“I did know right away the song had something special,” Mike Weiss, a founder of the label, said in an interview. “And once I knew that Masters at Work were going to be doing the remix, then it really was an automatic for me.”
Masters at Work (Mr. Vega and Kenny Gonzalez, known as Kenny Dope) were in-demand remixers, and “Nite Life” was licensed to Polydor in Britain, where it hit the Top 40. In America, where house music was still an underground phenomenon, it was played at Mr. Vega’s small but influential Underground Network party at the Sound Factory Bar in Manhattan. Mr. Weiss said that Ms. English’s first live performance was there, in 1994.
“And she did it in front of the key individuals and all the key tastemakers in the house music community,” he added. “She really wasn’t so comfortable onstage, and it was really putting someone in the spotlight without having had any experience in the New York community — but she did great. The song was so strong that as soon as she sang the chorus, everyone started singing along.”
The Armand Van Helden remix took “Nite Life” to another level in Europe, according to Mr. Weiss. Soon, thanks to mixes and remixes, Ms. English’s voice was being matched with house heavyweights like David Morales, Mood II Swing, François K and Todd Edwards.
Ms. Markusic said that once Ms. English’s production deal with Ten City was over, she wrote more of her own songs. Her first No. 1 club hit, in 1999, was a song she co-wrote, “Unspeakable Joy,” a Maurice Joshua production full of church organs and gospel-choir harmonies. In it, Ms. English testified, “When I wake up, in the morning, gets me out of bed/Keeps me running, skipping, jumping like a little kid.”