Simon Harris (born 1962 in London) is predominantly known as the founder of the record label Music of Life and writer/producer of most of its extensive catalog of songs, although he is also an influential DJ, award winning producer, remixer of several Grammy Award winning artists and pioneer of electronic music.
Originally from Chigwell, Essex (UK), Harris is a British producer of sample-based breakbeat and house music. Well known as both a remixer, music label owner and producer with a hit-making ability and an innovative style, Harris has enjoyed working with many well known and talented people in his 30 year career including Simon Cowell (American Idol), James Brown, Prince, Joyce Sims, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), Paul Oakenfold, Tony! Toni! Toné!, War, Arthur Baker, Boyz II Men, Heatwave and many more including several number one hits (Steve “Silk” Hurley, Prince, Bass) licensed and released in over 70 countries. Originally a DJ, Harris started selling professional audio equipment in London’s Tottenham Court Road, then became a club promoter.
In 1983 Harris was invited to become one of the original remixers for Tony Prince’s DMC (now the world’s largest DJ association). Harris then joined forces with the late BBC Radio 1 DJ Froggy (1949-2008) and was commissioned for many hit remixes for major labels including Polydor (James Brown, Roy Ayers), Chrysalis (Doug E. Fresh), A&M (Jeffrey Osborne), EMI, BMG, Columbia, Island, London and eventually PRT for The Real Thing’s ‘You to me are everything’ remix (UK number three pop hit). In 1986 Harris and Froggy started their own independent label ‘Music of Life’ managed by Chris France. The label was initially distributed by Morgan Khan’s ‘Streetwave’ group and the first releases were from Cerrone (Supernature) and Michael Jackson’s sister La Toya.
Within a short time Froggy left to pursue other projects and Music of Life became one of the UK’s first rap/hip-hop labels, initially licensing US products, and then with Harris producing many influential and innovative British rap artists including Derek B (the label’s A&R executive), followed by Daddy Freddy, MC Duke, Tenor Fly, Hijack, Demon Boyz (Million Dan), and Einstein who later rapped on the UK top ten hit ‘Supermarioland’ (Nintendo) (licensed into many European countries and Japan) for Harris’s ‘Ambassadors of Funk’. With sister label ‘Living Beat’, there were many projects with artists including Samantha Fox (A Song for Europe), Rolf Harris (BBC TV), Dina Carroll, Jocelyn Brown and Joyce Sims. Also, via Germany’s Edel Group, Simon remixed the UK number one pop hit ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ by Prince.
Harris has produced many breakbeat albums designed for DJs and producers, including ‘Beats. Breaks and Scratches’ in 12 volumes. This was licensed and used by many Grammy Award winning artists including R.E.M. and Luther Vandross. Other artists who produced similar albums for Music of Life include Paul Oakenfold, George Clinton and Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim).
Harris continued to remix and produce many artists. Simon Cowell commissioned him to remix Sinitta’s ‘Window Shopping’ for his Fanfare label, and shortly thereafter Pete Tong (BBC Radio 1) signed Harris as an artist to his Polygram FFRR label. The first release was a rap version of Michael Jackson’s Bad (Bad on the Mike). This was followed by ‘Bass (how low can you go?)’ which achieved US Billboard Dance Number One status and became a pop hit in many countries including the UK where it was a number 11 pop hit with an appearance by Harris on ‘Top of the Pops’. FFRR released Harris’s ‘Bass’ album next followed by more singles including Marshall Jefferson’s ‘I’ve got your Pleasure control’ (with Lonnie Gordon) and ‘Here comes that Sound’ (a UK top 40 pop hit).
Producer/Performer of Billboard No1 hit ‘Bass (how low can you go?), this was a hit in many countries with major worldwide releases.
Producer of hit Nintendo ‘Supermario’ dance music release reaching top 10 status in the UK and released in Germany, Australia and Japan with an album and other Nintendo related releases with the involvement of Mario’s creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
Remixer for many major artists and music companies and commissioned by Simon Cowell (American Idol) for Sinitta remix, projects with Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), Arthur Baker, War, James Brown, George Clinton, the first Elvis Presley dance mix (Bossa Nova Baby on RCA), Toni Toni Tone and for Prince’s first UK number one hit (The Most beautiful Girl in the World).
Responsible for production of groundbreaking fusion of reggae and hip hop with Asher D and Daddy Freddy, ‘Ragamuffin Hip Hop’ began the ‘ragga’ revolution in 1987 with the initial release on US label Profile (Run DMC) followed by Chrysalis, this style of music has continued and influenced most of today’s major rap artists many of whom include ragamuffin hip hop style songs on their hit albums.
Well known music technology innovator at the forefront of the 80s dance music revolution in the field of using samplers on dance music productions, featured on many TV shows and documented in books and magazines as an influential innovative producer and remixer.
Guest speaker and judge at dance music seminars and conventions including DMC world DJ championships (world’s largest DJ association).
Producer of ‘Beats Breaks and Scratches; series of albums – industry standard world’s best selling breakbeat and sample album series licensed worldwide and featured by major grammy award winning artists including Luthor Vandross, REM, Beastie Boys.
Celebrity DJ/demonstrator of JBL speaker systems at London’s APRS (association of professional recording studios) followed by special features in UK’s top rated in car audio magazine.
Member of British industry organisations BPI, PRS, MCPS, PPL, VPL and AIM.
Work regularly featured by the BBC and many other leading British broadcasters. Samples and segments from Harris’s work appears on many hits including the instantly recognizable ‘Yeah Yeah’ vocal sample on ‘Get Ready for This’ by 2 Unlimited and ‘Take me to the Hospital’ featured on the 2009 UK No1 hit The Prodigy album ‘Invaders Must Die’ (EMI).