Another of the seminal artists that powered Chicago’s early House Music scene has passed away.
5 Magazine has confirmed that legendary House Music vocalist Kevin Irving – whose voice was heard on tracks including “Children of the Night”, “Ride the Rhythm”, Mark Imperial’s “The Love I Lost” and many others – passed away today, according to Mr. Irving’s lifelong friend and frequent collaborator, Parris Mitchell.
Mr. Irving had been in intensive care in critical condition, though earlier reports that Irving had died on Friday were premature, sources told 5 Magazine.
This author last spoke to Kevin Irving just this past Monday, December 15, in order to schedule an interview which was to have taken place on Friday afternoon. At the time of his death, Mr. Irving was planning a comeback and was working with many of the top talents in the industry. His comeback was to have been the subject of a 5 Magazine profile in our January 2015 issue.
Known as “Jack N. House” on record but “KIRV” to friends and fans alike, Kevin Irving appeared on a truly staggering number of recordings that are remembered today as classics. In addition to the tracks mentioned above, one has to add Farley’s “Give Your Self To Me”, “Don’t Stop The Music” and Chip E.’s “If You Only Knew”. He also provided his generation with a latter-day anthem with “House Ain’t Givin’ Up” with Bad Boy Bill.
In 1988, Mr. Irving joined Urban Dance and Soul group Club Nouveau at the height of their fame and appeared on their last Tommy Boy recordings. As an example of the breadth of his musical taste, just two years later Mr. Irving was collaborating with Parris Mitchell as The Dance Kings on “Climb The Walls”, an early prototype of the stripped-down aesthetic that would make Dance Mania Records famous, and a year later as “Irving & Romeo” on “Brighter Days”.
In 2011, Kevin Irving and his Kirv Music & Media joined Mike Caren’s Atlantic Records in the area of A&R and talent scouting.
“Kevin was one of the most talented singers I’ve ever known,” Chip E. told 5 Magazine. “But more than that, he was a really good guy and like a brother to me. Over the years we’ve had phone calls, remembering the past and making plans to collaborate again in the future.
“It’s a really sad day for the world to lose such a talented soul. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans. Love you, Kirv.”
Photo via discogs.com