“We will always remember his talent and celebrate his passion for music” – Spinnin’ Records lead tributes to US house DJ and prolific producer Ian Carey, who has died aged just 45

I’m saddened to start today by reporting the news that Ian Carey, the American house music DJ and producer, has died. He was aged 45. His cause of death is not currently known, but the news has been confirmed by a number of relatives and long-time friend and occasional production partner Brad Holland.

Ian Harshman was born on September 13th, 1975 in a small town called Hancock in Maryland. Music was in his blood from his early days – his father was a sound engineer who had previously worked with groups like The Duke Ellington Orchestra and Kool And The Gang. Whilst at school, he would travel along with his father on tour stops associated with his line of work.  

In 1993, he went to study at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The main reason for this appeared to be because he thought it was the only way out of a small town like Hancock. Whilst there, he became increasingly interested in dance music, but his initial interest was hip-hop. This was because he’d previously been involved with the graffiti writing scene in the city and met a number of DJs there whose preference was precisely that genre.

Later in the 1990s however, he was becoming disillusioned with hip-hop. The genre was becoming more mainstream and was of less interest to him. Whilst he was working at the record shop Music Liberated, he was exposed to house music for the first time – and he loved it. Around 1998, he met Jason Brooks who ended up partnering with him for a project called Soul Providers. Their song “Rise”, released in 2000 was licensed to Azuli Records in the UK and appears on endless classics albums and playlists to this day.

During the 2000s, Ian Carey’s name started appearing on more and more remixes. From around 2004 to 2008, there seemed to be a new one coming out once every few weeks – he was that much in demand. In 2003, he moved to Europe – the Netherlands, to be precise – because he wasn’t happy with the state of house music in the USA. A second move to the warmer climates of Spain followed in 2006.

In later years, he started working with more mainstream artists such as Snoop Dogg and Timbaland – a move back to the United States also followed. Carey had clearly developed a penchant for warm weather from his time in Spain, this time moving to the more balmy climate of Miami in Florida.

Tributes came in quickly last night as the news spread. Steve Mac said he was “really saddened and shocked… way way too young. Your music will live on”, and Spinnin’ Records, whom Carey worked with many times, said “We will always remember his talent and celebrate his passion for music”.

My sympathies and condolences go out to Ian Carey’s family and friends at this dreadful time.


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