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Grammy-winner David Morales tells us about his life in house music

By Adam Zacharias (

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Published: Thu 28 Apr 2011, 11:38 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:04 AM

LOOKING MORE LIKE a nightclub’s bouncer than its DJ, tough New Yorker David Morales has been a house music heavyweight for the last 25 years.

Growing up in a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood, the young hopeful learnt his craft on stolen equipment (“We were gangsters, you know,” he explains).

After being taken under the wing of late DJ legend Larry Levan, David garnered a reputation for himself as a master remixer in the late 80s – working with pop’s biggest acts such as Diana Ross, Pet Shop Boys and Aretha Franklin.

The 49-year-old, who won a Grammy in 1998 for his remix work, has also released several original albums and continued his worked as a producer and planet-hopping live DJ – even finding time for a spot of modelling here and there.

City Times spoke with David.

Is it true that you used to play Chicago, the birthplace of house music, during the dawn of the genre?

House music originated in Chicago in the 70s, where my friend Frankie Knuckles was the resident DJ at a club called The Warehouse. People everywhere were saying, “We love The Warehouse music”, which was maybe too long, so they started calling it house music. I was invited by Larry Levan to play there when I was a teenager, everybody loved my music and I played there regularly. From Chicago, house music slowly spread to New York and other cities around the world.

And what influence has your native New York had on today’s dance music, in your opinion?

New York played a part in creating deep and soulful house music, which it’s famous for around the world right now.

In recent years, you claim to have become disillusioned with the state of modern music. Are there any artists who have given you newfound encouragement?

I wouldn’t say disillusioned, it’s just a lot of DJ/producers are getting more into commercial material just for the sake of it. I agree you should always change your sound, as music changes every now and then, like fashion, but you should always be true to yourself and the music you always loved. I’m not against it – everyone has the right to do what they like. I always get my inspiration from legends like Larry Levan and Michael Jackson, but there are also lots of new artists doing some great things.

Should DJing be closed to a select, gifted few, or simplified and open to anyone who wants to please a crowd?

Everybody can choose whatever they would like to be in life, including DJing. I don’t even know how many professional, amateur or semi-professional DJs are there in this world right now. But you have to note that DJing and producing are two different things. Anybody can DJ and please a crowd if they learn how to use a mixer or turntable, but to actually produce a track isn’t that simple.

Can you see yourself taking a hiatus from music anytime soon?

As a matter of fact, I did few years back. I stopped DJing and producing, and I started a club in Montreal called Stereo in 2006. But during that time I felt there was something missing in my life, so I terminated my partnership with the club. Here I am, doing what I do best and what I love most: house music. I’m back producing, remixing and touring around the world and making people forget their troubles – at least for a while.

What’s the news on your latest album?

I’m just glad to be back in the studio. I’ve completed mixes on my new single You Just Don’t Love Me, and we filmed the video last month in Miami during the Winter Music Conference. It’s the first single from my new album Resurrection, which is out in June.

Event details

  • What: David Morales DJ set
  • Where: Sanctuary, Atlantis Hotel, Palm Jumeirah
  • When: Thursday, April 28, 10pm to 3am
  • Cost: Dhs150 men, Dhs100 ladies
  • Tickets: Go to or call 055 150 3811 for table reservations

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