b. Jason Chue, London, England. Chue’s unusual moniker is a reference to the Star Wars movies. He is known to his friends as ‘Chuey’, which is how the character Han Solo refers to Chewbacca, a fictional creature called a Wookie, in Star Wars.
Chue is sometimes lazily typecast as a UK garage producer but he has distanced himself from the genre on several occasions: ‘What I’m really trying to do is fuse the technical side of drum ‘n’ bass with the melodic vibes of US R&B’. It is this innovative sound that brought him to the attention of the music press and major record companies in 2000, although he had been working as a producer and remixer for seven years before this. Chue developed a serious interest in music after being made redundant from his job in an architect’s office in 1990. Having bought a keyboard, he began to write songs at home and by 1993 was working with singer Wayne Marshall. Their production ‘G-Spot’ was an underground R&B hit in the clubs and on pirate radio. Chue’s next move was to the Soul II Soul collective’s recording studios and headquarters in Camden, London where he honed his skills as an in-house producer. This coincided with his interest in the burgeoning jungle scene. Chue continued to work on his own tracks but did not get any support from the London scene until his bootleg remix as the Exemen of Whitney Houston’s ‘It’s Not Right But It’s Okay’. This and his subsequent re-working of tracks by Brandy and Alison Brown led to support from respected UK DJs such as Karl ‘Tuff Enuff’ Brown and the Dreem Teem’s DJ Spoony. More underground two-step hits followed but it was another reworking of Gabrielle’s ‘Sunshine’ that cemented his reputation as a truly inventive producer. The single eventually earned him a double platinum award. In summer 2000, Wookie was nominated for two MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) awards, and the single ‘Battle’ (featuring vocals by former Nu Colours vocalist Lain) reached the UK Top 10. He also completed a remix of Texas’ ‘In Demand’, released in October 2000 but rejected the opportunity to remix a Tom Jones track. His debut, Wookie, received favourable reviews and his media profile reached new heights in the UK at the end of the year, as he was presented as the hottest dance production property of the moment.