“I’m a DJ, remixer and total work-a-holic,” confesses one of the countries leading artists in today’s dance music.
Mike Rizzo cooks up feel-good dance with soaring pop melodies, saucy grooves and a progressive twist. His alchemy of Top 40 House and Euro styles has made Rizzo one of the most sought-out producers and remixers in pop music, leading to collaborations with everyone from Britney Spears and Whitney Houston to Akon and Lindsay Lohan.
2009 saw him drop one of his catchiest remixes to date, Beyonce Knowles’ “Sweet Dreams”. The song showcased the best elements of Rizzo’s signature sound – strong diva vocals and a thumping bass – and lit up airwaves and dance floors nationwide. It was just one of his songs that reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 2009.
“My formula is ear candy,” he explains. “I make fun, energetic music. I want my fans to lose themselves on the dance floor and have a great time.”
Hailing from Lyndhurst, NJ, Mike Rizzo found inspiration by going to clubs as a teen. He frequented legendary New York haunts like Sound Factory Bar, Roxy, and Tunnel. He was also a fan of radio mix show sets from innovative producers including The Latin Rascals and Glenn Friscan.
His passion for House pushed Rizzo to excel as a DJ/remixer at a young age. “I started my career by making cassette tapes and having all my friends get them to the club managers and owners.”
His first gig was at a teen club called Butterfields in Lodi, NJ. He was 16 years old. “I would hang out on Sunday nights with the resident DJ. I watched and observed everything he did for six months. One night he called in sick and the club manager asked me to step in.”
The first song he spun was “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa. “The crowd roared. Right then I knew the DJ’ing would be a part of my life forever.”
It wasn’t an overnight success. Rizzo admits it took years of hard work and perseverance, with many peaks and valleys along the way.
His big break came when he took a crack at remixing a then unknown artist names Tamia. The track was “Stranger in My House” and it became an instant radio and club hit. In fact, it was the number one played song on the country’s rhythm stations in 2001.
Multiple Billboard #1s followed, including Jennifer Green’s “How Can I Be Falling” – a song he co-wrote and produced, Whitney Houston’s “Try It On My Own” and Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”. He has had over 30 Billboard #1s to date.
Rizzo is regularly referred to as the hardest working DJ/remixer in the club biz, and for good reason. In addition to his productions, Rizzo’s remixes can be heard on several terrestrial and online dance stations across the country, and even TV. His tracks are on regular rotation every weekend on Music Choice TV.
He recently launched a new syndicated radio show with his friend and colleague, Hollywood Hamilton, called “Hollywood Hamilton’s Remix Top 30”, the show plays remix versions of the hottest, Top 30 songs in the country. It broadcasts on Clear Channel Rhythm stations across the country including New York’s KTU 103.5 and Philadelphia’s WISX 106.1.
He has released several dance mix CDs including Trance Nation America Three and Webster Hall Dance Volume 6; both landed on Billboard’s Top Twenty chart. His album, Thrive, soared all the way to Top 5.
If that isn’t enough, he frequently spins the nation’s top dance clubs and plays stadiums alongside major label artists. He recently was on tour with Island Records newest, pop sensation, Utada. Rizzo opened her show with an hour DJ set to get the crowd in the mood.
In the end, for Mike Rizzo, it’s all about making music that lifts people up. “Times are tough. People need feel-good music and nothing feels better than high energy Progressive House.”
He continues, “I am a hardworking guy and I remix for my hardworking fans who want to forget about their problems at the end of the day. Being diversified and open minded in my set approach is important because ultimately, I want everyone – black, white, straight, gay – to feel welcome on my dance floor. In times like these, we all need to unite.”
“And no matter how bad it gets,” he adds with a grin, “the dance floor reminds us that there is always something to celebrate.”