Music artists are joining forces to call the world back to the dancefloor.
LP Giobbi, an Austin-based DJ and producer, has remixed Sofi Tukker and Amadou & Mariam's "Mon Cheri," a multilingual ode to dance, as part of Red Hot + Free. They've debuted it exclusively with Out below.
Red Hot + Free is a recently released, 18-track collection produced and curated by Bill Coleman. The album also includes Billy Porter's version of Juliet Roberts's "Caught In The Middle," a new remix of "I Will Survive," and many other glittering dance tracks that support a good cause.
For three decades, the Red Hot albums, including Red Hot + Blue and Red Hot + Dance, have recruited A-list music talent like Madonna and Seal to raise awareness of the AIDS crisis and other LGBTQ+ issues. This year is no different; proceeds benefit the Ally Coalition, the Trevor Project, and SAGE.
Critics are raving about "Mon Cheri." "When Amadou & Mariam arrive for the choruses, calling for togetherness in love, a 4/4 thump kicks in, steering the song directly to the dance floor," declared The New York Times. And Billboard: "A true sonic melting pot... fusing African percussion, Brazilian rhythms, and good old Florida synth into a sophisticated, joyfully energized vibe."
Below, Sofi Tukker and LP Giobbi debut the remix of "Mon Cheri" and discuss the collaboration, the impact of the pandemic on art, and how music can change the world.
Out: What does it mean to you to be part of an album that helps fight the AIDS epidemic and supports LGBTQ+ organizations?
Sofi Tukker: It's an honor to be a part of this Red Hot compilation. We feel lucky to be able to both make music that we love and help support the fight against AIDS at the same time. We've worked with the Ally Coalition and the Trevor Project in the past and are big fans of their work. The fact that we still live in a world where LGBTQ+ [folks] are not treated with equal rights and dignity is...infuriating, to say the least.
LP Giobbi: I feel so grateful to be able to use my art for good. The fact that there is still conversion therapy is insane and shows us just how far we still have to go. We must make our voices -- in this case, music -- count towards something, so I just feel grateful to be involved in a release that is using its stage for good.
How can music fight for marginalized people?
ST: The first way is as simple as donating proceeds from either songs or concerts to organizations like these that are dedicated to fighting against inequalities. The second way is in creating community: making sure that everyone is invited, and that any concert or community gathering associated with the music is a safe and inclusive space. And the third way is in the music: communicating love, belonging, and inclusivity in the lyrics and spirit of the music itself.
LP: By donating proceeds to organizations that are making a difference -- in the case of this release -- [and] through lyrical content and through visual representation. People on both sides of the music industry who are in positions of power need to use their platforms to highlight and give stages/spaces to artists who come from marginalized groups. If you cannot see it, it is really hard to be it, and seeing yourself in a role of power is so deeply important for what you think you can do in this life. And when you think you can do something, you are a hell of a lot closer to being able to do it!
Which song first inspired you to be political, and why?
ST: Not sure there was a specific song that inspired us to be political. The truth is, it's a cliche but it's true: the political is personal and the personal is political. Our personal experiences are so tied to the systems, institutions, and political structures that we live with. There are political underpinnings to even a deeply personal song. How we are allowed, by law, to express our love for who we love is even governed by politics! It's impossible to untangle.
LP: Ella Fitzgerald was my first musical hero. Just her existing as a superstar gave me joy, hope, and belief. Learning about her story and what it took for her to get there fired me up and made me promise myself if I ever got anywhere in the music industry, I would use my platform for good. This eventually led me to start my own nonprofit, Femme House.
How has the pandemic influenced you as an artist and as a human?
ST: It changed our life dramatically. Not only because it gave us the opportunity to reflect and rest. But mostly, because we live-streamed every day! The community that built around the live-stream, "the freak fam," as they call themselves, was with us intimately throughout the whole pandemic such that we honestly feel more connected than ever, after more than a year of not seeing anybody in person! We went through so much together and really built a place of joy and belonging in a time of isolation.
LP: It has blown me away to see my community -- the dance community -- support each other mentally in the way we have. Through streaming on Twitch and showing up in the chat to celebrate and say, "Keep going you got this," to donating to artists, to buying their merch, etc., I felt more supported than I ever had as an artist, which is really saying a lot!
What was the best part of working on this collaboration for "Mon Cheri"?
ST: The best part of this collaboration is that it is with Amadou & Mariam! It's a dream come true. They've been one of our favorite artists and one of the first artists that we really bonded over. Hearing their vocals for the first time completely blew us away. They have such unique melodies we never would have thought of.
LP: It was an insane honor from beginning to end. Honestly, I was quite nervous. as I really believe I am Sofi Tukker's biggest fan -- I know that is saying a lot, but they have inspired literally everything I've done in dance music and beyond. And I also have the greatest honor of being their best friend, so I wanted this remix to BE PERFECT ALL CAPS! Once I leaned into beautiful /cry-dancing/piano world, it all came together. And getting the official approval from them was a huge moment.
How do you hope the "Mon Cheri" remix is received by your fans?
ST: We love this remix by our best friend and piano house queen, LP Giobbi! We hope people love it as much as we do. It makes the song more of a vibey beautiful track with her signature piano sound. It sets the song in a totally different world.
LP: I hope it makes them get up, dance, and shed a happy tear ;-)
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