"If a man does not keep pace with
his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different
drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however
measured or far away."
-- Henry David Thoreau
If creativity could be bottled and sold,
Victor Calderone would be wealthy beyond comprehension. The
multi-talented master of musical manipulation has helped redefine
the role of the American DJ in recent years, and, in the process,
has amassed an impressive array of artistic accomplishments.
Equally adept both in the studio and in front of live audiences,
Victor is a veritable virtuoso who has inspired, enthralled
and entertained legions of sonic savvy devotees around the
world. His expertise and imagination transcend conventional
expectations allowing him to effortlessly bridge the gap between
multiple genres of music and generations of listeners.
Introduced to New York nightlife at the impressionable age
of 15 by his older brother Cesar, Victor quickly developed
an intense passion for dance music that would form the foundation
for the Brooklyn native's remarkable career. His first taste
of success came less than a decade later when Sire Records'
Seymour Stein signed Program Two, Victor's techno production
partnership, to a record deal in 1991. The relationship fizzled
after just one album, though, prompting Victor to reevaluate
his musical future.
After a self-imposed hiatus during which Victor explored non-musical
business ventures, he found his way back to the beat in 1996
when Athena, the woman who would eventually become his wife,
encouraged him to return to the studio to create his first
solo record, "Give It Up." This signature hard-house
anthem and its explosive follow-up, "Beat Me Harder,"
both topped the Billboard dance charts, unleashing the meteoric
Calderone phenomenon. Further inspired by New York's then-thriving
club scene, Victor landed gigs spinning at high-profile parties
on Fire Island and at legendary NYC nightclubs Limelight and
Life, eventually leading to career-defining residencies at
both Roxy in New York and Liquid in Miami. Then, just when
he thought things couldn't get any better, Madonna called
in 1998 and asked, "So, do you want to remix my first
Intrigued by Victor's innovative musical
vision and sophisticated style, Madonna bestowed upon him
the ultimate compliment - the opportunity to remix, "Frozen,"
the lead single from her acclaimed "Ray of Light"
album. "She, as an artist, understands better than anybody
the need to just let people do their thing, and that's the
way she's worked with me," Victor proudly explains. "She
just sends me the vocal and she doesn't give me any guidelines.
She just tells me to do my thing." Victor has since remixed
nine other records for Madonna and has established an unprecedented
professional and personal rapport with the Grammy-award winning
"Victor Calderone is immensely talented and quite
amazing. He never fails to come up with fresh ideas. I love
his work and I love working with him."
The success Victor achieved through his work with Madonna
ultimately led to remix projects for some of the world's top
recording artists, including Sting, Gloria Estefan, Bette
Midler, Ricky Martin, Elton John, Destiny's Child, Cyndi Lauper,
k.d. lang, Information Society and Depeche Mode. Many of these
records reached the top of Billboard's dance charts courtesy
of Victor's unique remixing talents.
Standing out among the many highlights of his extraordinary
career is Victor's experience working with Sting. Acting on
Madonna's recommendation that he ask Victor to remix "Desert
Rose," the second single from his 1999 "Brand New
Day" album, the British rocker not only called Victor
to remix the record (something he had never done before with
his music), but even went into the studio with him to re-record
the vocals to match the remixed song's new dance-oriented
rhythm. The song spent an impressive 80 weeks on the Billboard
dance charts including nine consecutive weeks at No. 1 on
the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart.
"Victor Calderone is highly energetic and his musical
contribution helped introduce 'Desert Rose' to an entirely
new audience. I look forward to working with him again."
Few DJs or producers have achieved the level of success that
Victor has so diligently earned, and membership in this elite
club definitely has its privileges. Spared from the stress
of pounding the pavement in search of work and the proverbial
first big break, Victor now enjoys the luxury of carefully
choosing each new project from a multitude of exciting offers.
This rare creative freedom has also encouraged him to create
more of his own original material. Following the success of
1999's "Do It Properly," a joint venture with Grammy-winning
remixer Peter Rauhofer, featuring C&C Music Factory vocalist
Deborah Cooper, Victor once again enlisted Cooper's dynamic
talents in 2001 to record the #1 Billboard mega-hit "Are
You Satisfied," a record he both co-wrote and produced.
