With the massive popularity of their hit single "Groove Is in the Heart,"
brought the colorful sights and sounds of New York's club culture into the mainstream. Formed in 1986, the trio was led by vocalist
(born Doug Wa-Chung in Tokyo, Japan).
Fusing house, techno, rap, ambient, and funk music with an outrageous visual flair largely influenced by the drag queen community (Kier's
fondness for Fluevog platform shoes helped the '70s fashion revival gather steam), Deee-Lite
became hugely popular among New York club denizens, and the trio's own unique cultural make-up earned them a following which ignored racial and sexual boundaries. In 1990, they debuted with the album World Clique
, a crossover smash thanks to hits like the loping classic "Groove Is in the Heart" (featuring the fluid bass of Bootsy Collins
and the saxophone of Maceo Parker
) and "Power of Love."
With their 1992 follow-up, Infinity Within
music turned overtly political as songs touched base with hot topics like the environment, safe sex, and democracy. Towa Towa
left the group soon after; rechristened Towa Tei
, he released his solo debut, Future Listening
, in 1995. Kier
, meanwhile, enlisted DJ Ani
for 1994's Dewdrops in the Garden
, a sensual outing influenced by the growing rave culture. After the release of 1996's remix album Sampladelic Relics and Dancefloor Oddities