Ask any fan of dance music who their favourite male vocalist is and nine times out of ten Robert Owens name will come back. Sure, there are other great male house vocalists out there, but with more than twenty years as a gifted singer, songwriter, producer and DJ under his belt, Robert has not so much embellished house music as played a large part in defining it. ‘Tears’, ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’ and ‘Ordinary People’ are just some of the tunes that have borne his black velvet voice and gone on to become truly classic dance records.
Like many other great vocalists, Robert Owens began his career singing in church gospel choirs. Growing up in the poor areas of Chicago and L.A., where gang related shootings were part of day-to-day life, music proved to be his inspiration and determination to get out of those sad circumstances. Entry into the nascent world of house music came not through Robert’s singing but his skills as a DJ. By the time people like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles were designing house music’s blueprint on the dancefloors of legendary venues like the Warehouse and the Music Box, Robert was DJing at block parties and smaller clubs in Chicago.
From the gritty but sublime Trax of yesteryear to the forward-looking projects of today, Robert Owens is one of dance music’s true legends, a man who has his roots in the future and his feet planted firmly on the earth – and a man who has never been afraid of sharing himself with others.