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Stateside Podcast: Detroit's Godmother of House Music

Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale
Courtesy of Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale
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Detroit is techno city, the cradle of the artform. Each year an electronic music festival called Movement celebrates the city's rich music and history. After a hiatus due to COVID precautions, the long-awaited festival is up at it again this Memorial weekend, May 28-30.

One returning DJ is Detroit's own Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale, known as the Godmother of House Music. She's been part of the festival since the early 2000s when it was called the Detroit Electronic Music Festival.

This year you can expect her sound to be consistent with how her sets always are.

Hotwaxx Hale at Nashville museum
Courtesy of Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale
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An exhibit honoring Stacey "Hotwaxx" Hale at the National Museum of African American Music ins Nashville, TN.

"I like telling a story whenever I play anyway," Hotwaxx said. "I don't plan my set...I play from the vibe for the people. I look at them, I feel them, and I go with the feeling."

Hotwaxx was one of the first women who DJ’d and played house music on Detroit radio back in the 1980s. These days she's helping to usher in a new generation of women DJs. She's the creator and coordinator for Sheometry Arts and Music Festival and is also part of the leadership team launching a Women in Music chapter in Detroit.

"When the electronic music festival [in Detroit] started, I don't know if I counted how many men to women that were playing, but when I started counting, it was 100 DJs [to] six women," Hotwaxx reflected. "I'm looking at the...lineup [this year] and there's many more women...But why did it take that long? That's still just what it is. And so we have to fight back."

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Looking for more conversations from Stateside? Right this way.

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Music in today's episode by Blue Dot Sessions and Battle of the Bits.

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Radio in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the Summer of 2020.