David Aaron Shayman, better known by his stage name Disco D (September 21, 1980 – January 22, 2007), was a Jewish American record producer and composer. He rose from being a teenage DJ prodigy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he helped DJ Godfather popularize the Detroit electronic music called "Ghettotech," to being a pioneer of the burgeoning mobile music art form. Known for his turntable dexterity and multi-genre set performances, Disco D's most notable production was the track "Ski Mask Way" on American hip-hop artist 50 Cent's The Massacre album. He committed suicide in Washington, D.C. on January 23, 2007.
Shayman was born on September 21, 1980 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States to Deborah and James Shayman. He had one sister Becky, and four step-siblings. At age 6, Shayman moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. His family was involved with the temple Beth Emmet, where he attended Hebrew school until his Bar Mitzvah. David was heavily into martial arts, and earned a black belt.
Shayman's career began in 1995 while a student at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. He DJ'd many local parties as well as at The Blind Pig, while also studying jazz saxophone for two years at Ann Arbor's alternative Community High School. By 1997, he was performing nationally as a DJ, had established his first production company, and released his first 12-inch single.
In 1998, Shayman began studying at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.. While he outwardly pursued management studies, he remained interested by the sciences. As a teenager he worked in a genetics lab at the University of Michigan. He also aspired to make a trip to the North Pole. In 1999, Shayman was a key player in the founding of Ghostly International, having co-produced the pioneering record label's first single, "Hands Up for Detroit" in October 1999 (billed with Matthew Dear as Daisha, a Shayman alias). In addition to finding his own GTI Recordings ("Ghetto Tech Institute" Recordings), He eventually began releasing music on the Bad Boy Bill's Muzik/Mixconnection label and the Tommy Boy label. During this period, he also became known for his turntable skills and multi-genre sets.
New York operations
After graduating from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2002 at age 22, Shayman moved to Brooklyn, New York with a goal of producing beats for major hip hop artists. In his Williamsburg neighborhood home recording studio, Shayman started Booty Bar Records, a record label and popular club night in New York City.
In the summer of 2002, Shayman released "Booty Bar Anthem EP," which featured tracks such as "Booty Bar Anthem" and "Keys to the Whip."
He also branched out as a producer of hip hop, R&B, and dancehall tracks for mainstream artists. By June 2003, Shayman worked with electro-clash diva Princess Superstar and remixed artists ranging from 50 Cent and B.G. to Lords of Acid and Da Brat's single, "Boom."
In early 2003, he produced and promoted his mix CD, A Night at the Booty Bar. Developed as a play on A Night at the Playboy Mansion (2000) by Dimitri from Paris, the mix featured collaboration with Princess Superstar.
Shayman became engaged to Luciana Vendramini, a Brazilian model who had appeared on the December 1987 cover of the Brazilian issue of Playboy magazine. Shayman spent time in Brazil with his fiancée to become more familiar with Funk Carioca, a type of dance music from Rio de Janeiro. By 2005, he covered a wide range of music, such as Jamaican dancehall music and Maryland's Baltimore Club music.
Mobile music pioneer, 2005
Prior to 2005, most ring tones were based on polyphonic or even cruder monophonic tones because that was what most cell phone handsets could play. However, with snippets of existing songs and compositions generating more than $2 billion in annual worldwide revenues in 2005 as ring tones, cell phone handset manufacturers began producing handsets capable of replaying the upper and lower notes from a song's melody without tinny-sounding bleats. In early 2005, retailer Best Buy turned music Shayman had written for one of its commercials into a ring tone and offered it on the Best Buy website. From this, Shayman was one of the first to recognize the business potential in composing original ring tone material exclusively for cell phones and collaborated in 2005 with veteran music producer Eddie O'Loughlin, and singer/songwriter Dee Robert as pioneers in the new mobile music art form to produce original ring tones for Jamba!.
Kevin Federline work
In 2005, Shayman produced "Y'all Ain't Ready", the first single from Britney Spears' then-husband Kevin Federline. In October 2005, Shayman made his way to Australia to play at clubs such as Honkytonks in Melbourne, where he was best known for A Night at the Booty Bar. In November 2005, a sample of this single was posted on Disco Ds website, which brought almost immediate criticism upon Federline's single. Although the less-than-one-minute sample was quickly removed from the site, it resurfaced on Stereogum.com.
On January 1, 2006, Federline released the single "PopoZão," which Shayman produced. However, none of his efforts appeared on Federline's debut album Playing with Fire when it was released on October 31, 2006. In addition, virtually all references to Federline were deleted from Shayman's website at that time.
Return from Australia
On returning to the United States from his 2005 Australian trek, Shayman went public about his struggle with bipolar disorder. "A lot of people who have suffered from similar experiences thanked me for being so open," he said. In late 2006, he launched the new Brazilian urban label Gringo Louco with Braza, a bilingual supergroup composed of three of the biggest rappers from Brazil.
Shayman committed suicide on January 23, 2007. Only 26 years old, he hanged himself in his mother and stepfather's basement. In response to his passing, Ghostly International CEO Sam Valenti IV stated,
"Dave was an inspiration and a mentor to me. No one worked harder or wanted to seize life more than him. He was a relentlessly creative, passionate and ambitious artist whose passion for music illuminated everything he touched."
- Detroit Zoo, by Disco D vs. Paradime (November 21, 2000)
- Straight Out Tha Trunk, GTI Recordings (October 23, 2001)
- Booty Bar Anthem EP, Booty Bar (Summer 2002)
- A Night at the Booty Bar, Tommy Boy Records (April 23, 2003)
- Ghettotech for Slow People, Gringo Louco (Apr, 24, 2006)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Ann Arbor News (January 25, 2007) Obituaries: Shayman, David Aaron. Page A9.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Discod.com (February 15, 2005) Disco D Official Website. Disco D Biography - Disco D. Retrieved January 30, 2007.
- ↑ Welcome to the Blind Pig
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Ann Arbor News (January 25, 2007) Services set for late DJ/producer Disco D. News Arts Writer; Page C4.
- ↑ Ghostly International. (2006) Hands Up For Detroit. Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- ↑ Handyside, Chris. (November 27, 2002) Metro Times They spin by night - The rise of Ann Arbor indie label Ghostly International.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 McGarvey, Sterling. (June 19, 2003) The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Up for the booty bar? Access Atlanta section, page 38
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Mehta, Stephanie N. (December 12, 2005) Fortune Wagner's ring? Way too long. Musicians composing original works for cell phones strive for greatness in 20 seconds or less. Volume 152; Section: FirstNo. 12; Page 40.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Wehner, Cyclone. (October 13, 2005) Herald Sun (Australia) Shake your booty. Section: Hit1 - FIRST; Page I22.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Wehner, Cyclone. (November 16, 2006) Herald Sun (Australia) Night at the booty bar. Section: HIT1 - FIRST Page I20.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Huhn, Mary. (November 3, 2005) New York Post The rap on K-Fed: Keep your day job as Mr. Spears. Section: New YorkPulse; Page 67.
- ↑ To review the Stereogum.com post, see Kevin Federline's Album Starts Leaking. Retrieved January 29, 2007.
- ↑ The frantic rise and fatal fall of hip-hop producer Disco D The Village Voice, 2007-07-31. Retrieved on 2008-01-20
- riotsound.com - Interview with Disco D
- The frantic rise and fatal fall of hip-hop producer Disco D - Article from The Village Voice
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