Black Box Biography
Last updated: 11/28/2003 08:39:46 PM
One of the leading exponents of a wave of Italian house music that flourished on the dancefloors of the late 80s and early 90s, Black Box comprised three Italian studio musicians (Daniele Davoli, Mirko Limoni and Valerio Semplici), collectively known as Groove Groove Melody. Based in the Regio D'Emillia area of northern Italy, and made frequent use of "singer" Katrin (b. Catherine Quinol, Paris, France, of Guadelope descent). Semplici was a clarinet teacher and played in the La Scala Classical Music Orchestra in Milan. Davoli was a well-known Italian club DJ (known as DJ Lelewel), largely at the Marabu Starlight Club, while Limoni was the computer and keyboard whizz kid of the trio and had previously engineered for Italian pop act Spagna. The Groove Groove Melody team were established as one of the top two production outfits in Italian dance music, churning out more than a dozen singles a year in their native country. Katrin was spotted by Spagna's guitarist at a club, and, after introductions, featured as vocalist on "Ride On Time". The single became the first of a series of Italian house records to crossover to the UK charts, staying at number 1 for six weeks in 1989. Controversy reigned when it was realized that the single had sampled the voice of singer Loleatta Holloway from the "Love Sensation" single she made with Dan Hartman in the late 70s. An agreement was eventually worked out with Salsoul (who owned the rights) as both companies benefited from 800,000 UK sales. The Groove Groove Melody team were also behind the production of Starlight's "Numero Uno" and Mixmaster's "Grand Piano", another prime example of "Italo-house", and another crossover hit. Under seven or more pseudonyms, they turned out numerous further records. However, as Black Box, their hits included "I Don't Know Anybody Else", "Everybody Everybody" (the last of the "Ride On Time" trilogy), "Strike It Up", and "Fantasy", a revamp of the Earth, Wind And Fire hit, all of which featured an uncredited Martha Wash on vocals and broke them into the US market. They were also responsible for, among other remixes, ABC's 1991 comeback single, "Say It". Their mid-90s singles, "Not Anyone", "I Got The Vibration", and "Native New Yorker", enjoyed limited chart success.