By David Rolland
By David Rolland
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By Liz Tracy
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Tracy Young Remixes Living Theaterstands out in her career because, compared to other projects in which she was given vocals and instructed to build a dance sound around them, she was given complete artistic control for the first time. "I worked on it for almost a year," she says. "Kunduru Records gave me complete artistical freedom. I did whatever I wanted."
Though reluctant to get into details, Young reports that she is in the final stages of launching her own label. "I always wanted to have my own creative control over music," she says, "instead of having another label take my music and kind of give me their guidance, so to speak." The new venture will begin small, but don't count on it remaining so. Young's dream is big. "I want to be Emilio part two," she asserts with a straight face, referring to media mogul Emilio Estefan.
But to do that, she knows she will have to diversify her productions and stop relying on the tribal drums and operatic echo-chamber effects her devotees love. The problem is, her fans have come to love only a certain aspect of Young's music, the one they are used to listening to at clubs, and she feels obliged to serve them.
"I play for my crowd," Young says. "Before I played for Madonna, I was a straight DJ, and I couldn't get a job in a gay club to save my life. Then I do remixes for Madonna and its 'Tracy Young, she's it!'
"That's how it happened," she laughs. "And now I'm a gay DJ."
Despite residencies at Space 34 and New York City's Roxy nightclub, Young faces the celebrity DJ's Sisyphean dilemma: moving your crowd beyond the same records you've been playing for months. She personally tries to steer toward harder and darker dance music or more soulful old-school records than the Disneyfied, feel-good, diva-charged pump of Deborah Cox, Madonna, and Cher. "The gay audience likes a lot of anthem vocals," she admits. "It's very stereotyped, but that's what they like."
And when you're in charge of what looks like 10,000 shirtless guys writhing spiritedly on the floor of Space 34 on a holiday weekend, you better give them what they want. Up in the DJ booth, Young looks like a chef supervising line cooks: turning up the heat on one record, slowing down another, listening intently to the results through her headphones. Young stops only to check the levels on her soundboard. At times, she looks out into the sea of sweaty bodies bouncing before her. She smiles and winks to one of her acolytes as she throws on yet another wailing diva echoing the chorus "Do it naturally."
Naturally, the men respond: Hands reach out to the air, and hips begin to swivel. As the sonic tide builds to a frenzy, men jump and grind to the beats as bass-heavy vibrations resonate against their chest cavities. The night bursts wide open.