Today, the Red Hot organization announces Red Hot + Free, a liberating mixtape of dance beats, electro grooves and global anthems meant to feed souls, lift spirits and unleash minds from an unprecedented state of lockdown. Out July 2 and helmed by influential producer-provocateur Bill Coleman, Red Hot + Free is the trailblazing non-profit’s first brand new, full-length compilation since 2016’s Grateful Dead tribute, Day of The Dead, ushering the next era of their 30-year history fighting HIV/AIDS through music and pop culture. Like all of Red Hot’s previous projects – which span 20 LPs, 500+ collaborations and over $15 million donated to charities around the world – Red Hot + Free will benefit marginalized communities affected by the disease, as Red Hot continues to set the precedent for artistic activism not only in the wake of HIV/AIDS, but now COVID-19. Serving as a loose sequel to 1992’s Red Hot + Dance, where George Michael, Madonna, Seal and more united in a mission to support club kids battling AIDS, Red Hot + Free once again captures the spirit of the times, and delivers a star-studded, PRIDE and Independence Day-ready playlist for a post-pandemic world.
Across its two discs, Red Hot + Free features an exclusive, super catchy, continent-crossing collaboration from Sofi Tukker and Amadou & Mariam, an energetic house cover of Juliet Roberts’ beloved ’90s club hit, “Caught In The Middle” by Billy Porter, brand new remixes of perennial classics like Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Ultra Naté’s “Free (Live Your Life),” fresh and extended versions of songs from goth pop goddess Allie X, Fischerspooner’s Casey Spooner, CRICKETS (JD Samson, Roddy Bottum, Michael O’Neill) and Sam Sparro, plus Bright Light Bright Light x The Illustrious Blacks, Honey Dijon x Luke Solomon, Louis The Child x Foster The People, The Aces x Snakehips, Tituss Burgess x Imani Coppola, Vagabon x Pamcy and many others. From euphoric electro-pop to dazzling disco, Bill Coleman has curated Red Hot + Free’s tracklist to honor Red Hot’s roots in the LGBTQ+ community, the Black queer movements and the inclusive club and dance communities that define so much of modern music history.
A timely preface to summer 2021, “U Try Livin’ (Pressure)” is a testimony on the dancefloor’s power to defy political, racial and ideological divides. The gospel-house rave-up was created specially for Red Hot + Free by Black Guy White Guy and 808 BEACH, a writing and production collaboration between UK soul royalty Kwame Kwaten (D-Influence, Laura Mvula) and Gil Cang (Michael Jackson) with Bill Coleman (Deee-Lite, Lenny Kravitz, Party Girl) and musical wunderkind John “J-C” Carr (Sia, Zayn). Blending the urgency and style of the Staples Singers with a feel-good, four-on-the-floor bounce, the lead vocals of newcomer Anelisa Lamola – plus soaring backgrounds, harmonies and arrangements from Danny Madden, Audrey Wheeler (Chaka Khan), Cindy Mizelle (Bruce Springsteen), Keith Fluitt (Martha Wash) and Elisabeth Troy (Clean Bandit, MJ Cole) – inspire listeners to shake off their struggles for a moment of sweet, stomping relief.
Bill Coleman says: “When Red Hot + Blue came out in 1990, the project and subsequent releases were forward thinking in concept, inclusion and marketing, uniting a wide variety of visual and musical talent to raise awareness. The subject of AIDS and discussing any queer sexuality in popular culture was a provocative stance in 1990. I feel honored to be a part of such a rich legacy. Weaving two things I love so much – music – with direct, in your face presence and activism. To be able to finish a project purposely called Red Hot + Free and include such a powerful tune as ‘U Try Livin” during a time when the stark reality of our own mortality has really hit home was kind of a big deal. The irony was not lost on me.”
As a revered journalist, producer, manager, DJ, label owner, music supervisor, love addict, healer and more, endless multi-hyphenate Bill Coleman has been programming the tastes of New York City nightlife for the past three decades. Renowned for his acute ear and eclectic expertise, he currently serves as the creative force behind Brooklyn-based entertainment company Peace Bisquit, where he’s worked with everyone from Beyoncé to amFar, Bette Midler, Bravo, David Guetta, ESG, Lady Gaga, Lincoln Center, Lizzo, Neneh Cherry, Radiohead, RuPaul and more.
Both Peace Bisquit and Red Hot celebrated their 30th Anniversary in 2020. Ever since Red Hot + Blue presented the mainstream’s “first sensible, shame-free pop culture response to HIV/AIDS” (Esquire), Red Hot has remained home to “the only ongoing, major album series to benefit the fight against the disease” (The Guardian). Learn more about the organization in recent stories on PBS NewsHour and Amanpour, plus a special message of thanks from Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“Red Hot is the only company in the world that wanted to go out of business,” says Co-Founder John Carlin. “30 years later, we’re still here. I’m glad about that, but sad that HIV/AIDS awareness, humanitarian and LGBTQ+ rights still need to be fought for.”
Red Hot + Free Tracklist
“Mon Cheri” – Sofi Tukker and Amadou & Mariam
“U Try Livin’ (Pressure)” – Black Guy White Guy x 808 BEACH
“Elastic” (808 BEACH Dangerous Power Mix) – CRICKETS
“Start It Up” (Red Hot Extended) – Body Language
“Super Duper Party People” (Alan Braxe Extended Mix) – Allie X
“Pressure” (RedTop Mix) – Sam Sparro
“Free (Live Your Life)” (Felix Da Housecat x Chris Trucher Remix) – Ultra Naté
“Caught In The Middle” – Billy Porter
“Every Color” (Dombresky Remix) – Louis The Child & Foster The People
“Daydream” (Snakehips Remix) – The Aces
“Don Dada” (Honey Dijon & Luke Solomon Extended Alcazar Remix) – Cakes da Killa & Proper Villains
“It’s Ovah” – Kiwi Dreams
“Dance M.F.” (Red Hot Extended Mix) – Tituss Burgess ft. Imani Coppola
“Water Me Down” (Pamcy Remix) – Vagabon
“I Love My Problems” (Boys’ Shorts Dancefloor Remix) – Casey Spooner
“I Will Survive” (Eric Kupper Dub Mix) – Gloria Gaynor
“Queen” (Club Mix) – Dubesque ft. Amanda Lepore
“These Dreams” (Red Hot Extended Mix) – Bright Light Bright Light feat. The Illustrious Blacks