Artist Focus: Dajae

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Chicago native Dajae is one of the undisputed vocal queens of dance music.

Before she went on to help launch electronic music into the mainstream, Dajae started her career on the Chicago R&B scene, singing in different bands and establishing a name for herself as a deeply soulful and expressive performer.

She was destined for bigger things, though, and by the mid-90s Dajae had several huge dance hits (including the legendary ‘Brighter Days’) and a debut album (‘Higher Power’, Cajual Records) behind her. Relistening to Brighter Days today, the influence it had on UK Garage is clear, with its rapid drum-beat and increasingly frantic organ chords.

The track had been massive in the UK and all over Europe, and before long UK Garage artists were falling over themselves to include Dajae in their mixes. When Dajae released ‘Time’ in 2000, it wasn’t long before Zed Bias had rustled up a remix, stepping up the urgency while drenching the record in deep, soulful synths.

Dajae kept on making an impact in UK circles wits hits in the UK charts, and the pattern of her featuring on disparate tracks by an assortment of Garage artists continued. She co-wrote the anthem ‘Fun’ with Da Mob in 2002, before Jocelyn Brown eventually stepped in to record the track’s vocals.

Dajae’s worked in several genres, of course – from House, to Soul and R&B – but in the UK the main measure of her influence has been Garage. Her voice was the soundtrack to your youth in those seething, sweaty clubs in the late nineties, and hearing it again we at Backto95 couldn’t help but grow nostalgic!

Over the years her live shows, and her unique ability to forge a connection with an audience, have become the stuff of legend – and we can’t wait to welcome her onto the Backto95 stage for 51st State Festival this August!