Marea Stamper's production work as the Black Madonna walks the line between disco and techno, with the emotional weight of the former and the driving momentum of the latter.
Stamper was born in 1977 into a Christian family in rural Kentucky; she discovered electronic dance music at the age of 14, when she snuck into her first rave. Two years later, Stamper dropped out of school to travel around America selling rave gear, including mixtapes, at parties. She taught herself to DJ while majoring in English at Louisville University, using the college radio station -- and a barn full of rare funk records -- as her initial platform. Soon after her studies concluded, Stamper was contacted by Radek, an acquaintance from her mixtape-selling days, offering her a position at his newly launched label, Dust Traxx, in Chicago. Soon after relocating, she launched herself into Chicago's nightlife, initially using the name Lady Foursquare. After a few years, Stamper began to discover her own sound, changing her moniker to the Black Madonna -- named after religious iconography -- in the process. Her debut release, Alright This Morning, came out on Home Taping Is Killing Music in 2012, leading to a residency at Smart Bar; a year on and Stamper was appointed creative director of the venue, through which she aimed to create more diversity within the scene, including the launch of DAPHNE: A Women's Movement in Dance Music. Her 2013 EP, Lady of Sorrows, sold more copies than her previous releases, resulting in an increase in popularity and bookings worldwide. A string of further releases culminated in her 2016 single "He Is the Voice I Hear," which acted as the first record for her own label, We Still Believe. ~ Liam Martin, Rovi