The Spotlight: MJ Cole at Flash

This is ‘The Spotlight.’ Many artists pass through D.C. on a weekly basis, but this column highlights one specific artist/group who happens to be playing in the District within the coming week. That way, you can join their journey as they influence the electronic music landscape.

MJ Cole is a genius. One of the major influencers of British dance music at the turn of the 21st century, this Royal College of Music graduate has been on the forefront of dance music for close to two decades and is largely considered to be one of the biggest voices in UK garage and house. His fingerprints can be found in the work of Disclosure and Eats Everything. His touch can be heard in grime and in the UK hip-hop sound of Dizzee Rascal. Simply put, as a producer and tastemaker, MJ Cole is one of the defining house music artists for a whole generation of creatives. And these same creatives are the ones shaping our current wave of dance music. MJ Cole’s influence is everywhere.

A producer whose early work was largely rejected by distributors, his rise in dance music started with his 1998 hit “Sincere.” After getting picked up by now defunct AM:PM and receiving support from globally renowned DJs like Pete Tong, “Sincere” would later crack the UK Top 40. In the years that followed, he created a sound for himself which embraced classic house structure, pitter patter percussion, and pop music. His sound was lounge ready, but still street wise. His remixes of tracks like Amy Winehouse’s “Fuck Me Pumps” and Mariah Carey “Loverboy” tastefully blended his UK garage and 2-step aesthetic with pop in ways that stayed true to his roots while slickly pandering to mainstream sensibilities. Other remixes, like his take on De La Soul’s “All Good,” took his fascination with R&B styled vocals to an extreme that puts him alongside some of the Chicago house greats.

In recent years, he’s been hard at work on his label Prolific Recordings and producing with the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley among others – putting an imprint on UK’s grime and hip-hop scene in addition to his placement in house music. Most recently, he’s had releases on Redlight’s Lobster Boy label, Method White, Ministry of Sound, and a notable remix of Jess Glynne’s global hit, “Hold My Hand.” Showing that he’s continually elevating his game and his sound at a time when the UK is arguably the dance music powerhouse, MJ Cole’s more than just a staple in the community. He’s an unstoppable presence.

This week, you can see MJ Cole at Flash. Presented by Cadence and the SpreadLove Project, MJ Cole will be headlining an electric evening of UK inspired grooves in a setting that’s incredibly intimate. This is not one set to be missed. For more information on the event and ticket details, visit the following event page.