International DJ and coveted producer Hector Fonseca recently scored his fourth Billboard number-one hit for this year with his remix of Lady Gaga’s anthemic rock ballad “Yoü and I.” Fonseca, the New Jersey-born Puerto Rican model turned music maker, is well known for dropping crowd-pleasing sets at circuit parties and as the official remixer for Beyoncé, Katy Perry and other top divas.
The heavy country influence in “Yoü and I” seems to set an unlikely tone for the turntables, but in Fonseca’s able hands, it works.
“With a song like ‘Yoü and I’ that is so personal to many, the challenge is to keep the emotional attachment and meaning of the lyrics while making people dance to it,” he says. “This happens with ballads, but at the same time, it’s automatically a sing-along, so that is often a great thing to start with. Then there are songs like ‘Born This Way’ that is a dance anthem along with a deep message, and for me, the challenge with that kind of song is giving it edge and making it cool and sexy. I’m often given songs that are difficult to translate from the radio to the dancefloor, and I enjoy that. When I’m done, I know I really did something with the remix and it wasn’t easy.”
While the track may have been a challenge to remix, Fonseca is quick to point out that for him, working with a visionary like Gaga comes easy.
“The impact she has had on society has been so huge,” he says. “There aren’t many pop artists that can say they’ve been popular and activists at the same time. That’s really the most unique thing with Gaga. She could have just milked a formula that worked and played it safe like so many, and she didn’t. I think the same way, and some of her people mentioned that to me. Remixing her is an honour but also natural and inspiring. I had a 14-year-old fan email me and thank me for remixing a song that made it easier to come out to his family and friends. That is an amazing thing that comes with working for someone like Gaga.”
Fonseca will be bringing a crate-load of number ones like “Yoü and I” to Toronto when he hits fly nightclub for his residency later this month.
“Fly was actually my first international gig six years ago,” he says. “What I first loved about it was the attachment the crowd had to the DJ. I was wowed and wanted to come back immediately. Toronto fans really appreciate a DJ and their sound. Fly tends to bring in new talent mixed in with big names, so it keeps things fresh. They also have one of the best resident DJs, in my opinion, in Shawn Riker. I think fly is an institution at this point, a landmark in a way. I’m glad to still be part of the family.”
Despite being a DJ sex symbol in gay clubs like fly, Fonseca says he doesn’t intentionally use his looks and image as a foundation for his popularity.
“It’s funny, but even though I use my image, it’s never been about that with me,” he says. “You will never see me shirtless trying to sell gigs. Not that I’m knocking that, but it’s just not me. There’s a point where sexuality can overcome your music, and I never cross that line. My sexuality usually comes across through my music. There is a sexiness with everything I produce. It’s my outlet.”