(Born April 26, 1976) is the stage and recording name of American electronica and house music virtuoso Curtis Jones, hailing from Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Prior to making his move towards a career in music, before fame Jones had studied chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. The budding scientist however dropped out of his Master’s program at the University of California, Berkeley, to issue his first song “Coffee Pot” in 1991. Raised by a DJing father, in arguably the world's capital of house music, Chicago, Jones easily picked up the cut-and-paste production technique and added an extra level of interpretation. The DJ and producer quickly gained immense popularity and reinvigorated the Chicago house scene throughout the ‘90s under the moniker Cajmere.
The Green Velvet name had initially been launched as an outlet for Jones’ instrumental productions, however soon surpassed the success of Cajmere. Jones quickly created the label Relief, which issued Green Velvet’s debut release “Velvet Tracks” in 1993. Stylistically influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Sly and the Family Stone, Jones donned a flamboyant punk aesthetic, featuring wild and bright green hair. Green Velvet subsequently released the track “Preacher Man” in the mid-1990s, followed by “Answering Machine”, and the No. 1 U.S. Dance hit “Flash” in 1995.
Following periods of DJing under all of his monikers, Jones returned to Green Velvet to release the full length “Contant Chaos” in January 1999. Issued by Music Man Records, the twelve-track release showcased Jones’ humorous and often bizarre approach to house music, in styles that drew comparisons with Prince and Kraftwerk. A compilation album “Green Velvet” arrived in 2000 on the Warner Bros. imprint F-111, featuring a host of previous singles including “Flash” and “Answering Machine”.
The compilation was followed by the much darker sounding “Whatever”, which tackles subjects including racism, drug use, and alienation among others. Drawing influence from a more punk-orientated direction, the album lends less from Kraftwerk and more from the likes of Nitzer Ebb and Liaisons Dangereuses. The album also represented a shift away from DJing to producing the songs live in front of an audience.
After taking a hiatus, where Jones appeared under a series of monikers as a part of his remix and side projects, Green Velvet returned in 2005 to release “Walk In Love”. Unlike its predecessors, the album had a distinctively house music style, and spawned the tracks “Come Back” and “Pin-Up Girl”. Green Velvet released the “Ministry of Sound Session” in 2007, followed by the full-length “Lost and Found” in 2009, and “Unshakable” in 2013.
House music is incredibly popular at the moment, and there is little that distinguishes one track from the next, however, Green Velvet’s addition of his own vocals on his electronic tracks, brings a fresh sound to the increasingly popular genre.