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New York Magazine reports that [‘] Junior Vasquez [‘] has gotten Madonna’s blessing to remix her next single, ‘Hollywood’, but her rep insists that the dueling divas haven’t settled their differences. “Madonna did it as a personal favor,” Liz Rosenberg said. “I can assure you that Madonna will never work with Junior again.” That favor was for Donatella Versace, who wanted the track included in the runway music that Vasquez is producing for her spring 2004 men’s show in Milan this month.

Donatella (Versace) Swept Away by Junior

“I can assure you that Madonna will never work with Junior again.” True.
Never. Ever. Ever.

I thought that working with Madonna officially would be the last thing I wanted to do with Junior to cap off success and hang up my Manager cap, besides earning him what Peter Rauhofer said would never happen: “Joonyah will nevah get a Chrahmmy. Everybody hates him too much.” Peter was right about the Grammy: I spent the better part of a year of my life trying to work the very political system of  NARAS in concert with Christina’s record label to lobby for Junior to even get a nomination for his remix of Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”, unsuccessfully.

Came as close as possible on the Madonna part, thanks to Donatella. But there were RULES:
1. Junior himself could not himself have the vocals in his possession.
2. Junior himself could not promote or exploit the remix in any fashion other than the use for which Donatella had personally secured proper permission and authorization directly from Madonna.

… Junior could basically do nothing, barely mention Her name. He deserved it with the “If Madonna Calls” stunt. She never even called him, much less left him a message on his answering machine. Nice stunt though.

“If Mariah Calls” drops simultaneously with Mariah Carey’s album (Epic Records) in Fall 2017

Officially working with Madonna was made possible, official, sanctioned, signed…sealed…approved thanks to Markus Ebner: great friend, brilliant man with a sense of style that made me quivver from the moment I met him, musically on point, with a illustrious career in fashion, publishing and the personal trust of icons like Donatella Versace.

Markus enjoyed dancing to Junior’s sets mid-Sunday mornings at Twilo. He often came back to my loft, and we had great chemistry. He’s one of the few people that I let poke through my records, tell me what to play, and top me while I was on the dj booth (figuratively, that is…he wasn’t a dj and wasn’t, like some friends, anxious to twist knobs together and press my buttons).

He made the initial connection for Junior (the brand more than the man) to create the music for a Versace runway show in Milan. Donatella showered Junior with a delivery of a hundred white roses; she was so pleased with the music. Markus and I picked it from my vinyl and I beatmixed it. Junior put his “seal of approval” on it, and in fact it was done “in his spirit,” so it’s more his than anyone’s…lest the rightful credit be ripped from his already tattered legacy.

The chemistry must have felt right to Donatella Versace (picky about the music for her fashion shows more than any other designer in my opinion), because it ended up being one of many shows with music created by JVM for Versace. Within just a few seasons, Donatella went so far as to get permission from Madonna for her runway show to include a custom Vasquez Remix of “Hollywood”.

Vasquez Granted Permission to Remix Madonna (This Time It’s Got To Be Good)

Donatella was kind enough to come to Earth where she and friends spent a few gleeful hours on a Sunday morning above Junior’s booth carrying on like kids in a rarely used VIP birds-eye booth overseeing the madness two floors below.

Donatella invited us to Gianni’s former home Junior in Milan (the first of the Versace homes I had been in besides Casa Casuarina in Miami, where I first met Gianni-RIP). We went to Milan to deliver the music…just to press “play” in fact. There we mingled with Chelsea Clinton, Beyonce’s mama Tina Knowles, Kelly Rowland, photographer David LaChapelle, Elton John’s hubby David Furnish and other queens and princesses. Had it not been for a few minutes with Mrs. Knowles made possible by Donatella, I doubt that the slew of Junior Vasquez Remixes for Beyonce, Destiny’s Child (beginning with “Krazy in Luv”, and including “Baby Boy”, “Me Myself & I”) and my own for Kelly Rowland (“Ghetto”) and Michelle Williams (“Hello Heartbreak” & “Break the Dawn”) would have never happened.

The graciousness and generosity of Donatella Versace blew me off my feet.

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Once Junior feigned a heart attack while he was dj’ing because he “didn’t feel like” going to Paris as he had agreed by accepting Donatella’s invitation in July 2002 to “press play”. Ambulance to Earth (the club) and all… Hysteria. Junior had been telling testing the waters about how I would react to such a thing in the days prior however by joking to my assistants about having a heart attack and not being able to go. Ambulance to Earth (Village Voice)

Markus instructed me to explain to Donatella myself (who was in bed resting at the  Ritz Hotel in Paris…where she talked to me as if she were human). She didn’t throw a fit…nor throw me out the window.

Donatella, knowing how things worked behind the scenes, told me to get to the Versace store to get suited up by the store’s stylist. Me? I guess she didn’t like my sharp look from Banana Republic’s new collection – lol.

I had to wait a bit because Shaggy was being outfitted first (fine, I thought-haha_). Cool to meet Shaggy – we did a remix for him that was fun, and I was glad that Junior wasn’t there because I knew that he would have no idea who Shaggy was, that he had remixed his song, or what it was called much less sounded like. Ufff.

The runway show with an unobstucted full view of the Eiffel Towel was breathtaking.

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Markus Ebner (L) + me (R)

I was dressed and looking fine to press play, but I was half-thrilled and half-horrified when Donatella said that I would have to DJ the afterparty, which we had no idea about prior to boarding (and about which Junior would have thrown a fit). Had Junior known, he would have actually had a heart attack, but Donatella said that she would explain to him if he had a problem with me dj’ing in his place.

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Afterparty memories:

  1. George Michael was uncomfortably close in the booth imploring me to play Robin S’ “Show Me Love”. After the fourth time, it was pure comedy. How dare I not appreciate those moments more, ? [RIP GM]
  2. I straddled between hip and house with an eye on P. Diddy to see his reaction. That took techniques that I hadn’t polished before that night (not easy on Technics).
  3. Kylie Minogue was not there as someone told me.
  4. Paris never looked so beautiful…except being there with my mom.

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I rushed home to discharge the “heart attack patient” from the hospital. His heart was fine, thankfully.

Junior and I were practically one for almost a decade running, and I lived that night and day mostly covering his ass instead of, as I sometimes regret, making the most of it for myself. I thought I might lose myself if he lost his way.

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It goes boom boom boom

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“This song is like a metaphor for me. It’s the place where you forget about the really interesting things in life. … You can lose everything because you can lose yourself.”

—Madonna speaking to Spanish radio station Los 40 Principales about “Hollywood”.[1]

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One thought on “Swept Away

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