Lenny Fontana from New York learned his craft from DJ Frankie Crocker, the program director of WBLS. Inspired by DJ Larry Levan, Fontana went on to play at Studio 54 in the late 80’s and other NYC clubs. Through the 1990’s he travelled the world and played at many famous nightclubs globally. He was the first US DJ to play at Pacha Ibiza and in Dubai.
Lenny had his first successful production in 1992 with Butch Quick’s “Higher” (Strictly Rhythm). In 1999 he had his first crossover hit record, “What You Need” (Defected Records/Ministry Of Sound) with under the name Powerhouse Featuring Duane Harden. This was a Top 10 hit in the UK was performed on the famous TV show Top of the Pops and the Pepsi Chart Show. In 2000 Lenny recorded his hit, “Chocolate Sensation” (FFRR/Warner). Both singles crossed over from the House charts to the Pop charts with the videos on heavy rotation on MTV worldwide. In 2005 Lenny Fontana presents Octah’via (of C+C Music Factory) “The Way“(Defected Records), which became a dance club hit.
After some soul searching, Fontana founded Karmic Power Records in 2013.
In 2015 Lenny Fontana & D-Train “Raise Your Hands” (Karmic Power Records) was a huge success as WMC Miami. Including remixes by David Morales and others, it received support from Louie Vega, Tony Humphries and many other DJ’s worldwide. At the end of 2015 the record hit the #3 position in The Music Week Club Chart UK, and #14 in the End of the Year Chart. Lenny also produced a successful single for Meli’sa Morgan, “So Good“(Fresh Entertainment/RFC Records). In 2016 and 2017, D-Train’s follow-up single “When You Feel What Love Has” (Karmic Power Records) received worldwide attention and hit the #4 position on Music Week Club Chart UK. With over 650 spins a week on daytime radio rotation in the USA, the song hit the #31 position on the Nielsen Billboard Indicator Radio Chart (USA) and the huge urban station WBLS 107.5 FM, Sirius XM Venus, Music Choice and many other FM stations added it to their daytime rotation. Currently, there is a new release slated with the famous UK artist feat. Alison Limerick, called “Bye Bye” (Karmic Power Records).
We had a conversation with Lenny Fontana at our party with Soulstice Music at The Tara, during Amsterdam Dance Event 2017.
House of Frankie, Amsterdam, ADE 22nd edition 2017.
Good evening and welcome, my name’s Randy Peterson from House Of Frankie and I’m here at the Amsterdam ADE Festival 2017 with legendary DJ and producer Lenny Fontana. Lenny, welcome.
Thank you and thank you for having me.
Thanks for joining us. So what do you think of the festival so far?
Well, you know every year it’s an amazing event because you don’t even have to have a badge on, just hanging out, you’re doing thousands of talkings, meetings, it’s intense. So it’s always for me a great place to learn what’s going on or share some of your experience and what’s going on in the industry.
That’s great, that’s brilliant. Well, could I ask you to tell us your plan for ADE, where are you gonna play and stuff like that.
Well, I’m playing one gig on Saturday at ‘The Web’, it’s a Karmic Power party which is my label, and Barbara Tucker performing. It’s gonna be a pretty cool event.
Sounds good, sounds good. And what day was that one sorry?
This saturday, October 21st.
Ok cool, I’m gonna get myself done then. So can you tell me briefly, how you kind of got into DJing and producing, I know you’ve been doing this for a very long time but if you could just sort of recap how you got into things and how things progress for you.
Well when I was a little kid my mother had a stereo with a turntable that dropped the records and I broke the antenna I took it and I talked DJing, was “Hey you’re listening to […] on Running Away” and I put the record on not really knowing what I thought I was hearing. As it progressed on I was around my cousin in the late seventies and he got his turntables, and I saw this beautiful silver techniques 1200, they were the first generation of 1200, and I’ve never forgot I went like this and I heard him say “Stop! Dont’ you touch them” and I went away like this with my hand, and he showed me how he was mixing and everything and that was the beginning and then the 80s is really where I got my chance.
You made some great tracks for all the 80s for all the 90s in fact.
I mean my big break was in New York at The Underground on a Richard Long sound system.
I’ve got a few tracks by you on the Kult Label which are amazing so I know you did a lot of work with Kult.
Defected, Ministry, Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Arista, I’ve had top 20 hit records with Power House featuring Duane Harden “Chocolate Sensation“, “Spread Love” which is an underground UK classic and a speak Rodge record that was not meant to be a speak Rodge record but I am the guy who created the record called “Spirit Of The Sun“, that was a huge hit in England.
So can you tell us what your plan is for the future after ADE, what you’re doing for the next weeks and months, you know next year.
In the last five years I’ve been working on my imprint Karmic Power Records and two of the major players on that is one vocalist named D-Train and we’re just about to take his record all the way to the top and I mean over the top meaning we’ve already got daytime rotation on radio in America and, touch wood, I’m gonna be signing up to a major very shortly, I don’t want to mention yet because I’m in the middle of talking about that and as well I’m involved with UK heritage item that is Alison Limerick and I’m about ready to present the record for the end of the year so that’s like my next big project. And then I got the DJ gigs and just doing what I do.
I mean, could you tell us where you’re gonna be playing and stuff like that, so the people know and come and follow you.
Well I’m playing Brooklyn in New York, I’m playing some gigs in Spain coming up and signed to get some offers for Italy shortly and England’s trying to scratch at the pole it has been an interesting turnaround for me because house music for a long time was very quiet and now I see that guys like myself who were there are shaping the way they’re coming back to us again.
It’s nice to see people like yourself who are legendary, you know out there still doing their thing, still getting work still making the music, is great.
It’s a blasting and it could be a very shocking pain because it’s not something that’s very easy to do it takes a lot of work and a lot of determination yet a lot of tenacity.
I can understand that. So lastly, could you tell me your track of the moment, what’s doing it for you in your record box something you can’t leave at home you always gotta carry, you gotta take it with you.
You know it’s funny I got this record from Paul Newman and Stephanie Cooke and he sent it to me really early and it seems to be a record that even I would’ve made, it’s something I say “Wow, it really fits my sound”.
That’s interesting. Is that the “Feels Like Love” track?
That’s the new one, yeah.
Great track, great track.
Stephanie Cooke is an awesome vocalist, she always delivers but the whole production again, was spot on. I’m talking about the original mix because I know Spen, also the remix is on it, his Paul Newman’s mix really did it for me.
Ok great Lenny, that was all I needed to catch you about. Thank you very much for joining us for the interview, House of Frankie.
Thank you, House of Frankie!
Listen to Lenny Fontana’s latest releases below!
Karmic Power Records on Traxsource