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Sammy Lee

5 Things You Should Know About The Black Madonna


The Black Madonna is arguably one of the most important women in dance music at the moment. As a veteran of dance music, Marea Stamper keeps her musical roots alive with her eclectic house and disco sets. Keep reading to find out more cool facts about The Black Madonna.

This article originally appeared on Red Bull

Marea Stamper’s dance music alias The Black Madonna might be a fairly new name to many but she’s actually a dance music veteran.

After raving in her early teens, Stamper dropped out of school (and left home) at 16 and threw herself headfirst into US dance music culture – working, promoting, distributing, merchandising, label-managing and, eventually, DJing and producing.

She moved from Kentucky to Chicago years ago but it was her We Don’t Need No Music (Thank You Rahaan) track and 2013 Lady Of Sorrows EP that changed everything. She’s now one of the most sought after DJs in the world, bringing her bonkers enthusiasm and disco-to-techno vinyl mixes to the decks, and offering an agreeably righteous (and positive) opinion on women in dance music.

Before The Black Madonna helms a night of Chicago DJs at Red Bull Music Academy Montreal on September 27, scroll down to learn five things you might not know about Marea Stamper.

She started out selling mixtapes at raves

The Black Madonna’s first experience of working in the industry is reminiscent of those DIY stories from US hardcore punks in the early-80s. Stamper told XLR8R about it in a filmed interview. “A whole bunch of us would pile into a tiny car with tapes and boxes and T-shirts and Blow Pops and we’d sell that stuff – this is Mickey Mouse glove-era rave. You would get in the car and drive between three to eight hours every weekend, two to three times. So you might go to Nashville and St Louis, and then go home… eventually. We would argue to get a place inside the rave that had things you needed, like power for a light, a surface you could tape things to, then there’d be this insane hustle to sell stuff.”

Raves are how she learned the mechanics of DJing

Travelling across the US selling dance music merchandise meant Stamper got to see top DJs in action and learn how the mixtapes she was selling were put together. What made them good, what made them bad. After that, it was a case of just getting out there. “I DJed my first party two or three months after learning to DJ… maybe even less,” she once said. What followed was, in her own words, 10 years of terrible raves, mistakes, spilled drinks and sound systems catching fire.


Read the full story by Sammy Lee at Red Bull Music Academy

Editor's note: The original article's cover photo was swapped due to dimensions.

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