Ask any fan of dance music who their favourite male vocalist is and nine times out of ten Robert Owens name will come back. Sure, there are other great male House vocalists out there, but with more than twenty years as a gifted singer, songwriter, producer and DJ under his belt, Robert has not so much embellished house music as played a large part in defining it. 'Tears', 'I'll Be Your Friend' and 'Ordinary People' are just some of the tunes that have borne his black velvet voice and gone on to become truly classic dance records. Finally, 2008 will see the release of Robert Owens first artist album in 10 years - 'Night-time Stories'.
Like many other great vocalists, Robert Owens began his career singing in church gospel choirs. Growing up in the poor areas of Chicago and L.A., where gang related shootings were part of day-to-day life, music proved to be his inspiration and determination to get out of those sad circumstances. Entry into the nascent world of house music came not through Robert’s singing but his skills as a DJ. By the time people like Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles were designing house music’s blueprint on the dancefloors of legendary venues like The Warehouse and the Music Box, Robert was DJing at block parties and smaller clubs in Chicago.
In 1985 Robert met pioneering Chicago producer larry heard, who invited him into his studio. Together they formed Fingers Inc with Ron Wilson and released a series of excellent singles such as 'Mysteries Of Love' or the instantly recognisable house standard 'Can You Feel It'. This cooperation culminated in one of house music’s first full-length albums 'Another Side' in 1988, after which the group amicably disbanded to follow their individual solo careers.
Following the call of Frankie Knuckles, Robert went to New York in 1989 to record a track with the Def Mix posse – consisting of david morales, Satoshi Tomiie and Frankie himself. This tune, so casually constructed, was to become one of clubland’s most emotive and defining moments: the sublime 'Tears'. That song all about his life and struggles was the ignition of Roberts successful career as a solo artist. Signing with 4th & Broadway in 1990 he showcased his beautiful church-honed vocals and heartfelt lyrical style on the album 'Rhythms In Me', completely produced by the Def Mix crew. His 1991 single 'I’ll Be Your Friend' finally gave Robert the overground success he so obviously deserved, climbing the charts to 1 all over the world!