Billboard Dance Chart Upstarts: Zookeper, Kue & Holly Herndon

Anna Lee
Zook√ęper

Each week, Billboard Dance looks at songs & albums rising on Billboard's dance charts.

Zookeper, "Watch Me"

Los Angeles-based producer Zookeper (real name Michael Doerr) zooms onto Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart (dated May 25) at No. 27 with "Watch Me." The first Billboard chart entry for the New Jersey native is drawing airplay on such core-dance affiliates as Music Choice's Dance/EDM channel, KMVQ-HD2 San Francisco and SiriusXM's BPM, according to Nielsen Music.

"'Watch Me' was made to be a fun record to dance to; that's really the bottom line," Zookeper tells Billboard. "I love the lyric because, at its core, it's about being one person during the day and letting loose at night, and I think that's what a lot of us do.

"In terms of production with this record, and all of the music I've been making lately, I've been trying to use classic sounds as much as possible and to keep the arrangements bare, because I think there's a certain integrity in those sounds," he muses. "909 claps … M1 Piano … Sometimes I hear records and think, 'That sounds like Ableton.' I want mine to sound like they could have been produced on an 8-track sampler if they really had to be: bare and to the point. The bulk of the work goes into making the bass line dance with the vocal."

Kue, "Going Home"

San Jose, California-based Kue (aka, Michael Morales) cruises 30-20 on Dance Club Songs with "Going Home." A prolific remixer and club DJ, Kue collects his first charted original production. The track was remixed by Dirty Werk and Slim Tim, among others.

Kue tells Billboard, "The song came about around a chord progression I wrote. What kept popping in my head was this idea of being lost and finding someone that is essentially your home, that everything is always okay when you're with that person. I recorded the demo with my own vocals and ended up finding a vocalist online named Sophie. Funny enough, I did end up keeping some of my demo vocals as layers to hers that are subtle in the background. Once I got her vocals, everything fell into place really fast. The song was basically a year in the making, as I made the demo over a year ago. It just took me awhile to find a vocalist."

Holly Herndon, PROTO

San Francisco-based experimental electronic producer Holly Herndon heralds her best Billboard chart position, bowing at No. 7 on Dance/Electronic Album Sales with PROTO. Previously, the Tennessee native reached No. 13 in 2015 with Platform. Herndon, a Stanford University electronic music doctoral student, earned an MFA from Mills College in Oakland in electronic music and recording media.