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HMC Rewind: Abigail Adams / Moving Records

Abigail Adams
Written by Kris Flowers

As one of the prominent, iconic women in the Dance Music business, Abigail Adams’ critical role in the development of New Jersey’s Essex County-centered dance music industry continues to impress upon its new crop of DJ’s, remixers, producers, record labels and recording artists.   This former model, Bernardsville NJ born, raised in Summit NJ, earned a BA in Early Childhood Education from Boston College.  Abigail began her career in the Dance music arena via her DJ boyfriend, KB.  In the early 1980’s, they owned a custom roller skating store in East Orange, NJ, subsequently opening up a store in the famous, “B-Boy friendly” Roxy roller disco in NYC.    KB purchased a pair of Technics 1200 turntables and set them up in the East Orange store so he could practice DJing.   Customers would inquire about the music KB was spinning, and the ever inventive, “forward-thinking” Abigail made note of the customer’s inquiries and trekked to various NYC record shops like Downtown Records & Vinyl Mania Records to purchase these titles and bring them back to NJ to resell them.  Realizing that she could buy them in bulk from the wholesaler, Abigail soon found herself at the beginning of what would become Movin’ Records. 

By the mid 1980’s, through her friendships with now legendary DJ’s such as Timmy Regisford, Larry Levan (RIP) and Tony Humphries, her knowledge of recording artists and their discographies grew rapidly.  Movin’ Records became THE most influential record shop in the Dance music scene in NJ.   Every DJ, recording artist and dance music aficionado from NYC to California from London, Spain and Japan who is worth his or her salt made the pilgrimage to the shop.  It virtually became a “who’s who” of the not only the dance scene but the R&B/Rap world as well. Queen Latifah, Vinnie, Treach & Kay Gee (Naughty by Nature), Red Man, Wyclef and Lauren Hill (The Fugees) were all youngsters hanging out at the store.  But it was the underground dance music that lit all of Essex County on fire. 

It was Abigail’s relationship with DJ Tony Humphries of Club Zanzibar who was also one of the leading DJ’s on NYC’s 98.7 KISS-FM mastermix show and the club’s former manager, Shelton Hayes, had unknowingly created a unique marketing strategy that catapulted many undiscovered artists into dance world stardom.    Using that paradigm, record sales at the store reached unimaginable figures.   The birth of Movin’ Records, the label was a natural progression for Abigail due in part to the exploding dance music culture that seemed unstoppable.  The Movin’ Records catalogue is full of some of genre’s forthright artists, producers & remixers such as Vicky Martin, Kenny Bobien, Cassio Ware, Boyd Jarvis, Intense, Kerri Chandler, Marshall Jefferson, DJ Pierre, Ce Ce Rogers, Blaze, Larry Patterson and Tony Humphries. “I truly loved and believed in the music that I was selling and putting out on my record label. It was and still is a passion of mine. I supported the local artists and producers from New Jersey because their sound was heartfelt and full of soul and meaningful lyrics”.....
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In 1989, during NYC’s New Music Seminar (now known as the Winter Music Conference in Miami, Florida) Abigail, in association with Shelton Hayes and Club Zanzibar created “Jersey Jams”. It was a special dance music event that featured unsigned recording artists and some of Jersey’s hottest dance music stars.  That event received major coverage in the entertainment section of NJ’s Star Ledger, various dance music publications and Vanity Fair magazine.  By the early 1990’s, House music proliferated in the mainstream media alongside R&B and Rap.  The Movin’ Label and the record shop continued to forge ahead successfully.  It is at this time that Abigail was offered a position as club promoter for an event that became known as Scandals housed in East Orange’s Charlie’s West club, previously a white gay establishment.  Abigail, along with partner Michael Jasper built a very successful, yet diverse Thursday night party.   Every Jersey dance artist performed there as well as major R&B and Rap artists & that genre’s DJ’s such as Queen Latifah, Funk Master Flex & Biz Markie.  It was the first club to book Mary J. Blige!   Jazz-fusion artist, Roy Ayers also graced Scandals’ soundstage. ....

By the mid 90’s, mainstream’s taste in Dance music began to wane rapidly, in addition to the technological changes in how music is made and consumed.  Ultimately, Abigail made the tough decision to close Movin’ Records and the shop.   It was a sad day in NJ’s dance music’s history when “Movin’” closed its doors.  However, Abigail took this time focus all her attention on her daughter, attend college and be a productive citizen.  Nonetheless, the lure of the music business still simmered in her spirit.   In the mid 2000’s, Abigail resurfaced in the dance music industry re-establishing old contacts and making new ones around the world.   Diving head first into Artist Management, she now represents several recording artists and DJ’s such as Kenny Bobien and Duce Martinez. 

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