Throughout the music community, the last 16 months have been incredibly challenging. Some of the biggest names have left us without allowing their fans to bid them a fitting farewell.
After a torrid 2020, we lost Progressive House extraordinaire Pierce Fulton in April 2021, followed by the demise of legendary drummer Joey Jordison, who was one of the founding members of the great US heavy metal band, Slipknot.
A week after Joey Jordison was taken from us, Dance music lost two of its biggest Techno and House artists in under 48 hours. On 3rd August 2021, it was reported that Legendary Detroit House and Techno Veteran K-HAND had left us, followed by House Music Legend Paul Johnson on 4th August 2021. They were the lighthouses of genres they were associated with, and both losses are irreplaceable for the House and Techno scene.
A Detroit native, K-Hand learned her craft after being a regular at the famousParadise Garage club in New York while watching Larry Levan enchanting crowds during his 10-year residency, which is also credited with laying the foundations for modern dance clubs worldwide.
While working with a phone company in the late ’80s, Kelli purchased the arsenal she needed to become a DJ and producer, and eventually landed residencies in clubs across Detroit, where she made a name for herself as a force to reckon with.
In 1990, she started her label called UK House Records, which was later renamed ‘Acacia Records’. Since then, she released seven studio albums and numerous EPs on labels across Europe and the United States. She also became the first female producer to release an electronic music record before Techno became a global scene. phenomenon.
This paved a way for her to pull black women into the industry which was dominated by male DJs and producers. For her work in influencing the Techno scene, she was officially named as “The First Lady of Detroit” by the Detroit City council.
A career spanning over 30 years, and an enormous back catalogue, she inspired a generation of female producers by opening doors they never thought would open for them. Her legacy will live with Techno & the music culture as a whole.
Here is a little glimpse into the legendary producer’s DJ sets while she was in her element:
Born and raised in Chicago, Paul Johnson began DJing when he was 13 before immersing himself in the world of music production 3 years later. After being inspired by heavy hitters such as Ron Hardy, he became a House music fan and later became a formidable figure in the second wave of the House movement in the mid-1990s.
After releasing his music on Chicago-based House labels, Paul Johnson hit global fame with the release of ‘Get Get Down’ in 1999, a tune that refused to leave radio plays for many years following its release while turning into a bonafide dancefloor favourite. He was also the first artist to be cited by Daft Punk on their 2005 hit, ‘Teachers’.
Despite the physical obstacles that forced him to DJ in a wheelchair, he amassed 7 albums and over 80 singles. A freak of nature as a DJ, Paul Johnson spun everything in and between Chicago House, Deep House, Techno, Disco House, and made everything look effortless.
This famous quote of his embodied why he was an inspiration for so many – “The crappy life I’ve had health-wise, that’s been nothing, man. That’s just been a shadow to what I’ve been doing, I don’t even see it, nobody sees it. It’s all about the music.”
Paul Johnson’s creative legacy will continue to inspire producers now and, in the future, and he will be the epitome of making it big despite being stacked against all odds.
Music will never have another K-Hand and Paul Johnson.