On the eve of her upcoming tour, R&B/pop diva Diana Ross is refashioning the sound of her former Motown group, the Supremes, with the help of hot New York house DJ Jonathan Peters.
"She wanted something that sounded more up-to-date, that's why she came to us," Peters said. "[The tour's promoters] asked us to do a medley of all her hits, which I wasn't going to do, because I didn't think it needed it. But Diana called and said, 'I really want you to do it.' And how do you say no to Diana Ross?"
Peters created 30-second and 60-second mixes for use in television and radio commercials for the tour, which begins June 14 in Philadelphia, according to a spokesperson for Ross. One of those mixes was played at the April 4 press conference announcing the tour in New York, the spokesperson said.
Peters' mix features updated keyboards and drum loops over the songs "Reflections" (RealAudio excerpt of original), "Baby Love," (RealAudio excerpt of original) "Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart," "Where Did Our Love Go?" (RealAudio excerpt of original) "Stop in the Name of Love" (RealAudio excerpt of original) and "You Keep Me Hanging On."
Peters has produced six #1 Billboard magazine Dance-Club Play hits, including last summer's remix of the Whitney Houston hit "My Love Is Your Love." He is working on projects for rapper DMX and R&B singers Sisqó, Coco Lee and Brian McKnight.
"It's not really something I can play in the clubs, but we beefed up [the songs] in a sense," Peters said. "It was fun. It was nice talking to Diana. She's really nice."
One Supremes fan says remixing the tunes demonstrates Ross' astuteness.
"Older fans will still recognize them and enjoy them, while at the same time [the remixes might] attract the younger, and maybe new, fans to the Supremes," Mark Hogarth, American correspondent for the International Diana Ross Fan Club, wrote in an email. "It shows she's still in touch with the music by tapping into today's trends."
The tour, which is being billed as "Diana Ross and the Supremes: A Return to Love," has been the subject of controversy since its announcement. Ross will be joined by Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne, who joined the Supremes in 1972, two years after Ross left the group. The three have never performed together as the Supremes.
This is not the first time Ross has asked a DJ to reinterpret a Supremes classic. In 1994, seminal house DJ Frankie Knuckles gave "Someday We'll Be Together" a 1969 recording on which Ross was the only Supreme to appear for Ross' The Ultimate Collection greatest-hits compilation.
(Contributing Editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen contributed to this report.)