Hush Money Turns the House Up
By Zoe Elerby
On September 16th, 2022, Chicago House Music legend Joe Smooth returned to the scene with not one, not two, but four dance-worthy mixes of The Heel’s song “Hush Money”. Not only has Smooth stepped in with his head banging mixes, the songs are only made better by vocalist Irene Michaels. As an intriguing, multi-talented woman, Michaels states that she is “blessed” to work with not only Smooth but The Heels, Rachael Cain of Trax Records, also known as Screamin’ Rachael and Michael A. Levine. All of these artists collaborated to create multiple versions of “Hush Money” remixes, from Smooth’s classic house rockin’ theme to Levine’s alternate mix, all topped off with Michael’s stunning vocals.
But let’s talk a little bit about Irene Michaels, the voice we hear under Smooth’s dope beats. Michaels has broken the glass ceiling and is actively challenging the youth obsessed culture that surrounds the music scene. It isn’t everyday you hear a woman of her caliber dedicated to a scene that primarily focuses on the always energetic youth. But Michaels isn’t just a beautiful woman with vocals that meld with Smooth’s beats so well, she is also a pioneering entrepreneur, a fashion icon, top model and, get this, a best selling author!
This multi-talented beauty brings many skills to the table, proving that no matter how old you are, you can pursue whatever aspirations you have. There is no such thing as “too late” when it comes to Michaels and her message is only being amplified by the legendary Joe Smooth. Smooth decided to work with Michaels through Trax Records, where co-producer Rachael Cain collaborated with him to bring untouchable remixes of “Hush Money”.
Smooth has gained international acclaim during the late 80s and 90s but by 2000 Smooth had the credit of working with Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, Whitney Houston and many more brilliant artists, surfing through different genres and touching all kinds of audiences. His house music is so acclaimed that even the popular Daft Punk took heavy influence from him in their own music. With gold and platinum records on his belt, Smooth was the perfect person to help lift a wonderful singer like Michaels into the limelight where she belongs. With over 200,000 monthly listeners and influence on artists with even higher numbers, this new release has the potential to swarm clubs and bars all over Chicago.
“Hush Money” in itself is a sexy, stylish song with tantalizing lyrics performed by Michaels and produced by Trax Records. Screamin’ Rachael, known as the “queen of house music” with connections to the evolution of the music genre, co-produced the song that was originally created by Canadian trio The Heels. With these three giants, the song has a funky flair with a mix of Broadway seduction, ringing the audience in as soon as the beat hits their ears.
Not only is “Hush Money” perfect for every club scene, it’s also, simply put, a bop. With slight variations in the remixes (one version is free of lyrics as well), “Hush Money” holds its own as a playfully complex take on familiar sounds. The story found in the lyrics focuses on none other than a seductive individual convincing the other party to enjoy their time, even if it’s for a price.
“How much hush money you gonna need? Cuz honey zip those lips, tell me please.”
“I’m a one-way ticket and ya can’t go back”
And there is no going back on this song. Once it starts, it is hard to turn your head or turn it off, as Smooth and Levine’s versions of the song are exactly what you would hear when walking into a nightclub. You can find the beautiful Irene Michaels at I on The Scene, on her Instagram @irenemichaels. You can find Joe Smooth on Spotify and other music streaming platforms and of course, you can find “Hush Money” on any music streaming platform available.
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