Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but DJ Tracy Young just may be the Material Girl's best buddy. For the past few years, Young has remixed a host of singles for dance ( and gay ) icon Madonna, including Mrs. Ritchie's latest, 'Hung Up.' Now, the disc spinner has come out with a CD, Dance Culture, that has been called the hottest remix album of the winter. ( Incidentally, the CD would make a great stocking stuffer for the dance-music aficionado on your list. )
Nightspots recently talked with Young about Madonna, Maryland and music.
Nightspots: So you're in Miami right now.
Tracy Young: Yeah... it's warm here [ where I live ] - but it's rainy. I think it's refreshing.
NS: You've been in Chicago many times, right?
TY: Oh, yeah. I had a residency in Crobar for a while when they had GLEE Club Night. I've also done Hydrate a few times [ most recently on Dec. 16 ] . Chicago is one of my favorite cities to [ visit ] .
NS: What are some singles that you've mixed for Madonna - and which are your favorites?
TY: The first remix I did was 'Music' - and that has to be my favorite because it didn't quite hit me [ at the time ] that I was working on a Madonna song; it was so well-received by the industry. It was my first thrust into the spotlight.
After that, I did 'Over and Over' for a movie. I also did 'Don't Tell Me,' 'What It Feels Like for a Girl,' the greatest-hits megamix, 'Nothing Fails' and, now, 'Hung Up.'
NS: You've also worked with other top artists, such as Cyndi Lauper and Simply Red.
TY: Yes, I've worked with them. I remixed 'Shine' and 'Walk on By' for Cyndi. The second is on Dance Culture. Dance Culture took years to complete. I was so nervous when it was released - but people have received it quite well.
NS: Now, you went to the University of Maryland. Is that where you developed your DJ skills?
TY: Yeah. I worked at radio station WPGC and did a weekly show that turned into a daily one. Then, I moved on to clubs. At first, I did a lot of hip-hop and funk music. I dated a guy who was a DJ; that's how I got involved in the whole scene.
NS: Does Dance Culture have that hip-hop flavor or does it feature some other type of music?
TY: It's basically a dance compilation. My love was always dance music, although I do like hip-hop.
NS: What do you think is the next big trend in dance music?
TY: I don't know. I think dance music went away for a while and I think that Tina [ crystal meth ] destroyed a lot of dance culture. I think that, now, people are steering clear of that and getting back into the music. Madonna's CD [ Confessions on a Dance Floor ] is putting the spotlight back on dance music - she's one powerful lady, I tell you.
NS: I heard her CD and I really like the song 'Jump.' It reminds me of The Pet Shop Boys' 'West End Girls.'
TY: That's my favorite song, too. I see that type of music coming back. I agree with you; her CD reminds me of that Donna Summer-type music.
NS: You said that you thought dance music went away. When I talked with [ singer ] Martha Wash a few weeks ago, she said that even though people feel Madonna is bringing dance music back, it never went away.
TY: Yes, it did. I remember going to clubs on South Beach and the club music was replaced by hip-hop music. There's nowhere to go anywhere here now to listen to dance music. It's really not around anymore. We even used to hear it on the radio - but not now. Now you hear a Kanye West song, and then you get 'Hung Up' right after that.
See www.tracyyoung.com for more info.
photo by Dale Stine