Paul Oakenfold

Posted in MusicWorld on June 17, 2003 by

He's known as one of the top — if not the absolute premiere — DJs in the world. He has a second career as a successful a&r man under his belt, having discovered the then-unknown Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Salt N' Pepa while working for Champion Records. But what really distinguishes Paul Oakenfold from his record-spinning peers is the fact that he's also a highly accomplished composer.

Oakenfold's career began in the late 1970s in a Covent Garden wine bar where he spun tracks with his friend Trevor Fung. However, sensing that the future of street music — especially the then radically new hip hop genre — lay in America, Paul Oakenfold made his way to New York City, where he landed a day gig in West Harlem while absorbing the sounds of the street and looking for a way to become a part of the scene. It wouldn't take long for Paul to land a gig at the Paradise Garage, where he perfected his acid house style.

Eventually, Oakenfold would return to London. By 1993, his reputation as a DJ had placed him at the top of the field, and U2 tapped Paul to spin a special brew for their Zoo TV world tour. But DJ'ing other people's music no longer fully satisfied him, and Oakenfeld, who had begun his production career in 1988, was looking for more creative work. When he was tapped to write and produce the theme to the hit television show Big Brother along with Andy Gray, Oakenfold's scoring career kicked into high gear.

Paul Oakenfold has managed to keep both his DJ and production careers soaring over the last decade. In 2001, he wrote the score to Swordfish and has contributed tracks to The Bourne Identity, Goldmember and other films. The roster of A-level recording artists he has recently worked with includes Madonna, Snoop Doggy Dog and Moby.