Kelli Hand, Detroit D.J. and Music Business Trailblazer, Dies at 56

Kelli Hand, Detroit D.J. and Music Business Trailblazer, Dies at 56

Kelli Hand, a longtime disc jockey often known as Okay-Hand who was named the “first girl of Detroit” for her musical accomplishments, was discovered lifeless on Aug. 3 at her house in Detroit. She was 56.

Her loss of life was confirmed by a spokesman for the Wayne County health worker, who stated that the trigger was associated to arteriosclerotic heart problems.

Paramount Artists, which represented Ms. Hand, paid tribute to her on social media.

“Kelli was undoubtedly the primary girl of Detroit, and a trailblazer for girls within the music business,” the corporate stated on Instagram.

Ms. Hand was one of many first feminine D.J.s in Detroit’s music scene and have become identified for her catalog of albums and prolonged performs of home and techno with the beginning of her personal label, Acacia Data, in 1990.

In 2017, the Detroit Metropolis Council honored Ms. Hand with a decision that referred to as her the “first girl of Detroit” for being a pioneer within the metropolis’s techno music scene and for being “a global legend” who toured golf equipment and digital music festivals.

The certificates highlighted a few of her accomplishments within the male-dominated business of digital music within the Nineteen Nineties, together with being the primary lady to launch home and techno music.

“Such an Honor and thrilling,” Ms. Hand wrote on Instagram on the time.

YouTube movies captured Ms. Hand sporting a headset and smiling and dancing in place as she entertained crowds together with her mixes of bouncy beats at nightclubs and occasions whereas touring the world.

Ms. Hand, whose authorized given title was Kelley, was born on Sept. 15, 1964, and raised in Detroit, the place her childhood revolved round music, significantly the drums, in response to her web site.

Her ardour for rhythm led her to review music concept in faculty in New York. She additionally enhanced her music schooling within the Eighties by frequenting the Paradise Storage nightclub, the place, her web site says, she soaked up the sounds of the emergent style of music that may turn out to be often known as home.

In a 2015 interview with The Detroit Metro Occasions, she mirrored on her curiosity in spinning data after visiting the membership in New York Metropolis and others in Chicago.

“After frequenting Paradise Storage so many occasions I needed to purchase the data as a result of I beloved the music,” she informed The Metro Occasions. “So the following step was, I received to play these data with a view to hear them! That led to buying a pair turntables, which additionally led me to D.J.ing in my very own bed room,” she stated, including that doing so led her to do a residence at Zipper’s Nightclub in Detroit.

Ms. Hand additionally talked about how the D.J. scene was dominated by males when she was beginning out and the way that performed a job in utilizing the gender-neutral title Okay-Hand for her personal music.

“I needed to come back out with one thing that was type of catchy,” she recalled. “On the identical time, I didn’t need folks to know that I used to be a woman, as a result of I used to be simply minding the music enterprise. I’m like, OK, what’s going to occur if my title comes out, and I’m a woman, as a result of principally it’s quite a lot of guys? This was again within the day. So the label advised ‘Okay-HAND.’”

On her web site, she stated that music was not about how somebody seems to be or in regards to the D.J.’s expertise however about “being ‘true’ to your self, and being able to precise your self creatively by means of your individual self-confidence that’s inside you.”

A few of her better-known songs embrace “Suppose About It,” “Flash Again” and her 1994 breakout single, “International Warning,” on the British label Warp Data. Billboard stated these songs “put her in league” with Detroit’s different high disc jockeys.

In a 2000 evaluate in The New York Occasions about feminine disc jockeys and rappers collaborating in a music pageant, Ms. Hand talked about impartial document manufacturing. When she took over the dance flooring, the author stated, “a way of freedom was thick within the air.”

Full info on survivors was not instantly out there.

Neil Vigdor contributed reporting, and Susan Beachy contributed analysis.

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