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Shaun J. Wright & Alinka share their favorite musical memories from Chicago

Chicago raised Dj’s producers Shaun J. Wright & Alinka have been steadily on the rise over the past few years with material on their Twirl imprint garnering them support from the likes of BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, Heidi, Luke Solomon, Tim Sweeney, Lauren Flax and recent sets at Berlin’s revered Panorama Bar. After releasing a couple EP’s on Crosstown Rebels and The Classic Music Company they are about to drop new material on Lovecrimes – to be out on July 15th.

Anticipating that special date they shared with us some of their favorite tunes, some beatiful Chicago classics included!

Shaun J Wright

1. Steely Dan – Babylon Sisters (MCA Records)

This is the sound of my early childhood. My mother was the lead singer in a band and she would play Steely Dan, Anita Baker, and The Manhattan Transfer as she prepared for her gigs at night. I would adoringly watch her apply her make-up, fix her hair and dress in her latest sequin creation. It all seemed so glamorous and the music accentuated the sophisticated mood of a nightclub performer getting ready to take the stage.

2. INXS – Need You Tonight (Atlantic Records)

Need You Tonight is one of my favorite songs. I remember being mesmerized by the video as a kid. Michael Hutchence’s vocal performance was sublime. His cool, restrained delivery against the hot, sensual groove equaled pop perfection!

3. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence (Mute Records)

Depeche Mode consistently married provocative lyrics with dark, gritty music. ‘Enjoy The Silence’ is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. This take on a love song is not cliché or saccharine. It is filled with the tension and dread that accompanies the vulnerability inherent in experiencing joy. There’s a deep honesty in the lyrics and delivery that I hope to reach one day as an artist.

4. Jump ‘Chico’ Slamm – Feel Free (Cajual Records)

Cajual Records is the definitive Chicago label for me. This song was mind-altering. In my early teen years it opened my heart and ears to the infinite possibilities of house music to spark emotion through its beauty. I still shed a tear when listening, remembering myself as a dream-filled adolescent in his bedroom with headphones on, eyes closed, and fully transported to another dimension through music.

5. Glenn Underground feat. Cei Bei – Take Me Back  (Cajual Records)

Another beauty from Cajual Records, this is the opening track of Derrick Carter’s deftly mixed “The Many Shades Of Cajual”.   It’s lush exquisiteness still gives me goosebumps twenty years later.


1 . Derrick Carter  – If I ( The Classic Music Company)

This record brings back a lot of memories of Chicago for me. I met Derrick around 2000 through my friend Dayhota and have bought as many records of his and Classic that I could get my hands on ever since. I’ve always been a massive fan of him as an artist and a human. He’s just a genius. I’ve spent a lot of sunrises listening to this beautiful album.

2. Cajmere feat. Dajae  – Day by Day (Green Velvet Mix) (Cajual Records)

It was hard to decide which Cajual record to choose because this label basically is Chicago for me. It made me fall in love with Chicago and House Music over and over again.  I actually play a different version of the Green Velvet mix that it took me about 7 years to find. I first heard my friend Justin play that version at a party and I remember hearing “Somebody Get Up” come in on repeat and just losing my mind. It still does that to me every time.

3. Gemini – If You Got To Believe In Something (Cajual Records)

I think for anyone that’s ever gone through some shit you can close your eyes and put this record on and remember why you shouldn’t give up. Gemini is one of my favorite producers and this track has kept me going through lots of rough patches in life. It reminds me of why I fell for House and why I’ll never give it up

4. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Epic)

My family moved from Kiev to Chicago in 1988. Back then Ukraine was still in the USSR so before landing in America I wasn’t exposed to pop music at all. This was the first music I discovered and fell in love with in life. Michael opened up a whole new world for me. There were a lot of secret dance parties in my bedroom after that.

5. Massive Attack – Teardrop (Emi Music)

One night I got stoned with a friend and rode around looking at the city lights listening to Massive Attack and it was life changing. Everyone should experience this at least once. Massive attack taught me to hear music in a different way. To be able to close my eyes and hear every little sound separately but also the way they dance together to create something magical. It was a very awakening experience to really feel every single sound in a song and it’s significance. Like seeing a beautiful painting up close for the first time.

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