Yvonne Turner’s all time Top 5…
It’s with greatest pleasure that we welcome NYC songwriter /producer Yvonne Turner on the first installment of this new series. Yvonne made herself a name starting from the second half of the 80’s. Reworking gems such as Willie Colón‘s ‘Set Fire To Me’ and Oleata Adams‘ ‘Circle Of One’. Not to mention Lisa Stansfield‘s ‘This Is The Right Time’ and Lisa Taylor‘s ‘Did You Pray Today?’. But also Whitney Houston‘s ‘Im Your Baby Tonight’ and Arnold Jarvis‘ ‘Take Some Time Out’. And more recently Loleata Holloway‘s ‘Can’t Let You Go’, to name but a few…
How I got in to music? Well, to be honest, I believe I was born and Blessed with a passion for music, as many others are as well.
My greatest influence was my mother. When I was a child, she exposed me to all kinds of music, Jazz, Classical, Carribean, and of course Rythym and Blues. I also studied music in school and sang in the chorus there. I did freelance DJ for a time and played parties and boat rides for these Jamaican promoters back in the day. This also exposed me to Reggae which was just beginning to flourish.
Born and raised in NYC was another blessing. In the beginning there was the Loft. I will never forget the first time I went there, I was like yes! The sound in the room was amazing and the music incredible. David Mancuso set the bar way, way up for me in regards to excellence in sound and recordings. The Loft also had a warm and welcoming vibe, a wonderful place to go every weekend, the master class was in session.
After the Loft, many of us found way to the Paradise Garage. Larry Levan worked that Richard Long sound system with passion and precision. And, of course, so much of the classic music the DJ’s still play today came to light in the Garage. What a very special place, and I am happy to have had that experience first hand. To say you had to be there is an understatement. Obviously both the Loft and Paradise Garage were major influences on me as a producer and simply as a music lover.
Working at Downstairs Records was another amazing experience. So many friends I met while working there and I am still friends with them to this day. And so much music, imports, indy labels, our specialty like Vinylmania was servicing the DJ’s. On Fridays and Saturdays, the energy was incredible as all the major DJ’s would come through to get the latest releases. It was an extraordinary time.
After Downstairs Records, I began working at Streetwise. It was a new indy label, so you could learn a lot about the music business from that perspective. It was at Streetwise that I did my first mix. Winston Jones produced ‘Music Is The Answer’ with Colonel Abrams. The track was so dope and I went to the studio to sit in and observe the session. After they finished the vocal mix, I boldly asked if I could do a mix and they said yes. So I went back to Blank Tapes studio along with Bob Blank, the owner. There, we did a few passes, no overdubs just creating a vibe with what was already laid down. The result was the ‘Dub’ mix for ‘Music Is The Answer”. My first mix, for no monies. Just the sheer joy of working in the studio, it was priceless!
I did a few other mixes for Streetwise, another notable one being ‘Rise Up’ by Moja Nya. After Streetwise I went on to do 2 mixes for Willie Colón. With the most notable being ‘Set Fire To Me’. Again, originally I agreed to do the mix gratis for A&M so I could show them what I could do. No one knew of me so I just wanted an opportunity to showcase my work. After hearing the mix I was compensated, my first paid studio production. I am very proud of ‘Set Fire To Me’, the “Inferno Dub” is a classic… So very proud!
As the years went on François K. asked me to manage his recording studio Axis. Needless to say this was an invaluable experience. It was at this time that François also became my mentor. He taught me so much regarding production, skills and practices I use to this day. I am forever grateful to him.
All of these things influenced me, and I bring them with me each time I go to the studio.
Yvonne Turner’s all time Top 5…Stevie Wonder – As (Motown)
Stevie Wonder‘s album ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ is in a word a Masterpiece! ‘As’ for me is the most wonderful expression of love in a song. “…as today I know I’m living but tomorrow may make me the past but that I mustn’ fear. For I’ll know deep in my mind the love of me I left behind cause I’ll be loving you always…”
Yvonne Turner’s all time Top 5…Chaka Khan – I Know You I Live You (WB)
There are so many Chaka Khan songs that are iconic. However, this song, with the ‘Reprise’ so brilliantly expressed both lyrically and musically, touches my heart and soul each time.
“Without you I stumble. Without each other we would not be at all…”
Yvonne Turner’s all time Top 5…Jephté Guillaume – The Prayer (Priyè-a) (Spiritual Life Music)
Another outstanding gem! Spiritual and moving, all the mixes are wonderful. For me, when music touches your soul the feeling is electric…
Yvonne Turner’s all time Top 5…Third World – Now That We’ve Found Love (Island)
Another brilliant song for all time! Lyrically delivers a message of universal love. Musicianship also on full display here along with a killer iconic percussive break… This song on the dance floor was everything!