‘Kiss of Rain’ Latin House rocking it. It’s Fiesta time!
So, Mr Mark Alston, producer/remixer from New York teaming up with Russian Moscow born singer/songwriter Polina on ‘Kiss Of Rain’ coming our way on Launch Entertainment (US) – Miami WMC watch out! Some amazing Conan Liquid remixes, I’m all over the Dubb and ‘Drums of Doom mixes. Poolside parties here we go It’s amazing how many artists and DJs these days that are suddenly sprouting wings revealing how early they were into there music. You were born in The Bronx – had a drumming mother and a bassist father. You started singing professionally by the age of seven performing with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Al Green and Diana Ross…What were the early tunes you can remember from the age of 7 that you were listening to? “Definitely songs ‘In the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. There was always Soul and R&B played in the house, that’s what I can remember the most from that age.
Which one artist did you want to be? “Rick James. I loved the album covers, where he always wore funky tall boots, he looked like a comic book super hero.”
Did your parents push you into this industry, or did you love it from day one? “It was a little bit of both, my mom used to enroll my brother and I into talent shows and that’s what it all started. From there I pursued music and music production on my own.”
What superstar did you enjoy performing with the most, why and what is your best memory from back then – Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Al Green…? “100% Stevie Wonder. Performing with Stevie Wonder at the 1995 Billboard Awards. Mainly because I was such a great fan of his music and being on stage and singing ‘Past Time Paradise”‘ with him was incredible and is something I will never forget.”
So our friend Gladys Pizarro, one of the best A&R people EVER, co-founder of NYC based House label Strictly Rythm – a legend basically – working with people like Louie Vega, Kenny ‘Dope’, Morillo, Van Helden and Todd Terry – she won best independent dance label ten years running and now she is back in the hot seat with Launch Entertainment – how did that all happen? “We were introduced by Kevin Williams from Nervous Records at Pacha (NYC). The following week Gladys came by my studio and Kiss of Rain’ was the first record that I played her which she loved and signed on the spot.”
So, Polina, how did you two hook up, she’s had let’s say, a varied career with albums and film soundtracks, teaming up with superstars such as Todd Terry, Tony Black (‘Shotguns’ – amazing) and DJ Spooky, where did this all begin for you two together. How did you meet? “Polina has a studio at Bass Hit Studios in NY where I mix some of my records. And on one of those occasions the studio engineer Dave Darlington said “have you met Polina, she’s a great singer/songwriter”. And it all started from there…”
What ONE artist you have never worked with before, would you like to get into the studio with? “That’s a very hard question, but there is one artist that I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as he was in the studio making his records – and that’s Lil Louis.”
Favourite ever New York DJ and club? “Danny Tennaglia at Vinyl.”
So you are having a ‘Latino’ style dinner party – who do you invite from…Shakira, Laura Pausini, Jennifer Lopez, Alehandro Sanz, Thaila, Juanes, Ricky Martin, Juan Luis Guerra, Gloria Estefan or Natalie Oreiro? “Jennifer Lopez cause we are both from the Bronx.”
What is the story behind Polina’s Russian pop star mother Anka – how famous was she over there in her hey day? “From what I know, she was a major fixture on the pop music scene in Russia throughout the 90’s. Selling out stadiums that sort of thing.”
What do you think is your best ever remix and also, piece of production? “It’s hard for me to judge my own work because I like all of my productions and remixes equally. But right now I’m loving ‘Kiss of Rain’.”
What one album would you never sell? Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach ‘Painted from memory’.
If you are in the studio, who goes get the coffee, you or Polina? “I don’t drink coffee but Polina usually makes the run to the store!”
What is the best – and the worst thing about living in New York? “The best and the worst thing is that there always so many great parties going on.”
What is coming next from your studio? “‘Center of My Heart” with Lee Kalt on Subliminal, ‘Whole Lotta Love” with Vanjee on Came Rider Records / Strictly Rhythm. I’ve got some productions in works with Tara McDonald also.”
Daltonic ‘Kiss Of Rain’ is released March 22nd on Launch Entertainment