Lenny Fontana - Biography
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Lenny Fontana has been on the house music scene for more than 20 years as a DJ Producer/Remixer and since 2013 Owner of Karmic Power Records. Born and raised in the “Melting Pot” of New York City, which has proven to be a constant creative influence on his fresh sounds, playing a major contribution that led to Lenny's worldwide recognition. His productions have crossed commercially worldwide and some have become classics. He is best known for #11 on UK Pop Chart with Powerhouse feat. Duane Harden “What You Need”, #17 UK Pop Chart Lenny Fontana & DJ Shorty “Chocolate Sensation” and many other chart hits. Lenny has played in the famous Studio 54 NYC, The Shelter, The Underground, Wildpitch, Ministry of Sound, Club Yellow, Club Gold, Club Eleven, Webster Hall, Space Ibiza, Amnesia and many popular clubs around the world. He was the first American DJ to play in Pacha Ibiza and in Dubai.
Now begins Lenny Fontana's career and the birth of his new label Karmic Power Records. In 2013 Lenny teamed up with Salt `N` Pepa's Tour DJ, DJ Dee Wiz on the first single “Music Makes You Wanna” with house remixes from ATFC and DJ PP. Upcoming releases to follow are “Everybody Put Your Hands Up” and “I Don't Want You Back” with remixes from Marshall Jefferson, Samir Maslo, Funkerman, Richard Gray, and Gary Caos. The vision of Karmic Power is to release high quality dance records that can become future dance floor classics.
Defected records had much success with Lenny Fontana and his productions. In 2006 he released a club classic called “The Way” with lead vocalist Octav'hia Lambertis from C+C Music Factory. Back in 1999 Strictly Rhythm Records licensed Powerhouse feat Duane Harden’ What You Need to Defected / Ministry of Sound which instantaneously hit the Top 15 in the UK Pop Charts and landing at #11 in the UK and various European Pop Charts. The single crossed over into the mainstream MTV U.S. market along with South America culminating in live performances on Top of the Pops, Pepsi Chart Shows in the UK and in all chart shows around Europe. DJ Magazine proclaimed “Powerhouse” was a neck ahead in the annual most hammered tune at the Miami Winter Music Conference. DMA and Mixmag called “What You Need” a must have club anthem.
Lenny recollects his beginnings as the start of his career. I started listening to the Mastermixes with DJ Shep Pettibone on 98.7 Kiss FM New York around 1981-82 and was completely dazzled by his fantastic editing skills as well as his great music selection of R+B Dance Music, which started my passion to be a DJ. I immediately went out and purchased my (2) Technic Turntables, a Bozak Mixer and my Technics 1500 Reel to Reel and practiced what I had been hearing on the radio. His first break came when legendary Studio 54 promoter Baird Jones asked him to play at New York's Underground located in Union Square NYC. Until that glorious moment he was playing at private events and smaller house parties which in turn taught him to play to different crowds.
Lenny Fontana has also left an imprint for his part in the history of House Music. He was even invited by the resident DJ Pippi of Pacha Ibiza to play the club. It was later said that Lenny was the first American House DJ to play on the white isle of Ibiza at Pacha in the early 90's. Lenny recalls it being an honor to be asked to play somewhere before any other American DJ. In 2010 Space Ibiza announced he would be resident for Cafe Ole in the terrace for that summer. As well he was again the first American DJ to play in Dubai.
Longtime friend and business dance mogul Eddie Gordon had dinner one night with Lenny and discussed about some legendary tapes that Lenny had owned for quite a while. Lenny being a huge fan of the Paradise Garage and Air Personality Frankie Crocker from WBLS, he was able to record off the air, “The Legendary Second Birthday Party live from the Paradise Garage with Mc Fadden and Whitehead, Dan Hartman, Loletta Holloway, and Sylvester performing. The 6 hour event was broadcasted on WBLS 107.5 FM NYC in January of 1979. Eddie Gordon could not sit still; he asked for snippets and ran off to London to present the idea to the head of programming Fergus Dudley at BBC Radio. When BBC heard the music they coined it instantly as radio gold dust and “Legends of the Dancefloor” show was born.
Lenny was now part of a sacred few that were able to share the Paradise Garage with the world and with the help of Eddie Gordon through Larry Levan's own voice, his music and in depth interviews by his peers and many industry heavyweights. The broadcast aired over five one hour evenings and the final five hour broadcast from the club was on the final Saturday show. This series became one of the most sought after the BBC offered and is championed as “The Greatest Essential Mix” turning out to be the most downloaded radio documentary. Through the help of BBC; Eddie Gordon and Lenny Fontana have become official audio biographers and helped share Larry Levan's story and bring the Paradise Garage to a whole new generation. When the head program director Skip Dillard of WBLS heard about this famous rebroadcast he immediately contacted and wanted a full copy to rebroadcast as well on WBLS portals and website for Black History Month. What started on WBLS went full circle and ended back on thanks to Lenny Fontana archiving this history.
Lenny's start in production and remixing started with him editing mixes on an open reel to reel tape machine. This then progressed into making special extended edit mixes of popular dance records of the time. He felt he needed to progress in getting into production work so it started with programming drum beats to writing songs on a Atari 1040 STE computer and a sampler. As he was starting to be recognized (more as a producer re-mixer) worldwide from the records being produced and mixing in all the big studios (in New York and England) it pushed him into owning his own SSL Console. In doing so his dream became a reality and Lenny Fontana’s studio opened in 2000.
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