It’s April 7, 2013 and Duke Dumont has just scored his first UK chart-topping hit with ‘Need U (100%)’. It blends addictive pop vocals with a danceable house beat and is well deserved of the fortnight it spends at Number One. I’m in the midst of my first year at university, living in the south Manchester suburb of Fallowfield where house music reigns supreme. ‘Need U (100%)’ becomes the soundtrack to a carefree spring season.
What a moment this must have been for the London-born Dumont. House hadn’t really bothered the top chart spot for close to a decade, following Shapeshifter’s 2004 belter ‘Lola’s Theme’, and now here was a relatively underground producer with a few EPs out on Tiga’s Turbo label scaling the dizzy heights. For years he’d been plugging away, entering unsigned producer competitions, striving for a hallowed breakthrough. He’d caught moderate attention with the aforementioned EPs and a few remixes for the likes of Lily Allen and Missy Elliott, but here he was, breaking out from the shadows and becoming a household name in his own right.
It surely would have felt like the start of a lifetime of fame and fortune, with a devout fanbase worshipping at the altar of his DJ booth. I mean, Number One; that’s something Bob Dylan hasn’t achieved over the course of 58 career singles. The track even picked up a Grammy nomination.
Then on March 23, 2014, it happened again. ‘I Got U’ marked Duke Dumont’s second chart-topping single in less than 12 months. Admittedly one-hit wonders can rise and disappear faster than you can say David Zowie, and selling a lot of copies of one record is no assurance of long-term success – Las Ketchup, David Sneddon and the Crazy Frog all hold chart-topping gongs, after all. But a second Number One? That’s the start of something big. It placed Duke among the dance music elite of fellow double-hitters such as Armand Van Helden and The Chemical Brothers.
Look at the confidence oozing from this smile. It indicates the idea of never booking a bad gig ever again. No more shoddy basements with weak systems and promoters palming you off to a Travelodge without breakfast. It’s arenas and Hiltons, limos and luxury jets.
Until a fateful night in September 2016, that is.