Whenever I see a flyer with a billing for Ron Carroll, I cancel all of my other engagements. I know a night with him on the decks will fill me with enough soul and inspiration for the next few months. Ron is definitely one of my favorite ministers in the church of House.
Just two years after starting off his career in the early 1980s spinning at his own dance club, “The Bangin’ Enterprize” on the South Side of Chicago, Ron Carroll was opening for Lil’ Louis, Mike Dunn, and the legendary Ron Hardy.
From his beginnings in House music, he wanted to use his experience singing in the church choir and sing Gospel lyrics over House tracks.
In 1994, Ron crossed paths with his musical mentor, Little Louie Vega. This working friendship gave him the chance to write a Billboard #1 Dance Hit “I Get Lifted” for Barbara Tucker. He has worked alongside producers such as Frankie Knuckles, Mousse T. & Boris Dlugosh, and Maurice Joshua, and singers such as Destiny’s Child, Adeva, Kim English and Kathy Brown.
Tell us about the Bangin’ Enterprize. What was it like in clubs back in the early ’80s?
Having The Bangin’ Enterprize was a dream situation, to actually build a crowd so dedicated to the music that the likes of Gene Hunt, Pharris Thomas and Lil Louis would come down to play because of the free spirit in the place. It’s like no matter what you played people responded in an incredible way.
Clubs back in the day were so amazing. Chicago was the most rockin city in the world to me. People had House music dance troupes, and we had different posses from the Deep Disco heads to the Hip House crowd, to the Ghetto-style beat track people. Every side of town had its on flavor. That was the true Chicago spirit.
How were you inspired to fuse Gospel and House together?
Actually, I started out in the Church, but it wasn’t until Big Ed and Ron Trent convinced me to sing on a song called “My Prayer” that the two really came together.
How is your music received overseas? What country do you think is most open to specifically gospel house?
People respond amazingly to what I do. When I DJ and sing on the microphone, the crowd goes wild, and they sing a lot of my songs along with me, knowing every word. It’s crazy. The country that really gets into Gospel House to me is Australia. It´s like church when I play it.
Give me a scenario of a perfect night at the club with you as DJ.
A perfect night for me is people leaving all of their cares behind, and truly letting the music reach deep inside them to set them free, as well as a great sound system, and a DJ booth with a toilet!
Tell us something you don’t like about where House music is going.
I don’t like the “DJ-Producer featuring so and so singer” thing. It’s almost like these DJ/producers don’t want to let the singers shine. They want to keep all of the spotlight on them only, and that’s really no good for the future.
Were there ever times you wanted to give up on the music business?
Yes there were many times I wanted to stop. These are things that all artists go through, because sometimes we feel that things are not moving fast enough, or we aren’t getting respect from our peers… But I always say, never give up on your dream. I didn’t.
Where are your DJ residencies here Chicago?
I DJ at The Green Dolphin on Fridays, and The Generator on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tell us about your latest projects.
We have my full length album coming out in September entitled Chicago, and we are working new and upcoming talent such as: Jjah, Trina Tru-luv, Marie Diamond, Javante, Queenie and Shani, as well as male groups Superfreaque and Hot Boys. Hot things are coming from Body Music Chicago. LOOK OUT!
Any last words you would like to say?
For those who love House Music, Let the next generation know about this thing that made you feel good, and hopefully we can keep it living on and on.