Britain's Sonique is already a superstar, having the distinction of being the biggest female DJ in the world. Along with that, add on credits as a chart-breaking vocalist and songwriter for S-Express, and remixer of numerous club hits. These rich and rare musical accomplishments have now led to the obvious: a rapid rise to the top as a solo artist with the debut single, "It Feels So Good," from Serious/Caffeine/Farmclub/ Republic/Universal Records.
"Music is something you're born with," says Sonique. "I've always had this thing in me." Raised on the sounds that her mother played, Sonique was influenced by Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, Otis Redding and Denise Williams; however, it was her own discovery that was most meaningful. "The first record I bought was Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love,' and that was the beginning of my life and my musical experience. It reached a part of me other things didn't reach. I had known then that this is the music I like and I never left," she recalls.
As a teenager, Sonique signed with Cooltempo Records, singing her first club hit, "Let Me Hold You," which paved the way for a later partnership with Mark Moore as S-Express, releasing "Nothing To Lose" in 1990 and "Find 'Em, Fool 'Em, Forget 'Em" in 1991. Each climbed the UK National Charts and garnered acclaim in such publications as NME, Melody Maker, The Face, Mixmag, and Tatler. "S-Express needed a singer and a songwriter, so I was asked to collaborate on the album Intercourse, and I created my own style and identity," she says. "I didn't realize what was happening, but I was proving myself."
Being an avid club-goer, Sonique lost herself in dancing, in the music, and in the party atmosphere. But more often than not, a track that was kicking would be followed by a record that didn't cut it. The only remedy was to do the job herself, playing the records she, and everyone else, wanted to hear. With the same determination and precision that she applied to earlier achievements as an athlete (a runner), Sonique trained to be a DJ for a full three years at home before stepping out. "I knew I had to be really good as soon as I started," she says. "I am a woman, and I felt people were waiting to laugh at a woman who made mistakes. They wanted to see what I'd do next. Then I broke all records for the rate of success as a DJ. I was pulling in the crowd, making everybody dance. The party would turn into something else."
Sonique takes her DJ skills to night life around the world, commanding dance floors in esteemed mega-venues, locations ranging from dozens of cities in the U.K. to Germany, Hong Kong, the U.S., Jamaica, Norway, Italy, Australia, Mallorca, and Ibiza. This connection with global music fans strengthened her own understanding of what people like and how it effects them. "In England the pop records start at the clubs," she explains. "You hear the mix in the clubs first. Being a DJ helps me to see what people want when they go out partying."
Giving people what they want is just one of Sonique's talents. It's further demonstrated by her hit club guest vocals for Josh Wink's "Higher State of Consciousness," Kendoh's "Nagasaki," Gusto's "Disco Revenge," and Helicopter's "On Your Way," as well as the remix of Montano vs. The Trumpet Man's "It's A Trumpeting Thing." Additionally, she's known for a number of U.K. compilations, including Introspective of House, Third Dimension (1997), Fantazia, British Anthems Summertime (1998), and the Serious/Virgin February 2000 release entitled Serious Sounds of Sonique.
Sonique's arrival on the American scene is a true underground success story. A club DJ in Tampa, FL began spinning her song from an import 12", before long several other clubs joined in. This led to explosive requests for the song at retail and radio. The word quickly spread to Orlando and Miami, sparking the interest of Republic Records, who signed her right away. Already "It Feels So Good" is one of the fastest-reacting pop songs in the country.
"It Feels So Good" is the latest extension of Sonique's crowd-pleasing instincts. From its first beat and sultry vocal opening, its groove undulates with a hypnotic embrace, floating beneath a lyrical seduction and a singular desire for passion. This emotion is as deeply felt as her passion for singing, writing and performing. "You have to experience life to sing about it," she says. "I sing about what people might have been through. We're all the same. We're going for the same things in life. I'm very spontaneous. When music's playing I start hearing lyrics."
As a performer on stage, Sonique likes to be surrounded by live horns, strings, bass, and synthesizers. "I really put on a show, not just a silly little dance with dancers to make me look like I can dance. One of my favorite things is dance, that whole expression of release. It doesn't matter how bad life is, put on a record and my foot will tap. And if you have no problems, you still have to celebrate life."
Sonique has plenty of reasons to celebrate life. "It Feels So Good" is making people feel good around the world, and this multi-faceted international talent is set to release a full-length original CD, Hear My Cry in February 2000. "I am still growing," claims the artist. "I feel I'm at the point where my mom would want me to be. I think she'd want me to sing. 'Okay mom, I'll sing then.'"