Kym Mazelle is quite simply a pioneer of house music. Over the years, the legend has collaborated with many leading artists and producers including Soul II Soul (‘Missing You’, which Kym co-wrote), David Morales (‘Lovin’’), Jocelyn Brown (‘No More Tears’ and ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’) and Marshall Jefferson (‘Taste My Love’). Her massive 1996 cover of Candi Staton’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ appeared in the Grammy nominated soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 worldwide box office hit ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet’.
As she releases her new track ‘Party Out’ with Funk Cartel, DMC grabbed a world exlusive with one of the original ladies of house…
Hey Kym, thanks for speaking with DMC! What have you been up?
Great to speak to guys, it has been a while! Love what you’ve done with the magazine. Well, surviving the aftermath of the pandemic!!! I was working on quite a few projects just before it hit and of course everything was put on hold…ouch! So now I’m promoting like crazy because now everyone wants to release projects that were on hold. Catching up with live music, festivals, and concerts where we can.
How did the collaboration with Funk Cartel on ‘Party Out’ come about?
Great story. I’d worked/pioneered with a UK Garage label called Pointblank Records around 1990. I was on my LinkedIn page and saw a post from them (well I thought it was them). I sent a message saying hello, etc and got a message back from Kwame Kwaten from D’Influence and my head spun. I was like Yo, what’s Up! We started talking and putting the pieces together. He heads up Point Blank Music School and had a talented young duo called Funk Cartel that were doing house beats and felt they really had potential. He offered to send me some of their tracks to listen to and get my opinion. I listened, and I nodded, yep!! You’re correct. Kwame put us together, we meet, and the rest is, you know, ‘herstory’!
‘Party Out’ is the perfect, uplifting tonic after a challenging couple of years! Which other tracks do you like to listen to, when you want to lift your mood?
I love music, so I listen to all sorts. Especially Chicago or New York, even Detroit Gospel House, and of course, Sylvester 70’s 80’s Disco – super uplifting!!!
You have worked with some of the biggest names in music and are described as “the first lady of house music”. How do you feel house music has changed since the late 80s?
It has nearly gone really, with the exception to the BPM, even the kick drum is gone. The soul is gone. They’ve kept the name “House Music”. We’ve got to keep the old skool DJs and voices out there to keep the Soul of House Music alive. In my humble opinion.
Which era has been your favourite for music?
A few good decades that I’ve lived in, danced in, and was a little naughty in. 70’s 80’s & 90’s and some of the 2000’s
If you could collaborate with any artist / producer, who would it be?
I’d like to finish the song I started with Mick Jagger in the 90’s. We hung out for a minute. I was blessed to be part of his ‘Wandering Spirits’ Album with Lenny Kravitz and Doug Windbush. We started a song and I still have the cassette. We used to talk a lot.
Which other vocalists have inspired you?
Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Mavis Staples, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, Heart, Janis Joplin, all sorts. Bobbie Womack, Rihanna, Jazmine Sullivan.
We loved your cover of Candi Staton’s ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ from Baz Luhrmann’s ‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet’. How did you get involved with the soundtrack?
Great story. “If I told you I’d have to kill you”. Joke! My good friend Nellee Hooper – Epic Producer Soul II Soul, U2, Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Bjork. Nellee called me one afternoon to pop by his amazing house in Belsize Park area in a gated Community of two homes – his and Dave Stewart’s (Producer and member of Eurythmics). Nellee played me a demo of the song close to what the final version was. He asked me what I thought, and could I sing it? I was like hell yeah!! I know this song from Candi Staton from when I was a kid. I sang it, and everybody was like damn that sounds hot Kym, I kept listening to it over and over, all shy, and was like Wow! It’s really good. Baz Luhrmann loved it, basically that was it, deal done. There were some other backstory bits that went on. But I’ll save that for the book. Big up to Baz and Nellee.
When you are not in the studio or performing, how do you like to relax?
I swim, prayer, unplug and try and stay away from all the noise.
What does 2022 hold for Kym Mazelle?
A great year. Family, friends, tours, projects, TV. Every blessing.
Thank you DMC Magazine All the best to you as well for 2022. Don’t be a stranger.
Funk Cartel x Kym Mazelle ‘Party Out’ is out now on Point Blank Recordings. Buy / Stream at https://ffm.to/426qnxq