The 90’s was an important time for Canadian dance music in terms of quality and quantity. In addition to support from dance-oriented radio stations across the country, many artists actually became more well-known due to their music videos being shown on dance music themed television programs like Electric Circus on Toronto’s MuchMusic and Bouge de la via Montreal’s Musique Plus.
One act I was introduced to through their videos on EC was the Montreal-based Shauna Davis project, fronted by Haitian-born vocalist Stephane Moraille. The first single “Get Away” received moderate radio and video play as did the third release from the project, “Try My Love“. Sandwiched nicely between the two was what I believe to be the strongest single under the Shauna Davis moniker and a classic piece of Canadian house music: “Into You“.
The production really pops on this release; some of the nicest house beats I’ve heard in a Canadian track, a lovely Korg M1 organ-like bassline and synth stabs with a great vocal arrangement that keeps thing moving. It has a classic feel right down to the song itself and often gets overlooked when considering the best house tracks to come out of Canada. This one still goes down well in a vocal house set and works just as effectively in peak time as it does in a good warm-up set.
Despite the hoards of advantages that the digital age has brought us in terms of accessing music, I really miss record shopping. I still do it as often as I can, but I miss the days when my Saturday afternoons were always blocked off for a trip to Yonge & Dundas in downtown Toronto where I would troll the record stores and HMV to grab the latest bangers, browse the hard-to-find classics and, if I was lucky, hear something completely at random that would shift the mood of the entire trip (and my purchasing priorities).
Such was indeed the case one Saturday afternoon in 1999 when just as I was sorting out which slices of wax I would be taking home with me from Toronto’s legendary DJ institution Play De Record, one of the staff put on a MASSIVE slice of disco house with a sound that was very similar to the Stardust anthem “Music Sounds Better With You” and a vocal hook that just screamed to me “you need to buy this track and play it out tonight“. A few seconds later, a copy of “My Feeling” by Italian-born producer Junior Jack (Vito Lucente) was in hand and the itch began. I couldn’t wait to get to the club that night to throw this one on.
Yes, the Stardust influence is all over this track (right down to the solo kick drum bridge and the phaser on the drums during the breakdown), but Lucente’s use of two separate samples that work perfectly together are the glue that gives this one its shine. The backing track consists of a sampled loop taken from Sister Sledge‘s endearing classic “One More Time” from their magnificent third album We Are Family. Once again, it’s a Chic-produced sample that does the trick here, pitched up to give it that disco house feel. On top of that we have a few vocal snippets from the top 10 US R&B smash “Saturday Love” from Cherelle & Alexander O’Neal to form the hook. The instantly recognizable quality of the vocal sample over a classic disco house loop certainly continued the trend seen in recent releases from Phats & Small (“Turn Around“) and Armand van Helden (“U Don’t Know Me“) and Lucente’s track was well-received worldwide including peaking at #1 on the Canadian National Dance Chart.
When I did finally drop this one at the club that night, the results were as I expected: we had an anthem on our hands. It’s simple, somewhat formulaic and even corny to a point, but it worked wonders wherever I played it (and I played it out a lot) and I even got the chance to meet Junior Jack before he played a guest set on the long-running dance music show Electric Circus on MuchMusic. He signed my vinyl copy and I was very happy to see this one get a lovely 12″ x 2 release on Defected Records not long afterwards. A great addition to any disco house set, this one still gets the crowds going.