" Lewis Martinee "
Lewis at his Extreme recording studio.
|When you hear of such groups as Expose, Pet Shop Boys, Voice In Fashion, Olga, and Sequel, to list a few, you think of the mega-hit producer, Lewis Martinee. Martinee expresses creativity, authenticity, and world recognition for the dance music genre . He represents two major eras in Miamis Club scene. His work in the music industry continues to prevail over Miami for generations to come.|
|Within the warehouse districts of Miamis southern Dade County, lies a studio decorated with modern furniture, yellow Art Deco interior, and a nice spacious recording facility . These are the walls of the Extreme Music recording studios, where producer Lewis Martinee works daily. When Martinee is not in his studio he often is called away on business affairs or on one of his global trips.|
Known as the creator and producer of the legendary trio Expose, Mr. Martinee is usually found flying in and out of the country as his expertise and talents are needed for major recording projects around the world. When we caught up with Lewis, during our interview we reminisced and focused on the future of his music.
LM: LEWIS MARTINEE
JP: Ok , who is Lewis Martinee? Tell us about yourself and the early years.
LM: My name is Lewis
LM : I started out as a DJ at the same time I also had a rock band . This was around the late 70s . From there I would begin to record my band in small recording studios. Later, I started to do remixes and studio work for artist such as Celi Bee and Aumant . As the early 80s approached, I started to form and produce my own groups. In 1984 I put together the groups Sequel and Expose.
JP: What first Sequel record was that?
LM: "It's Not Too Late". I used various equipment to achieve that sound . Sequel was not known at that time, but it just so happened that their sound was their intro. "Its Not Too Late" was the record responsible for that sound.
JP: During 1985 many New York artist were flying to Miami to promote their material. Everyone from the Cover Girls to Safire . With a flood of new artists who held their own style and sound, did you yourself know what kind of movement you all were creating and the huge impact it would have on the population in both the cities of New York and Miami?
LM: Absolutely not. Anyone who says that they will create something that no one has ever seen or heard before and that the public will indeed support it, is lying through their teeth. No one at that time knew of the impact that the music would make. It is something that you have to see at the present, how the crowds start to scream and yell for it at the top of their lungs. You try to make good music and hope people like it. You never know when something is going to break. You'll know when you go to a club and you hear the song being played and see people yelling and dancing.
basically there was a lot of experimentations going on?
LM: Yes, that is what one must always do. I personally was always in the studio experimenting and blending new sounds and mixing different styles of music.
JP: The sound of Sequels " Its Not To Late" inspired many of the "three chicks and a drum machine trio" that would soon emerge. The sound is also found on Exposes "Point Of No Return" and "Exposed To Love". Tell me how you got the Expose thing going?
LM: For those who do not know, there were several sets of Expose. The first set of Expose consisted of Lori , a girl who worked with me at a club. She was a waitress and sang a lil bit. She was in the group, but only for a little while. Then there was Sandra who later changed her name to Sandee and would go on as a solo artist who would later be known for "Youre The One" ( my heart beats for) and "Notice Me". Last was Ali , who came for a audition and became part of the group. I then hired a girl by the name of Laurie Miller to be the choreographer . The first Lori was replaced by Laurie Miller and that would be the original Expose who spawned the hit singles "Point Of No Return" and "Exposed To Love".
Before the album was released, the first set of girls would then be replaced by a second set due to internal disputes between members. One of the girls did not like to travel because she would get sick on every flight.
JP: So whats up with the second set?
LM: In fact, the first set was responsible for helping put together the second set of girls. Laurie, Sandee, and Ali told me of a girl they went to see at a show that sounded just like Ali. This girl was part of a local group and at that performance she sung "Point Of No Return" and the girls said that the vocal resemblance to Alis was identical. I then flew out to California and thats when I met this girl. I talked to her and made her part of the group. Her name was Jeanette Jurado.
JP: So ,Jeanette Jurado is originally from the west coast ?
LM: Yeah , Jeanette is from the west coast. Sandee is originally from New York. Lori and Laurie are both from Miami. A friend of mine who is also a writer introduced me to Ann Curllese, who sang demos for him. She sang at a club in South Miami called Whistlers. I went to see her and signed her to the group. Then some one told me of Gioia Bruno who worked at another club. I went to see her and signed her to the group.
The second set of Expose finished the album. Although the songs "Point Of No Return" and "Exposed To Love" were on the album, they contained the original vocals of the first Expose, Lori , Sandee , and Ali . Originally both "Exposed To Love" and "Point Of No Return" were released back in 84, but in 87 "Point Of No Return" was re-released as a 12" single with Jeanettes vocals . This followed a re-release of the cuts on the second album pressing. For those several thousand people who bought the first album it contained the vocals of the first set of girls on "Point Of No Return". Copies of that album were never pressed again. From then on all copies of "Point Of No Return" had Jeanettes vocals.
|JP: So, it is
a collectors item? (As I try to remember of every exact tape and record I have in my
LM: Yes. For those who have it, should feel lucky. If they do not have it , it is extremely difficult to find. Either way , the only existing song on both albums that contain the vocals of the original first Expose is "Exposed To Love".
