Whatever happened to ...Alice Deejay

Was their one hit really Better Off Alone?

original article

Its 1999 and the world is becoming worried about the impending Millennium bug. A currency called the Euro has just been established (albeit not in Britain and USA) and little known Eurodance pop group Alice Deejay are riding high in the charts with their hit dance song Better Off Alone.

Sampling a line from The Eurythmics’ hit song Here Comes The Rain, Better Off Alone was always meant to be an instrumental track but DJ Jurgen, who was a member of Alice Deejay, wanted to remain an underground DJ and so appointed vocalist Judith Pronk, so as not to draw too much attention to himself. What a silly move.

For the song quickly became a nineties classic, becoming an international dance floor hit reaching number two in the UK and US charts before becoming one of the 10-biggest selling singles of the 1990s, a decade only beaten for the highest number of single sales by Elton John’s Candle In The Wind back in 1997! The song went platinum and even won Alice Deejay an award for the Best Chart Act of 1999. It went on to have more remixes than you can shake a stick at, by the likes of M25, Wiz Khalifa, Paulson and even Weezer! In fact, the track was so successful that it convinced Judith to join the group on a permanent basis.

Bad move. For Alice Deejay were to become one of those feared things - a one hit wonder. Although it took a little longer for them to slip down the musical radar than it does most artists. They went on to release a further single entitled Back In My Life, which peaked at number four in the UK but they soon became victims of an all together different millennium bug.

As the nineties wave of dance music came to an end, the noughties saw a brand new precedence for the world’s music fans. Their debut (and only ever) album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway proved to be as incorrect as Roman Abramovich when he thought splashing out £50 million on Fernando Torres was a good idea. Indie rock took over the music world and the Europop of the nineties, despite a late revolution from Basshunter, quickly became forgotten. Will I Ever, The Lonely One and Celebrate Our Love did all reach the UK Top 40 but their standings were nowhere near that of “Better Off Alone” and their influence on the music scene and the music-listening public, practically non-existent. The group did return briefly to cover Mel C’s (of Spice Girls fame) solo song I Turn To You but it failed to chart and the video is about as rare as any Mel C solo chart hit!

So whatever did happen to the group that have the world one of its finest ever dance hits? Well, Alice Deejay did not become Candee Jay in 2004, as many people believe! Candee Jay was a Dutch electronica artist who was often mistaken for Judith Pronk. However, there was some Alice Deejay influence in her discography, for she was produced by Pronti and Kalmani - the duo that worked with Alice Deejay on Better Off Alone. It is real shame that Candee Jay was dropped after just one album, due to a failure to chart, for she had already planned a follow-up that was cancelled; a follow up that included a cover of a certain Better Off Alone - as if people weren’t confused enough!

Alice Deejay as the full package (Sebastiaan Molijn, Eelke Kalberg, DJ Jurgen, Judith Anna Pronk, Mila Levesque, Angelique Versnel) performed their final ever live show in Utrecht November 2002. However, Alice Deejay were announced since for a live show in Los Angeles - but it was just Pronti and Kalmani performing old material for Winter Fresh festival in 2007. They did one further show under the same moniker in 2008 in case people missed them the first time round but this was not Alice Deejay as the nineties had known them; the only two figures left of the group that were happy to return to their glory days one final time.

It would seem that Pronti and Kalmani were the influence and lifeblood of Alice Deejay for they are the only members to have come out of the nineties with any sort of mainstream career. Today, they work as part of the acclaimed trance vocal project Dash Berlin, who were recently enrolled on the DJ Magazine as the 15th best DJ’s in the world.

There were rumours that Alice Deejay would return in 2010 along with fellow nineties one-hit wonders the Vengaboys, with a cameo in their recent single Rocket To Uranus but this never came true and to date there has been no indication that Alice Deejay are working with each other again, nor that they plan any releases. It would seem that the ironic title of their 1999 hit single still runs true to this day - it was Better Off Alone!

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