Evelyn Champagne King: disco's greatest icon?

April 13, 2017

Now in her fortieth year as a recording artist and performer, Evelyn “Champagne” King is known around the world for her floor-filling disco classics. With both platinum records and smash hit singles under her belt, Evelyn is a true disco and soul veteran.

Evelyn was discovered by record label executives whilst cleaning bathrooms at Philadelphia International Records’ recording studios. What followed was a long and illustrious career of over thirty singles - lifted from twelve studio albums. Her career began with a deal at RCA Records, where she achieved instant success - including a platinum debut album and two US Top 40 hit singles. A string of Top 40 albums followed, including 1982’s “Get Loose” - an album that was eventually certified 2 x platinum in the US.

Although Evelyn has released albums across the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, it’s 1979’s iconic “Shame” and the pure pop euphoria of 1982’s “Love Come Down” that stand out as career highlights. Both tracks are era-defining records that have been covered and reinterpreted endlessly by a whole stream of artists who were influenced by the sound. Indeed, contemporary British artists such as Jess Glynne and WSTRN are continuing to reimagine her work over thirty years after it was released - a true sign of influence and resilience in a famously fast-moving music industry.

It’s not just fellow artists that have recognised Evelyn’s incomparable influence - her music has also been included in countless ‘Best Of’ lists. “Love Come Down” was included in a list of The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000, and “Shame” was one of the first records to be inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame back in 2004. These accolades prove that Evelyn played an integral part in the artists and music we enjoy today.

Evelyn has continued to record and perform in recent years - and music from her earlier career continues to live on through various re-releases. Her most recent full-length studio effort “Open Book” was released independently, and she has continued to tour across the UK and America in recent years. Though she briefly stepped away from the musical limelight, her return to the music industry in the late 00’s resulted in a Top 20 Hot Dance/Disco chart hit in America. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King is a true dance music icon - and her influence can be traced in the work of a number of artists performing at this year’s festival. Be sure to catch her at 51st State’s ‘We Love Soul’ stage this year - it’ll be a party to remember.