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Todd Terry´s productions extensively used samples blending the sounds of classic disco, the Chicago sound, and elements of hip-hop, Terry began in the 1980s by DJing at parties in New York, playing Italo disco and hip-hop – then later, house music, upon its mid-80s emergence. He debuted, as Masters at Work, with the 12-inch, “Alright Alright” (1987, Fourth Floor) and an edit from this was then included on the Chicago house vanguard compilation Jackmaster 1 (1987, D.J. International). Much of Terry’s early work in the late 1980s is considered a milestone in the development of both progressive and modern deep house. He was responsible for releasing two of the house era’s most respected crossover remixes: “I’ll House You” by the Jungle Brothers (late-1988) and “Missing” by Everything but the Girl(Aug 1994).
Terry’s tracks “Something Goin’ On” and “Keep on Jumpin'” were both UK Top 10 hits, with the vocals on both provided by Jocelyn Brown and Martha Wash. Freestyle diva Shannon was the featured vocalist on the UK top 20 hit “It’s Over Love” in 1997, which also topped the Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart in the US, as did “Just Wanna Dance”/”Weekend”.
In 1999, Terry released Resolutions on Astralwerks Records, which successfully embraced the then still avant-garde drum ‘n’ bass aesthetic. He also mixed on the albums One Half of a Whole Decade and Live & Remastered.
Throughout his career, Terry has used several aliases such as Hardhouse, Swan Lake, Orange Lemon, Royal House, and Black Riot. Under the name ‘Hardhouse’, in 1988 he had a UK #96 hit with “Check This Out”, not to be confused with an LA Mix song released the same year.
Also in that same year, under the name ‘Royal House’, Terry had a UK #14 hit with the single “Can You Party”. He has also recorded as CLS, Masters at Work (with Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez & “Little” Louie Vega), Dredd Stock, House of Gypsies, Limelife, Hard House, Tyme Forse, and the Gypsymen (where under that alias, scored a number-one BillboardHot Dance/Club play hit in 1992 with “Hear the Music”).
Terry co-produced the song “Shake” on P.M. Dawn’s debut album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience. The song ended with the repeated lyric “Everyone thank Todd Terry”. He also produced “The House of Isis” from Isis’ 1990 album Rebel Soul.
In October 2004, “Weekend” by the Todd Terry Project appeared in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on house music radio station SF-UR.
In 2007, Todd Terry formed the Todd Terry All Stars bringing together Kenny Dope, DJ Sneak and Terry Hunter releasing the first single “Get Down” featuring and co-written by Tara McDonald. The follow up, “Play On” also featured Tara McDonald and was released in 2007 on Strictly Rhythm Records/Defected Records and then re-released in 2009 with a remix by Eddie Thoneick.
InHouse Records was launched by Terry in 1999. It has been the vehicle through which Todd is able to release tracks to his fans without a filter. Currently Inhouse has over 500 commercially available tracks in the catalog including releases by House of Gypsies, Roland Clark, Shawnee Taylor, Kelly Sajda, Gypsymen, Black Riot, Leon Cormack, Lewis Beck, DJ E-Clyps and Todd Terry All Stars.
In 2000, Terry launched SoundDesign Records, the home to some of the harder tracks and artists he is working with, including releases from Danny Genius, Space Kadets, and Friscia & Lamboy.
In 2013, Terry released the album Todd Terry vs. That Trap Shitt on Tommy Boy Entertainment.