"Legend" is a term that gets thrown around electronic music just as casually as any other global entertainment business. Few have truly earned the title, but when it comes to Green Velvet we couldn't be any clearer in referring to him as a certified legend of house music.
Responsible for some of the biggest tracks in the history of the genre, the Chicago native is loaded with cultural importance.
Even those who have little to no interest in electronic music are likely to be familiar with his 2001 electro-crossover track, La La Land. In Europe in particular, the track charted in the top 30 singles in various countries.
Before Green Velvet, there was Curtis Jones. Jones was a bright pupil who excelled in academia.
After finishing high school, he enrolled at the University of Illinois to read chemical engineering. His mom had high hopes of what her Curtis could achieve, but midway through his studies, impressionable Jones had his head turnt. House music emerging from the region and gaining traction on local radio had struck a chord.
Despite the distractions, talented Jones would graduate from college with his degree, but his subsequent masters degree at the University of California would be cut short, as he returned home to pursue music.
Beginning in 1991, his first project was under the pseudonym of Cajmere with Cajual Records starting soon after. This period is best known for his work with R&B vocalist Dajae.
It also spawned one of his most timeless hits. (It's time for the) Percolator has enjoyed an evergreen existence on the underground circuit. The anthem has been remixed and remastered numerous times, captivating multiple generations of clubbers.
Later on, Jones launched Relief Records, which would become a platform for more functional club music. It was then that he began releasing music as Green Velvet.
Far from being simply another recording alias, Green Velvet was to become his most iconic stage persona. Complete with luminous Afro-mohican wig, shades and devilish mic skills, Green Velvet is an eccentric alter-ego who was instantly taken to the heart of house music enthusiasts.
To the present day, Green Velvet continues to work with heavyweight collaborations. Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, Carl Craig, Claude VonStroke and Patrick Topping are just a handful of studio partnerships that delivered memorable work.
Answering Machine, Voicemail and Flash are part of a sterling discography, the latter of which is a rare example of a house music track whose lyrics take an anti-drug stance.
Even after all this success, Green Velvet's mom is still a little bummed he never got a "real" job. Though we suspect she's mighty proud of the legacy behind him.
"Cameras ready, prepare the flash"