While it is nearly impossible to capture the essence of a
live performance on a 74-minute CD, compilations do allow
DJs to portray the music of the moment in a practical format
that can reach even the most remote listeners. As part of
a multi-record deal with Tommy Boy Music, Victor released
his first beatmix CD, "E=VC2," in 1999. Volume 2
followed in 2001 with sales and popularity of both compilations
far exceeding all expectations. A third installment is forthcoming
that promises to be darker and more progressive than its predecessors.
Victor's studio work may have jump-started his career, but
it's his live performances that truly showcase his boundless
energy and mastery of the turntables. "DJing is a major
release for me; it's something I need in my life," he
insists. "It goes hand-in-hand with the production work
and the studio work. If you're going to be producing dance
music, you've got to be out there playing it and be in the
clubs, so it's very important to me."
Victor also understands and appreciates the importance of
continually evolving as an artist. While he still enjoys remixing
and playing select mainstream records, audiences will notice
a distinct difference during his future live sets. Relying
less on the diva house vocal anthems that dominated many of
his past performances, Victor has reinvented his musical style
and will now treat listeners to an edgier and more progressive
sound. He will also focus on producing more original underground
tracks to compliment his latest transformation.
Shortly after leaving his three-and-a-half year residency
at Roxy in May of 2001 to explore other creative avenues,
Victor staged his most ambitious spectacular to date. Dubbed
"Caligula: A Roman Orgy" and presented during Gay
Pride Weekend in New York City, this massive dance party was
held at the Hammerstein Ballroom and featured, among others,
performances by Cyndi Lauper, Deborah Cooper and a 50-piece
orchestra that played Brainbug's "Nightmare" and
Tim Rex's "Relentless" live for 5,000 appreciative
fans. Caligula boldly raised the bar for future events and
will now be held annually the last weekend of June.
Victor expanded his résumé in 2001 with bimonthly
residencies at Stereo in Montreal, Canada and Tribal Sessions
in Manchester, England. He also traveled overseas for performances
at TLV in Tel Aviv, Israel, Cuvo Paradiso in Mykonos, Greece
and L'Enser in Paris, France. He has also arranged the music
for the past several Dolce & Gabbana runway fashion shows
in Milan, Italy. At home in the United States, Victor spins
monthly at Crobar in Miami's South Beach, occasionally travels
for special events around the country and is patiently waiting
for the right opportunity to resume a residency in New York
Despite his many professional accomplishments, Victor still
has some dreams to fulfill, particularly his desire to work
on motion picture soundtracks. He is also currently working
in the studio with a female vocalist he recently discovered
to help develop her burgeoning career while further exploring
the down-tempo side of electronic music. Victor's Sensory
Mix of Madonna's "Don't Tell Me" and his Calderone
& Quayle Dark Side Mix of "What It Feels Like For
A Girl," both experiments in ambient electronica, garnered
critical acclaim and impressed Madonna so much that she featured
his version of the latter song on her Drowned World Tour.
Because his talent is so prominent, it is easy to forget that
Victor Calderone's career achievements are also the result
of his true spirit of determination, as well as his dedication
to perfection and persistence in an ultra-competitive industry.
His many years of hard work and monumental success are only
overshadowed by his sincerity, modesty, unwavering commitment
to his craft and fierce devotion to his countless fans. A
profoundly influential and inspirational talent, Victor has
entertained millions of people, generously donated to charitable
causes and earned the utmost respect of his peers, all while
boldly pushing the universal limits of originality and ingenuity.
During an earlier interview, Victor summed
up his prolific career perfectly when he modestly proclaimed,
"If it wasn't for the audience and the fans, I wouldn't
exist, so I wouldn't have any right coming off to anybody
like I'm anything special. I'm very grateful for all the support
and everything that's been going on in my life. It's been
amazing and I'm very happy."
- Written by Matt Kalkhoff
Featured @ VictorCalderone.com