MIAMI — There is something special in the air in South Beach. You'd expect the mood to be euphoric on day three of the Winter Music Conference, the annual dance music conclave that brings together fans, artists and event promoters from around the world. But this year, people seem to be in an even more delighted mood than usual.
House DJ and rock-remix impresario Tommie Sunshine, who's been attending WMC for the past 14 years, attributes the extra happiness to the increasing relevance of dance music today.
"Recently, David Guetta played Pacha in New York on a Wednesday night," Sunshine told MTV News when we caught up with him poolside on Wednesday at the Raleigh Hotel. "And he and Will.I.Am went two for two all night long. When they played one of the songs Will sang, he sang it live. Three in the morning, Fergie shows up, starts singing all the Black Eyed Peas stuff live. Then Estelle shows, and they do 'One Love' together. I mean it was a rock concert in Pacha in New York City. People going absolutely mental on a Wednesday night till 5 o'clock in the morning. It was incredible."
Indeed, the success of the Black Eyed Peas and recent Billboard magazine cover boy David Guetta is the talk of WMC 2010. Virtually, every artist MTV News interviewed on Wednesday spoke reverently of what they have done for making dance music popular. But Brooklyn-based Sunshine wants to remind folks that credit is also due to [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist].
"Anybody that is in South Beach right now that discredits Lady Gaga for what she has done for electronic music is out of their mind," Sunshine said. "I mean [Gaga producer] Red One and Space Cowboy and her, in collaboration, have done so much for making dance music mainstream. I'm sorry, but there wouldn't be a David Guetta top 10 hit ... there wouldn't be this Black Eyed Peas record, if it wasn't for The Fame. The influence of that record is epic, and we are hearing talking about all of this because of that."
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And for Sunshine, the blockbuster scale of Gaga's music videos is also helping the scene regain the prominence it held a few decades ago.
"You see the video for 'Telephone,' and you're like, 'This is real stuff here,' " he marveled. "I mean, this is mega serious money being spent to put together amazing videos, using real film directors, for a dance record. That's a dance track! That is the 'Thriller' of our time, you know. And there is all this hubbub about it. I haven't seen that kind of [excitement] over a video in 20 years. I mean, MTV did that all the time back in the '80s ... and now it's back. And it's back with dance music."
Sunshine — who has gained attention through notable remixes of Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Good Charlotte — said he thinks that the industry is encouraged, and talent from around the world is coming out of the woodwork.
"I've been a DJ for 18 years, and I've been making music for over a decade," he said. "I've never been this excited about making music. I'm starting a record label because I feel like there is such a wealth of talent now. It's called Brooklyn Fire, and I've found guys from all over the world. Some of these guys I'm working with, they are in New Zealand. They are all over Europe. They are in Jakarta, Indonesia. With the Internet and Soundcloud and all of these other things that connect us all, Twitter — I've found most of the artists on my label over Twitter. It sounds crazy, but this is how we are all doing business now."
Are you listening to more electronic and dance music because of Lady Gaga? Let us know in the comments!
Stick with MTV News all week for more coverage of the Winter Music Conference 2010.