ARTIST/DJ: ROBERT OWENS
LOCATION: BERLIN, GERMANY
Robert Owens is an American songwriter, record producer, DJ, and singer, best known for his work with the Chicago house group Fingers Inc. in the mid-1980s. As a solo artist, he has placed several songs on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, two of which hit number one: “I’ll Be Your Friend” (1992) and “Mine to Give” (2000), a collaboration with Photek.
Though electronica has typically been a producer’s medium (and the few vocalists who succeed are usually women), Robert Owens became one of the people associated with the late-1980s golden era of Chicago house. Born in Ohio, United States, Robert Owens grew up singing in church. Years later, he was working as a DJ in the 1980’s when he met Chicago producer Larry Heard. The pair formed Fingers Inc., and later Ron Wilson was brought in, and they released a few singles (“You’re Mine”/”It’s Over”) plus the 1988 album Another Side.
Owens had already released recordings on his own – “Bring Down the Walls” and “I’m Strong” made for Alleviated (with production from Heard), and he signed a solo contract with 4th & B’way Records. One of his best-known features of the late 1980s, “Tears,” appeared with the names of Frankie Knuckles and producer Satoshi Tomiie.
By 1996, he had returned to dance music with “Ordinary People,” a two-part EP recording for Musical Directions. He joined up with Tomiie (again) and Cevin Fisher in 1999 to make a track from Tomiie’s Full Lick LP. One year later, in 2000, Owens appeared on the Photek hit “Mine to Give.”
He collaborated with Coldcut on their album Sound Mirrors on the track “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” in 2006 and collaborated with Rob Pearson on the single “Escape from the Madness,” which was released on Plastic City in 2007. In 2011, he collaborated with the Brookes Brothers on their single “Beautiful,” which was released on the Breakbeat Kaos label. Later that year, he collaborated with Dutch drum and bass producer Icicle and featured on the tracks “Step Forward” and “Redemption,” which appeared on Icicle’s debut album Under the Ice released in April 2011 on Shogun Audio.
In 2012, he featured on Mosca’s song “Accidentally” from the Eva Mendes EP and on Orgue Electronique’s album Strange Paradise with the song “Our House.” In 2013, he released the single “Trusting Me,” taken from the vocal collaboration album Features by Kris Menace. The video of the single was premiered by MTV Iggy in the US.
Owens is known for his contributions to the Chicago house music scene in the 1980s and 1990s. He gained prominence as the lead vocalist for the influential house music group Fingers Inc., which included producers Larry Heard and Ron Wilson.And The It alongside Herry Dennis and Larry..
Robert Owens is considered one of the pioneers of house music and has been influential in shaping the genre. His soulful and emotive vocals, combined with his songwriting skills, have made him a highly respected figure in the electronic music community. Some of his notable tracks include “Tears,” “I’ll Be Your Friend,” and “Bring Down the Walls.”
Throughout his career, Owens has collaborated with various artists and producers, including Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, and Satoshi Tomiie. He has released numerous solo albums and has contributed vocals to many house and techno tracks. Owens continues to perform and release music, and he remains an important figure in the history and development of house music.