Throwback: Debbie Deb-When I Hear Music

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Debbie Deb became an instant queen of freestyle after “When I Hear Music” hit the airwaves and entered the clubs in 1983. Debbie was a teenager living in Miami when she met producer Tony Butler who convinced her to record the song. Freestyle music had emerged in New York and was championed by urban dancers for its electro-infused rhythms and fun lyrics. “When I Hear Music” was popular, being able to have radio exposure, street recognition and thrive in nightclubs. She also scored another freestyle classic with “Lookout Weekend” but the music industry shunned her overweight appearance and refused to use her photo for the Lookout Weekend album cover. She was also replaced by another singer hired by the record company to pretend to be her on the road similar to the Black Box and Martha Wash controversy. Deb left the music industry not long after the success of her album and returned once in the ’90s. As freestyle becomes popular again Deb performs occasionally around the country, usually at throwback events with other stars of the genre like Shannon and Lisa Lisa.