On hot summer days like these, what else is there to do but sit in the office and take a retrospective look at the career of one of our favourite artists appearing at 51st State Festival for Groove Odyssey this year?
We’ll tell you – nothing. So here you are: five of what are, in Groove Odyssey’s humble opinion, the finest moments in the career of dance music icon Barbara Tucker.
1: Being born
OK, so we’ve probably cheated a bit with this one - everyone’s been born. Then again, not everybody is born to a parent in The Persuasions, so we thought we’d stick it in. Born in 1967 in New York, Barbara’s father Jayotis Washington was a member of the legendary A Cappella group, and if that’s not enough to set a person on the path to music stardom then it’s not clear what is. Barbara Tucker was clearly prolifically talented from an early age: she experimented with music, dance, and theatre throughout her youth before eventually settling on the career in Dance and House music which we’re all so grateful for.
2: ‘Beautiful People’
Tucker had been about on the charts a couple of times in the late-80s, but it was ‘Beautiful People’, her first number 1 hit on the Billboard Dance charts, that really established her in the mainstream. The song was released in ‘94 and hasn’t aged a day. Produced by Louie Vega, the song is a Deep House classic: we defy anyone to hear this and not find themselves unconsciously tapping their feet. The song also has a special place in British music history, as it was a remix of the track by C.J. Mackintosh that first introduced Tucker to many British music fans. And look at us all now, ready to welcome her to North London’s Trent Park...
3: Co-founding The Underground Network
Speaking of ‘lil’ Louie Vega, he features in our next finest moment as well. The New York club scene was taking off in the early 90s, and Barbara Tucker was one of the main people to thank. She was working as a producer in those days, and when The Underground Network was just beginning, Tucker convinced Louie Vega to host a residency at the wednesday night shows, and The Underground Network hasn’t looked back since. We can’t wait for Barbara to bring some of the energy and excitement The Underground Network was famed for to London this August.
4: Putting together the B-Crew project
It’s a bit of a running problem in House music that DJ’s and Producers can tend to get more credit than the singers featuring on their tracks, and making them what they are. That’s what makes Tucker’s B-Crew project so refreshing and inspiring: bringing together arguably the four biggest women in House Music (Tucker, Dajae, Ultra Nate and Mone), Tucker helped to kickstart a project that put singers - and women - at the front and centre. We’re extra-pleased to put this highlight down as we’re lucky enough to have two more of Tucker’s B-Crew collaborators (Ultra Nate and Dajae) playing at 51st State this year. Who knows, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to see them reunite...?
5: Long-running residency in Ibiza
In recent years Barbara has become one of the shining lights of the Ibiza club scene, with long spells in residence at some of the island’s most iconic venues. Her love of performing is famous, and her sets have helped introduce House music to a new generation of music-lovers, as well as offering existing fans the opportunity to see one of their idols up close. Honestly, this list could go on and on. It’s a true pleasure to have Barbara Tucker playing at 51st State, and we can’t wait to see her do her thing!