Wednesday, October 18, 2023


Pure Energy finds the time for its brand of dance R&B with “Midnight Magic”


By Kurt Beyers

“Midnight Magic” and Pure Energy, the R&B/funk/dance group that brought it to life and will release it September 8, have more in common than creator/creation.

“The idea for the song came to me when we were performing in clubs, and I noticed that things didn’t pop off, didn’t start happening, until after midnight,” said Lisa Stevens-Crowder, lead vocalist.

“That’s when everybody in the club was ready to party and get down. So, ‘Midnight Magic.’”

Lisa wrote the vocals and the melody. Curtis Hudson, lead guitarist and vocals, added the funk twist, brother Ray Hudson is the bass guitarist, and together they have put some magic in “Midnight Magic.” The song is a hot, hopping, purely fun dance track:

Mystic powers of the night

Gonna cast a spell on you, it’s gonna get ya

Oh the magic’s in the air, you can feel it everywhere

It’s comin’ at ya

Come and step into the night

And the video tells visual stories of people waking to the magic of midnight, showcases Curt and Ray in all their glorious funk, and if Lisa’s magnificent, soaring vocals don’t levitate you right off the floor, you might be dead.

Pure Energy — Curtis, Lisa and Ray — are also looking for some magic at midnight. The song was written back in the early ’80s, when the group was hot but the music industry was often geared more toward snuffing fire instead of sparking it.

Pure Energy disbanded in 1984, at least as a performing, recording entity.

Until this year.

“We just went in different directions,” said Curt. “We were under contract from ’80 to ’84, and the record label — well, we were unsatisfied with some of the stuff they wanted to do, and the direction of it, too. So we just sort of disbanded Pure Energy.”

Lisa put it more bluntly. “They wanted to put us in a bag of just disco, and we’re R&B-funk. We are dance, but we weren’t disco.” 

“We were always trying to put songs out on other artists,” said Ray. “We decided ‘Hey, we need to try to get some exposure for some of this material we have,’ like Madonna and other people we started working with. And we found that that was working for us.”

Madonna and a song she made famous, “Holiday,” illustrate the point. Curtis and Lisa wrote “Holiday,” regarded as the single that really launched Madonna’s career.

“We actually wrote that song for our group, Pure Energy,” said Lisa. “We presented it to our record company, and they said it wasn’t a hit. And Madonna did it and, you know, the rest is history.”

“We thought we could have done ‘Holiday,’ but our record company didn’t hear it for us,” said Ray. “That kind of helped us decide we need to go a different direction.”

The group formed in the mid-’70s. Their first single, “Party On,” made it to No. 7 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Members of the group served as writers and producers for other artists, including Jean Carne, Maxine Singleton, Wranda Rawlins and Lauriece Hudson.

Curt wrote and produced “Body Work,” which became a hit for the group Hot Streak on its platinum soundtrack for the movie Breakin’. “Body Work” was also sampled by Missy Elliot for her 2005 worldwide hit “Lose Control,” which was nominated for Best Rap Song at the Grammys and won a Grammy for best short form music video. 

Curtis also co-wrote the song “Remember Us” for John Legend, which earned Legend a Grammy for Best R&B Artist in 2021. With his and Lisa’s son, Eric Hudson, Curtis also co-wrote two songs on the Isley Brothers’ new album, Make Me Say It Again Girl. Curt and Eric teamed up to produce “Midnight Magic.”

Eric himself is a five-time Grammy winning producer who has written and produced for such artists as Whitney Houston, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, John Legend, Usher, and The Weekend.

Now, Lisa, Ray and Curtis are ending almost 40 years of temporary disbandment. They never stopped believing in Pure Energy. They never stopped performing, writing and collaborating.

“We didn’t totally disband, because we were writing songs and working together in the studio,” said Ray. “We were always doing that, all those years.”

“We intended on getting back together, but stuff started happening in other directions, so we just never did do it,” said Curtis, “until now.”

Over the years, they have accumulated a treasure trove of songs that were recorded in demo form but never produced. The music industry in its current form leaves a lot of room for independent artists, and they can put out their music, their way, with their sound.

“We’re going to re-record all of those songs,” said Curtis. “This, ‘Midnight Magic,’ is the first, but I guarantee you the best is yet to come.”

“I can’t wait until people hear more of our ballads,” said Lisa.

The fact that the songs were never produced is why they can put them out now under the Pure Energy name. They don’t own anything they produced for their original label. When “Midnight Magic” goes up, it will be their first song under their own name on modern music channels.

For a taste of their earlier material, their 1980 album Party On is under the Unidisc label on Spotify.

“We are proud of all the time we spent writing and creating songs, even though we didn’t get a chance to put them out,” said Ray. “We knew one day we would want to get back together and do something. We just didn’t know when.”

Turns out, the time is now. The clock is striking midnight, and the party is about to start.

Get to know Pure Energy as they bring their catalogue of music out into the air. Connect with them on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts.

Spotify, album Party On:

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