Born in Brooklyn in 1957, he began collecting records at the age of ten and joined a DJ club while at college in Manhattan. Humphries had never considered a career in music, but when his job in the editorial department of New York's Daily News was temporarily halted due to a strike early in the 1980s, he never looked back. Humphries began working at a record store and spent his extra time spinning at New York's 98.7 KISS-FM in 1981. One year later, he debuted with a residency at the Club Zanzibar in nearby Newark, New Jersey.
Though Larry Levan's
DJing at the Paradise Garage gave a name to the soulful New York variant of early house music later termed garage, Humphries was just as instrumental in bringing the sound to a wide audience. Every major East Coast producer coming up in the late '80s and early '90s name-checked him with vigor, and his DJing was also influential on many second-wave British acts. The U.K. connection came in handy by the turn of the decade -- Humphries became one of several American DJs to make a name (and quite a large paycheck) on British shores. Several years later, the London super-club Ministry of Sound tapped Humphries for an exclusive deal to DJ and produce for its club/label combo, and Humphries also worked on remixing for Chaka Khan
, the Sugarcubes
and Janet Jackson
, among others. Besides mix albums for Strictly Rhythm and Tribal UK, Humphries has recorded several of his own productions as the Tony Humphries Project. ~ John Bush, Rovi