Tributes are pouring in from across the world as news spreads that Joseph Anthony Fiddler, better known as singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Amp Fiddler, has passed away.

Fiddler had been battling cancer; the latest in a series of fundraisers to support his fight had just taken place last Friday in Detroit.

“The gifts that he gave this world won’t be fully understood until we’re all gone,” Dezi Magby (aka DJ Psycho) wrote, “and he did it all with a humble heart.”

Update: A GoFundMe has been established by Fiddler’s family to cover funeral expenses.

In a career that both spanned and brought together generations of soul musicians, Amp Fiddler’s life was filled with music, with mentoring and with collaboration. He was once renowned as one of the youngest members of George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic family, and would reach a new generation of artists via “Camp Amp.” While many artists move between soul, hip hop and house, Amp Fiddler’s music was firmly planted in everything derived from funk and soul. If there was a modern artist that embodied Duke Ellington’s proclamation that “If it sounds good, it is good,” Amp Fiddler was it.

In a tribute, Questlove remembered “all those talks during the PFunk tour” and “of course for mentoring the one that mentored us (Dilla).” It was Amp Fiddler that turned J Dilla on to the possibilities of sampling via the MPC.

“Amp is a teacher and collaborator,” Tajh Morris wrote in a 2020 profile for DJ Mag, “a trait he shares with Mike Banks of Underground Resistance, a fellow Detroit mainstay.”

“We get magic when we work with other people, other musicians,” he told Morris, “as opposed to cats who sit around and do everything by themselves.”

Joseph Fiddler was born and raised in Detroit, where he studied music at Oakland and Wayne State and with jazz pianist Harold McKinney. After touring with Enchantment in the early 1980s, he joined George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic in 1984.

“We have to say it to become it,” Fiddler told Red Bull Radio in 2003. “At that time, I said, ‘One day, I will play in that band [Parliament/Funkadelic].’ I started meeting people who were involved. I was always making demo tapes. I have a whole box of just demo tapes. From 4-track to 8-track and then to 16. When George Clinton heard that demo tape, he called me to the studio and asked me if I wanted to get involved. Started going to the studio and started touring. That’s how that came about.”

With his late brother and frequent collaborator Bubz, he released his debut solo album, With Respect, under the moniker “Mr. Fiddler” in 1990. Fiddler wrote and performed with artists ranging from Prince (“We Can Funk” from Graffiti Bridge) to Dilla to The Brand New Heavies, Moodymann to Andrés, Questlove to Jamiroquai to Tony Allen (“perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived“) to Dames Brown.