When you are walking into an event where Tony Moran is manning the turntables, you know you are in for a magical evening. You may hear a Gloria Estefan rarity, or you may hear a Whitney Houston classic. And you may get a chance to hit the dance floor to a Jason Walker and Tony Moran collaboration!
DJ/Producer/Remixer Tony Moran collaborates with Kimberly Davis
No matter what is on the turntable, the music and atmosphere is magical. That same description can go towards Moran’s latest collaboration with the divine Kimberly Davis, who he just collaborated with again on “You’re Good For Me,” which just hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
I caught up with Tony Moran to talk about his latest collaboration with Kimberly Davis, some deep talk on some rare tracks, and why he has cornered the market on working with some of our most legendary diva-tastic voices!
Michael Cook: “You’re Good For Me” is your latest collaboration with Kimberly Davis, and once again, you have created magic with an amazing female vocalist.
Tony Moran: There is something about me and women, right? I definitely wasn’t meant to date them, but I sure know how to produce them! (laughs). There is just this connection that I have with singers in general, I just so appreciate their craft.
I have been lucky enough to work with these people who want to do something with the gifts they have. When I get a great singer and a great songwriter, I am all in. I just love music. The magic between Kimberly and I… we must have been married in another life. We finish each other’s sentences. We can tell each other’s thoughts by looking at each other. We are great friends. I can create with her on such a personal level.
There are so many tracks you have created that are beyond iconic, and many of your songs are truly a master class in both music production and remixes. For example; your mix of Patti LaBelle’s “Shoe Is On The Other Foot” remains a true masterpiece, and the younger generation is even getting into it!
TM: Thank you so much! I think the reason someone would love that track now — that may not have gotten to hear it back then — is because every single person that worked on the track believed in it. Every note that Patti sang, every drumbeat, is believable. We all believed in what we made. I remember being with Patti LaBelle and working on that track so clearly. My only stipulation to the record company when I was asked to remix it was that I re-record it with her from scratch. I had a vision for the song to conform to what audiences were responding to from me at that time. The song was super beautiful stylistic-wise. But I needed some “Patti” on it! I needed some beats and music, and she said yes.
The same goes for when I worked with Luther Vandross and Gloria Estefan. The fascination that I have is that people at that level have to give it a hundred percent. When I meet other singers and they expect it to be done for them, it’s different. The attitude of a true star is to let me go in and give one hundred percent. And to see how great we can make it. That’s the school of music I went to.
“Instead of putting them all into one “diva” category, I just want them to be a person,” said Tony Moran
You have set the standard for working with women with roaring vocals and amazing talents when they get into a studio with you. From Deborah Cox, Kimberly Davis, to Lisa Lisa, you have the golden touch for working with women, and creating moments that are defining on the dance floor, and in the studio
TM: Because of the level of appreciation that I have for the art of music, whether I am producing the cover girls’ “Show Me” or re-recording Deborah Cox’s “Easy As Life”, these people are artists. Instead of putting them all into one “diva” category, I just want them to be a person. I want to see where they can go as an artist. We find where we can go together. When you put energy and mutual willingness in one room, its magical. It’s truly a moment to look at what we have done as a team. I always try to have many people included in my productions. I value everyone’s efforts and that energy is contagious.
I will tell you though, when I produced Cher, yes it was a little nerve wracking. Not really to tell her how to sing per se, but to tell her how I wanted her to approach a song.
I am so happy with Kimberly’s enthusiasm and her confidence behind the mic. When I tell her that “that is the take” she trusts me. That trust is the foundation for this and any relationship. We are attached perfectly together. We share laughs, we share stories, and we wear our hearts on our sleeves.
I used to be apprehensive to play the classics
So much of what people love about Tony Moran music is that you will toss in a true rarity, like “Love So High” the Cher remix you never released. They are the true treats for the fans. Does it ever get tiring to be able to surprise your fans?
TM: Not at all. I think now I am at this place mentally where I used to be apprehensive to play the classics. It was all about new music and also the music that would work well with what I was playing or into at the time. Now, It is great to hear and play those classics. When I see people singing along to every word, I have to be so proud of it. I recently ended a set in Seattle with the Whitney Houston mix of “You’ll Never Stand Alone” and they went crazy. That song is all about the message and people were so enthusiastic. I was in that moment of joy with them. I may not have produced or written that song, but I was able to interpret it in my way and that is awesome.
What is going on for Tony Moran this summer?
I have been in Los Angeles working on some television and music stuff. But I am going back to Australia. I am doing as many gigs as ever. I am trying to really organize my life. I can handle it!
But why am I putting myself through it? I want to give myself that week to fully work on a song with someone. I am realizing you can make more things happen with quality moments — when you are not rushing out of one moment to go into another. I am feeling that more times than not. I still feel like the eye of the storm. All of these things need to move around me for me to be balanced.