Diva house was a short-lived but highly popular disco revival in the 90s. It spawned from renewed interest in disco among the gay community in the UK and would quickly become a global club sensation. Influenced by eurodance and Italian disco, diva house turned out to be nothing more than a fad that disappeared as quickly as it emerged. The genre died out in the late nineties; however, it resurfaced as nu-disco shortly after and has been going strong ever since.
Classic disco and, to a lesser extent, eurodance, are the main influences. While French house can be considered a modern descendant of classic disco, diva house and nu-disco are its Frankenstein (’s monster). There’s nothing new about either genre, which falls somewhere between eurodance and disco under a standard house beat. Vocals are often plucked right out of 70s r&b and disco classics and mixed with existing elements of house music.
The prominent feature of both diva house and nu-disco is the use of soaring and heart-felt female vocals. Both genres feature smooth rhythms punctuated by the occasional drop, but they’re more about creating a deep disco groove for the vocals to ride on.
Robin S – “Show Me Love”
“Show me Love” took the Korg M1 synth and turned it into a superstar over night. Everyone wanted that tubular bell sound (it was actually one of the bass presets). The vocals by Robin S are outstanding here.
Jomanda – “Got A Love For You”
Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Steve “Silk” Hurley helped make “Got a love for you” by Jomanda a highly successful diva house tune.
Barbara Tucker – “Beautiful People”
“Beautiful People” has a little high hat action, a funky bass line, quick drops, and atmospheric organ notes.
Angie Stone – “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” (Hex Hector / Mac Quayle Vibe Mix)
New York, 2001
The mix magic of turntables is on display in a big way as Hex Hector/Mac Quayle transform Angie Stone’s “Wish I Didn’t Miss You” into a wickedly groovy House track.
Eric Prydz – “Call On Me”
Eric Prydz’s classic anthem from 2004 was heard in every gym and office across the globe.
Joey Negro – “Make A Move On Me”
British DJ Joey Negro produces a classic nu-disco track featuring soaring vocals with “Make A Move On Me”.
Hercules & Love Affair – “Blind” (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
House legend Frankie Knuckles takes a swing at a Hercules & Love Affair track, giving it a little more pep and groove.
Sister Sledge feat. Kathy Sledge – “You Fooled Around” (Joey Negro Mix)
The feel good vibe on “You Fooled Around” is given the house treatment and it transforms the jangly guitar riff and funky bass line into a laser-focused groove with seductive vocals.
Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
No disco list would be complete without Daft Punk’s massively popular collaboration with Pharrell and Nile Rodgers on “Get Lucky”.
Disclosure & Mary J. Blige – “F For You”
Essex & New York, 2014
Synth stabs taken from electro house and a funky disco backbeat along with the soaring vocals of Mary J. Blige make this a modern diva house classic.