Karizma is what you would call a veteran. In 1995, he brought out his first solo release ‘The Power’, an EP featuring a deep and punchy title track with a beautiful piano lead. Although this was his first solo release, he had already risen to fame in his hometown of Baltimore and was playing alongside the likes of DJ Spen and Maurice Fulton.
Chris Clayton aka Karizma has been DJing since he was 13 years old, making his first appearance on Baltimore radio station WEAA in the early 1980s. After building a reputation in Baltimore, Karizma got to work with DJ Spen and became a member of the Basement Boys in the mid-90s.
By the early 2000s, Karizma pursued his solo career primarily for the first time, which allowed him to create a unique and legendary reputation as a DJ and a producer. Since the beginning of his career, he’s appeared on over 140 records and had over 30 solo releases. He has three solo albums on R2 Records, which has become his favoured label. He has also released on many revered labels such as Defected, Atjazz Record Company and Lumberjacks From Hell. From soulful hip hop to clanking techno, he has explored a huge range of musical avenues and always will leave the listener astonished by his latest releases. The gospel sound of his 2017 tune ‘Work It Out’ has been heard at parties ever since due to its captivating soulful energy.
Behind the decks, he uses the CDJ as an instrument rather than a media player. He transforms entire songs in his live shows by chopping them up and remixing them. Hours of practice and a determination to take technology to its limits enabled Karizma to spearhead a new type of turntablism which many DJs still shy away from today. His showmanship can be summarised well by one of his recent Instagram posts, where he can be seen scratching the CDJ platter with his chin in South Korea. Karizma is more of a performer than a DJ and we can’t wait to see him at our Christmas party in Leeds.
It’s hard to imagine a better way to start a solo production career. “The Power” somehow manages to be irresistibly groovy and energetic, while being emotional and delicate. Released in 1995, it sounds way ahead of its time and deserves recognition as one of the best deep house tracks of the decade.
In the past, Karizma has said how he was first inspired by music when he went to church.
‘Work It Out’ was an instant summer hit last year. Sampling the Gospel classic ‘Jesus Can Work It Out’, it continues to bring holy energy to dance floors all over the world.