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Amp Fiddler has died aged 65

The Detroit-born funk and electronic pioneer had worked with the likes of Moodymann, Funkadelic and Prince

  • 19 December 2023
Amp Fiddler has died aged 65

Detroit singer-songwriter Amp Fiddler has died aged 65-years-old.

The artist was known for his pioneering work in the genres of funk, soul and electronic music - working with the likes of Moodymann, Jamiroquai, Prince, Theo Parrish and J Dilla.

The cause of Fiddler’s death remains unknown, however the artist has been suffering from ill health for some time — with a fundraiser launched earlier this month to help alleviate the cost of his medical bills.

This fundraiser also included two events which took place at Detroit venues Marble Bar and Spot Lite in the last week with a line-up of Dez Andrés, Monica Blaire, R&B songwriters Bevlove and Britney Stoney, Spot Lite residents Vincent Patricola and Mike Clark and more.

Last year the artist, real name Joseph Anthony Fiddler, underwent surgery for an unknown condition spending months in hospital.

At the time, a GoFundMe page was launched to "support his continued healing as he journeys back to the stage," which raised $78,000.

According to the Detroit Metro Times, Fiddler was facing health challenges and a long recovery from his surgery.

Fiddler’s death was announced earlier today from a variety of sources including Faith Fanzine sharing on Twitter: “Faith are saddened to hear that Amp Fiddler has passed away. The king of the new era of Detroit Soul. RIP”.

In the ‘70s Fiddler joined soul group Enchantment before joining George Clinton's Parliament and Funkadelic groups playing keyboard for around a decade.

Speaking to Mixmag in 2017, he shared: “George [Clinton] is the shiiiiiit! He’s my biggest musical hero. For a funk musician in Detroit, the ultimate gig was to be in Parliament-Funkadelic.

"I was a funkhead, and I’d been producing my girlfriend at the time. She took some demos to George, he liked them and wanted me to come back and do some sessions with him.”

As a solo artist, Fiddler was signed to Moodymann’s record label Mahogani Music where he released his last album in 2017 ‘Amp Dog Knights’.

He recalled in this same interview with Mixmag the first time he met Moodymann - real name Kenny ‘Moodymann’ Dixon Jr: “Me and my brother Bubz [a bass player] were on a couple of songs, and there was a guy at the session called Kenny."

"We went back to his studio and played with him. And he had this record by Moodymann. I asked him: ‘Is this someone else you produce?’ And he said: ‘Nah, that’s me!’ This was around 2003, and I needed a couple of songs for my debut album, ‘Waltz Of The Ghetto Fly’. Kenny has a different process: he’s raw, but he reminded me of George Clinton. We’ve been friends ever since.”

On top of being a musician, Fiddler also launched his music production school in the ‘80s named Camp Amp in Los Angeles and then in Detroit.

When running the school in Detroit he encouraged local kids to get involved including the likes of J Dilla, Waajeed and Andrés.

Watch Amp Fiddler perform alongside Waajeed at The Lab Detroit below.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter

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