Philadelphia’s own Kathy Sledge, lead singer of Sister Sledge has signed a new record deal with Ibiza based electronic music label Pacific Electronic Music (PEM). Jerry Greenberg who was instrumental in the success of Sister Sledge when he was President of Atlantic Records co-own’s the label and signed Sledge. The label which is a partnership between Greenberg and Ibiza based electronic producing and DJ duo, The Aristofreeks will release a new electronic version of Sister Sledge's classic "We Are Family," as her first release. She will do a follow up of an original song, "Thank You," shortly after.
PEM launched the label at the 16th Annual DJ Awards in Ibiza, September 25, 2013, with a live showcase of The Aristofreeks and Kathy Sledge performing “We Are Family”. The Ibiza DJ Awards presented Kathy Sledge the prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award for her work both inside and outside the music industry.
Kathy Sledge is a natural fit in today’s electronic music scene, singing lead on two of the most beloved, best selling and worldwide, recognized dance songs ever produced (“We Are Family” and “He’s The Greatest Dancer”). Her voice is instantly recognizable to today’s fans and she continues to sing her hits to sold-out clubs and packed private appearances worldwide
Earlier this year, Sledge approached Jerry Greenberg to help her with a Billie Holiday tribute project, "Brighter Side of Day," to be produced by Stanley Clarke. Shortly after that she met the Aristofreeks, whose work she says "just blew me away." Sledge still plans to record the Holiday project, but she sees working in the EDM world as a natural extension of what she did with Sister Sledge.
Sledge has so far recorded about six songs with the Aristofreeks, including remakes of some other Sister Sledge material. Examiner.com recently caught up with Sledge as she gushed about the news of her exciting record deal, getting back in the studio, and remaking the hit we all love, “We Are Family” read my full interview with the star below:
Examiner: How are you?
Kathy Sledge: “I am doing well, thank you.”
Examiner: Congratulations on the new record deal and how did that come about?
Kathy Sledge: “I would like to say that everything came full circle…this is all from passion and all the players involved are very passionate. Jerry Greenberg who is a legend and I actually partnered with him at the label and when we all met, it just came together and felt right.”
Examiner: How did your sisters respond to the switch/transition to EDM?
Kathy Sledge: “Through the years the original sisters and I have not been working together for a very long time; for some creative reasons and personal reasons…I’ve done a lot of solo projects, and I think that the first response that I got came from the Elle Magazine write-up last spring and they chose four women out of fifty who was getting better with time, and I was fortunate to have been chosen and that was a cool response from the sisters. It’s funny because I’m working on a book proposal for “We Are Family” and the story behind it is is that we are really family and I don’t think we are any different from any other family. In regards to this news, I haven’t heard many responses, but they are generally supportive.”
Examiner: How would you describe this label as compared to some of the labels you worked with in the past?
Kathy Sledge: “The first word that comes to mind is team, it’s such a team effort this time around as opposed to the executive behind the desk in my early days. Now, we are all players and the input that I have as an artist is heard and taken seriously.”
Examiner: How would you say record labels progressed to ensure that an artist is heard?
Kathy Sledge: “I think it had to change…a lot of that is because of the time we are living in now with how accessible music is to everyone. Now, the artist is heard directly from their fans and the people who help make the product listen to the artist more. I think as long as you know what you’re bringing to the piece and can respect what others bring, and then it will work very well. Before, it was such a hierarchy with the executives in the company and then the artist is left at the bottom. I remember being at Epic Records for my first solo project and someone brought a song to me that they felt was going to be a hit, but I wasn’t feeling it and instead of saying that it’s not a hit, I had to tell them that it wasn’t for me for who I was as an artist. I think that is the difference between well-rounded artists who remains true to who they are in their music.”
Examiner: What captivated you about Electronic Dance Music?
Kathy Sledge: “Dance music is home to me! I feel very comfortable with dance music and this music is a very comfortable place for me, and I have a wide fan-base there. Another word for dance music is uplifting music and I love doing that to people.”
Examiner: Was it nervous for you to get back in the studio and start recording, what kind of emotions were you feeling?
Kathy Sledge: “It’s funny, although I’ve been very quiet, I never stopped recording and I’ve been doing some really interesting global projects around the world like in Paris and some other places. I’ve been involved in a jazz project which I’m still involved in with the legendary Family Clark and my husband which is how I met up with Jerry Greenberg again. I have been very much so in the studio and if anything I have grown and as quiet as it is kept I still perform very often, mostly at private events.”
Examiner: How would you describe the new version of “We Are Family?”
Kathy Sledge: “When I was first asked to re-record the song I had a little reservation because I’m doing “We Are Family” but where’s my family? When they told me that they want it to be the international version that they are going to release and to be a guest artist, which was amazing. And once people hear it, you’re going to think you’re listening to the original version. The main difference between the original and the new version is that it reminds me of what the song would be if we never heard it before and the main difference is the electric driving beat underneath. It’s the same song with a driving groove underneath it geared to a different and younger market of today that is electric (laughs).”
Examiner: What did your children think of the new version?
Kathy Sledge: “They absolutely loved it and I have a feeling that is going to be the overall response once it is released.”
Examiner: What are your thoughts of the newer/younger generation of music?
Kathy Sledge: “I think with all ages of artists and all genres of music, there is good and there is bad. I think there are some great new artists coming out, I love Esperanza Spalding. I think that what I like more than anything now is that music sounds different, at one point everything started to sound the same and the younger artists took risks with their voices and that was nice. I think they realize that it is cool to be different and to always remain true to yourself, they have been able to develop a fan-base that doesn’t care if their next single is number 1 on the charts, and they will get the music because of the artists’ originality.”
Examiner: When can your fans expect the new single and album?
Kathy Sledge: “They can expect it before the month is out! Everyone on board is excited about that and we also have some great ideas in the works that I’m really excited about. I am also very excited about the newer songs and they are true to who I am. I’m really happy that I am able to explore this journey as an artist and I was able to come full-circle as a person."
Examiner: Lastly, what are you most looking forward to?
Kathy Sledge: “I am most looking forward to performing live; we are working on an electric music tour with some other artists. I am most excited about the energy and looking forward to performing some of the newer music. I must also say that I am so thankful to The Aristofreeks producers who did such an amazing job with this record and I’m so thankful for that.”