JP: Whats up with set number three?
LM: In 1991 Gioia had throat problems and retired from the group. Then came Kelly and the the third album was completed.
JP: Ok , so this is when they appeared on Oprah and had that adult contemporary feel? (Remembering on that day how I was disappointed by Expose)
LM: Yes , they were the Expose of that time.
JP: What happened?
LM: The label thought that they needed a "new direction" and a "different sound". The label decided that they wanted to work with different producers on the third album. On this album I only produced four songs. Everyone else did the rest. I did not do as much on the third album as on previous albums. I do not know what happened. The album did not do as well.
JP: No wonder the album was a snoozer. He was mostly absent from the project. Here you have Expose who goes from a vibrant energetic trio to a trio who looks like they forgot about their audience and opted for a thirty something mainstream audience. Some of the material found on this album sounds like "Summers Eve" or other hygiene product commercials. But now we all know that Lewis is not to blame for the downfall of the group Expose.
LM: After the third album, a greatest hits album was released and this would be the end of the group. Shortly after the girls were released from the label. The members all went their separate ways. Last I heard about Jeanette, I think she was singing in Vegas. I do not know what ever happened to Ann. Gioia is singing in Miami with a local band. Thats the last I heard of them.
JP: That ,basically to you was a big chunk of your life right there?
LM: Yeah,yeah .
JP: From the day it began, until the day you saw it end. Would you do it again?
LM: In a heart beat! You know people sit there and say that it was a short time but Expose was around for ten years. They had four albums. There were a lot of one hit wonders who obtained longevity with one good song, but Expose had ten and more. Especially, the dance material. In this industry people come and go with projects like it was nothing. When you have a project that last for ten years this becomes a big part of your career and part of you. You dont notice this until you look back and you realize what you have achieved and compare it to the standards and see how good your material really is .
JP: Ok, so now you find yourself working with Ish and Funk-E Frank on the new Company B project.
What I want to know, along with everyone else, is what does their material consist of ? Company- B is a name of a group that reminds people of Miamis Club phase of the 80s Freestyle scene. You think of Club 1235 and the girls with their white wigs and blue leather outfits. What can people expect?
their material is going to be a mixture of ballads and different sounds of dance music. I
cannot be specific because its a experimentation of sounds.
The closest thing people can expect is something similar to a updated 70s disco sound. At the moment, I believe that their sound might be the sound of the future.
JP: So, its like another 3rd Partys "Your Love Is Alive" type feel?
LM: Something like that. Right now we are in the process of finishing the final touches. Over all the album is finished. What we are going to do is start promoting it to radio stations and see what appeals to them as well as what appeals to the DJs.
JP: What DJs are you going to have remixing all that stuff ?
LM: Specifically, I dont know, we haven't decided yet.
JP: How is it that you, Frank and Ish got together?
LM: Well, we have known each other and it just happened. If I decided to bring back Expose, I feel that they would probably help me out.
JP: Will you bring back Expose?
LM: I really do not come from the school of reliving the past. It happened and some things are better left alone. That does not mean if I form a new group and they want to remake an Expose song that I would not do it, nor does it mean I would not work with any former Expose members as solo artist.
JP: Music evolves. Throughout the decades many producers such as Quincy Jones have dedicated themselves with one genre of music. Each genre of music goes through trends and its phases of evolution. Where do you see yourself headed ? Any specific genre?
LM: In music you need to change to survive. You need to stay with what's popular in order to survive. I personally do not sit and say to myself that a project is going to be a specific type of music. As I work , I see where the project best fits. One also has to remember to keep all options open. I am very flexible.
JP: Aside from Company B, are you involved with any other projects?
LM: Yes, at the moment I am putting together and working on a new dance group called Bitter Sweet. They are really good. I also have this female singer who is really talented. She will be singing dance music and ballads. She is also bilingual and we will definitely target both markets. Her name is Jessica.
At the moment I am also working with a Colombian artist whos name is Carolina. She is working on a pop album and is currently an actress in a soap opera in Colombia. I am also working with a new artist by the name Elvis Crespo and with Enrique Iglesias.
|Oh, I almost
forgot. I am also involved with the Total Ritmo Compilation that has the new Sequel, Ray
Guel, Nyasia, Voices in Fashion and many others.
JP: ( I was excited to hear about the Total Ritmo Compilation)
LM: (smiling as he looks for his DAT tapes.)
The Wrap up:
Hmm Sequel, Voices in Fashion the resurgence of Freestyle Music artists. Now we all know what it means to "Keep Our Options Open". We spent the remainder of interview listening to digital audio tapes of various remixes and material that is not yet known about. The hours passed and we graciously thank Lewis for taking time off from his work to meet with Freestyle Music.Com. As we left he immediately returned to work.
A new generation of club freaks will joyfully experience and witness the talents of Lewis, as those of the Disco and Freestyle era did. His contributions in music and continued efforts will forever keep Lewis as a key figure in the music industry.
I leave you with some of Lewis Martinee's accomplishments.
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