Kevin Hedge began his music career as a part of the songwriting/production team known as “BLAZE”. He has been recording dance-oriented music for over 30 years and considered to be a pioneer of House music. As songwriter, producer, and re-mixer Kevin “BLAZE”, started as a trio developing demo recordings in the style of popular dance music in 1983. With “DJ” Kevin Hedge at the controls, Josh Milan “the piano man” on the synthesizer and the “lead vocal” styling of Chris Herbert, they turned out songs for many other artist and themselves. Some of their early popular productions for other artist include; “This Time” by Colonel Abrams knock off Hunter Hayes, “One Man” by Chanelle and “Reachin’” by Phase II. The three ultimately signed their first record deal in ’85, producing three major dance hits; “Whatcha Gonna Do”, “If You Should Need A Friend” and “Can’t Win For Losing”.
The BLAZE sound caught the ear of then Motown Vice-president Timmy Regisford, who immediately put them to work on numerous Motown projects. “These guys were making productions that was raw enough to move the dance floor, while keeping the integrity of the songs” said Regisford of Blaze. By now, the Blaze sound was capturing the spirit of dancers in the clubs and the hearts of radio listeners in NYC. With so many original productions receiving commercial success, the team was in high demand as remix producers and overdub musicians for other remix producers. As remixers Blaze have work on Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Macy Gray, Jamiroquai, Lisa Stansfield, Babyface, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and countless others. As overdub musicians, they have worked with DJ/producers David Morales, Frankie Knuckles, Timmy Regisford, Masters at Work and many others. It was at this point Timmy Regisford invited Kevin, Chris and Josh to record a full length album for the soul music icon Motown. “25 Years Later” Blazes’ first long player was critically acclaimed upon its’ initial release in ’91 and has since went on to become one of house music’s classic albums. “This was the first time we had the time and the budget to experiment, with sounds, equipment, and live instruments.” Kevin notes “This project allowed us to try out the song writing and production styles of our musical heroes.” When listening to “25 Years Later” you can hear all of Blazes’ influences as well as their signature soulful house music sound. Josh reflects “We really didn’t know what we were doing. We just tried to emulate the productions of our hero artists like Donnie Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and many others, who created the soul music of the seventies.” What’s most impressive about this work is, they wrote into the lyrics a concept, an overriding theme, the story of a slain civil rights leader who was to be the reincarnate of Malcom X.
Around ’92 after touring worldwide with their live band, playing venues like The Wembley Arena, a host of the Caribbean islands and major cities in the U.S. Blaze returned home to create businesses that included; real estate, car services, retail stores and nightlife (Kevin co-owned and promoted the Club Shelter in NYC). During this time Chris decided to continue his career in the now popular hip hop R&B music genre, leaving Josh and Kevin to continue their careers writing, producing and remixing for other artist/vocalists. “We took this time to reflect on where we had been and what we had done, but moreover where we were going.” says Milan. “It was during this period Blaze (now only Josh and Kevin) began to find other voices.” Kevin quips, ”We really crafted some of the production and writing tricks we are known for today, during that time.”
Hedge and Milan went on to produce many more albums under the Blaze banner: “Basic Blaze”, “Natural Blaze: The James Toney Jr. Project” and “Spiritually Speaking” are some of the few. Also, you will find many compilation albums comprising some of Blazes’ greatest hits, some are “6 Hubert St.”, “Pure Blaze”, “Blaze Productions” and “Spiritually Speaking then and now”. In ’95 Blaze scored one of their biggest writing/production successes with a song called “Hideaway” performed by De’Lacy. The song went into the top ten on the UK charts and was added to a vast array compilations, racking up sales in the millions. Josh and Kevin also penned charts hits for Amira “My Desire”, “Most Precious Love” feat. Barbara Tucker, and themselves with the No. 1 dance hit “Breathe”. This help to maintains the duo as one of the most sought after writing, production and remix teams in the business.
In 2002, Kevin later partnered with the “God Father of Disco” Mel Cheren to relaunch the seminal dance music imprint West End records. Blaze then released their very first DJ mix compilation on West End entitled “Found Love” feat. the hit single title track “Found Love” by Blaze. A song dedicated to the truest kind of love, the love of self. Kevin spells out “You can only share love if you have it and it all starts with loving yourself.” “I feel Kevin’s music is the perfect match for West Ends’ legacy. He produces danceable R&B songs. Not only are they great artist but also good businessmen.” Cheren proudly announced. “Our goal is to do what the label has always done. Release great music that will stand the test of time.” says Kevin who serves as president of West End records. Musically Kevin has collaborated with super DJ/Producer Louie Vega to assist him with the production of his own solo debut long player “Elements Of Life”. Vega quotes “Blaze are pioneers in our house music community. I’ve been lucky enough to watch them become masters as songwriters, producers and artists. I was honored to work with them on many projects including songs; “Elements Of Life”, “You Brought The Sunshine” and “Brand New Day”. In retrospect, I learned a valuable musical lesson from my experiences with Blaze. There were more emotions inside of me that needed to be expressed, but it couldn’t grow without the fostering I received from so many people, beginning with Blaze.”
After more than 25 years on the scene BLAZE is now just Kevin Hedge and he continues to produce relevant hits today as he did back in ’85. For over 15 years Kevin has partnered with Louie Vega produced the longest running weekly dance party in NYC “RootsNYC” located in the heart of NYC’s meatpacking district at the Cielo Club. Every Wednesday night Louie and Kevin created a home for house music, spinning timeless hits that represent the very best of the House music they love. Performing together as DJs and with guest DJs and guest artists, they made ROOTSNYC at Cielo Club a must each week for house music community from around the world. In 2010 Kevin and Louie took ROOTSNYC mainstream with weekly mix show on America’s #1 R&B radio station, WBLS. Now for 10 years ROOTSNYCLIVE on WBLS has become the #1 House music show in the nation enjoying a prime-time slot Friday’s 10pm to 12am. Continuing as a songwriter, producer and remixer Kevin released his first solo original studio production in February 2012, “Follow Your Heart” went on to enjoy top ten success on major dance charts. Currently, Kevin is readying his next original studio production, to be released in November 2019! “I see myself as a tool being used by the universe helping to bring lyrical messages and melodies to the world.” Kevin explains “Music is communication. Ideas come to me from the spirit of creation.”.
Blazing the past, present and future, Kevin Hedge remains grateful for all the universe has revealed through music and the Creator’s grace.