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Marea Stamper left high school at the age of sixteen to become an “adventure capitalist.” She spent her teens taking cheap flights to and from St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis and other cities around the South and Midwest to sell mixtapes by Chicago artists like Boo Williams, Terry Mullen, Paul Johnson, and Glenn Underground. Eventually Stamper settled for a while between Lexington and Louisville. An ecstatic dancer and omnivorous music lover, Stamper cultivated her ear as a DJ during these years, using a collection of vinyl from the ’70s and ’80s that she and her mother retrieved from a seller at an antique mall to practice her blends and tricks. When a former roommate left Dust Traxx records in Chicago to become Felix Da Housecat’s manager, label owner Radek Hawryszczuk invited her to come work for him. Stamper subsequently worked at the label/distributor for about five years on and off, making records in her spare time and DJing parties like the legendary Boom Boom Room. Eventually Stamper left Dust Traxx for a copy-editing job. When Nate Seider asked Stamper to apply to be the assistant talent buyer at Smart Bar, her world turned upside down. She spent a year under him before becoming the venerated venue’s first female talent buyer. Around that same time she released a series of hit underground records with local labels Stripped & Chewed and Argot, and began getting booked at Berlin’s Berghain/Panorama Bar. Today The Blessed Madonna (she officially changed her DJ handle in July 2020) is a global DJ in demand, jetting between her homes in Chicago and London and parties across the continental US and Europe. She continues to support and champion the underground scene that gave her wings
Columbia College Chicago
House Music, Chicago, Illinois, dancer, Boom Boom Room, Dust Traxx, Smart Bar, STripped & Chewed disc jockey
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African American Studies | Gender and Sexuality | History | Latina/o Studies | Music | Regional Sociology
Salkind, Micah, "Interview with Marea 'Black/Blessed Madonna' Stamper" (2014). Chicago House Music Oral History Project. 31.