GoFundMe launched for uncredited ‘Freak Like Me’ vocalist Tish Bailey

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A GoFundMe has been launched to support Tish Bailey, the uncredited vocalist on the iconic Chicago house track, ‘Freak Like Me’, by the late DJ Deeon.

Berlin DJ Sarah Farina launched the page last month (February 19) after discovering Bailey, aged 54, is the vocalist responsible for the beloved house record.

In a post shared to Instagram, the DJ wrote that they played ‘Freak Like Me’ in “almost every one of their sets”.

Detailing how her iconic vocals came to be on the track, the post reveals Bailey had just won a local church talent show at 19-years-old when she was invited to DJ Funk’s studio, where her song was recorded and saved.

Read this next: The exploitation of Black women vocalists in house music

Only when ‘Freak Like Me’ came out on Dance Mania in 1996 did Bailey discover her voice had been used “without her knowledge or permission” continues the post.

The track has since become a dance classic, synonymous with the Chicago house genre and a staple of DJ sets — as well as being sampled and remixed over the years.

All the while, Tish reports she has been uncredited and uncompensated for her art.

“A Black working class independent singer & songwriter – without contract, resources or representation – Tish had given up on justice long ago” reads the GoFundMe.

Read this next: Estée Blu: The music industry is not a meritocracy, and it’s harshest on Black women

“I never desired fame or notoriety…though few know my name or have seen my face, I know I’ve brought a lil spicy joy to countless people” said Tish Bailey in a recent statement.

Hoping to raise financial compensation and recognition for the vocalist, the page continues by adding “This fundraiser is step 1 towards rightful compensation for 25+ years of lost royalties & recognition”.

Despite the crucial contribution of Black women to House music, they are often “erased, uncredited and exploited” due to systemic racism and misogyny.

In a study by Black Lives in Music Report, it was found that within the industry Black women are more likely to face lower pay, barriers to progression, racial abuse and mental health struggles concluding that “Black women are the most disadvantaged across all areas of the music industries“.

Tish Bailey continues to make music and has collaborated with Sarah Farina on a recent track titled ‘Stay Soft‘.

Listen to the track below.

Learn more about Tish Bailey here and support the GoFundMe here.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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