work this Pussy” will be featured on Episode 3:04 of the STARZ Network hit show Vida that originally aired on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 9 PM. Looking into 2021, Vasquez's mix of Radha's "Servin Face" is likely to see its release on the Tommy Boy label. Radha is a former "The Voice" contestant in the U.S. and was competing on team Adam Levine.

Madonna controversy[edit]

Vasquez had a public falling out with Madonna in 1996, after the release of an unauthorized single titled "If Madonna Calls". The original version that Vasquez plays at nightclubs contains what is widely believed to be an actual phone message from Madonna left on Vasquez's answering machine.[4]

The song's lyrics are as follows:

(voice recording ostensibly left by Madonna on Vasquez's answering machine at his home in New York): "Hello, Junior. This is Madonna. Are you there? (short pause) Call me in Miami."

This is followed by the voice of vocal house artist, author of song Franklin Fuentes, which says: "If Madonna calls, I'm not here."

This is followed by hard tribal rhythms, with the samples of the message still playing in the loop of the track, and the male singer repeating the words shown above along with "Hola, Señorita Cosa" ("Hello, Ms. Thing"). Toward the end of the song, the words change, and the male voice concludes by saying: "If Madonna calls…actually, if she calls, just disconnect her. That's right—if she calls, tell her I'm not here."

Discography[edit]

Selected remixes[edit]

Note: The industry standard by which a remix is considered commercially released is the track has been made available legally for retail sale. This can mean the remix was released on a CD single, 12" vinyl single, cassette single, or it can mean the remix was released on one of the artist's albums (usually on a greatest hits compilation or as a bonus track to a studio album's international release). Other times it was included on a compilation or soundtrack album. The tracks listed below have all been released commercially in one of the aforementioned forms, with a few exceptions which are indicated with a note in parenthesis explaining the track's status. With the advent of Internet-selling using programs such as iTunes, that type of release is also considered commercial as it results in a profit and the artist and management oversee what is available on such programs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cielo: May 2009 News". top40-charts.com. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  2. ^ IMO Records. "Junior Vasquez Biography" Archived 2012-08-02 at Archive.today, IMO Records' Retrieved on 29 February 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 413. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  4. ^ Music Makes the People Come Together from New York Magazine 10 September 2001

External links[edit]