*NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart” Gets a Post-Millennium Gender Bending Make Over version by DJ/Producer Jace M.
By day, Jace M is a computer engineer. At night, he is a music producer and on weekends, he is traveling the world as an international DJ.
Now based in Miami where he lives with his husband, Jace grew in Washington DC and Detroit and, as a child, was forced by his parents to play piano, violin, and trumpet. “I hated all of them,” he says, “but am forever grateful for what I learned about music and music theory. I use it every day of my life.”
In his music, he draws inspiration from many of the leading DJs from the early 2000s: luminaries like Abel, Ralphie Rosario, Tony Moran, Manny Lehman and DJ GRIND. As they did in their time, Jace produces his own club beats. He has released a slew of remixes, both by himself, and with collaborators including Joe Gauthreaux, Toy Armada and Mauro Mozart.
“I specialize in happy, uplifting, circuit music with vocals,” he explains. “Songs (that) clubbers can sing along to and that make them want to hug their partner on the dancefloor.”
His latest track is a re-imagining of *NSYNC favorite “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” While his version pays homage to the original, it takes the already high energy song in a new direction, incorporating house and disco elements for an even more uplifting club sound. He has also called upon some of the biggest remixers and producers in the club industry to release their own versions of the track. There are eleven mixes in all, varying from techno to hard tribal, making the track suitable for every dance floor.
We spoke with Jace M from his home in Miami.
What gave you the idea to remake “Tearin’ Up My Heart” for today’s dancefloor?
Jace M: I was driving in the car and the original came on the radio. My brain went a million miles a minute thinking about how I could adapt the song for today’s sounds and culture. I immediately called Joey and the next week we were in the studio.
Why Joey? Was it important for you to have a Filipino artist sing the song?
Jace M: To be totally honest, I didn’t really consider Joey’s background. I simply needed a vocalist and I knew Joey wanted to get back into music. He had asked me to remix his track with Toy Armada and the moment I heard his voice on that record, I knew I wanted to collaborate with him. After hearing the song on the radio, I facetimed Joey, asked him to belt it out, and my decision was made. We were in the studio the next week.
Joey sings “If you want me boy, let me know” rather than “girl”. Was the intention to remake “Tearin’ Up My Heart” as a gay anthem?
Jace M: Not really. While we were recording, Joey unintentionally sang “boy” instead of “girl”. We stopped, discussed, and decided that if we’re truly going to express ourselves authentically, we should record the track in the way that applies to us. We both happen to like men!
Still, what does it say about today’s dancefloor that Joey can sing “boy” instead of “girl”?
Jace M: It’s really cool that we live in a time where, in most cases, we artists can express ourselves without conforming to norms. Joey and I like guys so why not sing about guys! The original version of the song came out 25 years ago, but its message is still relatable. It touches on being love struck and wondering if the other person is feeling the same way. Most people, straight and gay, have been in the situation. What is great is that when we changed the lyric, we didn’t think twice about the playability of the song or worry if it might be banned by some floors. It didn’t even cross our minds. That says something.
Joey comes off a bit more forceful in the new version than JC and Justin did in theirs. Is that because the song is directed towards men?
Jace M: Joey is one of the most energetic people I’ve ever encountered. I think it is the channeling of that energy and the passion that he has for the song that makes his vocals sound a little more aggressive.
How did you choose the remixers?
Jace M: Each remixer was chosen based on their sound. We wanted a well-rounded remix package so that it could be played on a wide variety of dancefloors; from the chill South Beach Lounge, to a Tea Dance, Main Event or even After Hours. There’s also a tech house remix! Each remixer took our song and made it their own which proves that they are just as much artists on this record as we are.
Are you planning to remake any other 90s hits?
Jace M: We are definitely working on more 90s songs! I can’t tell you what yet, but I can give a hint. The next release will be a remake of a 1996 ballad; originally sung by a powerful black woman.
Joey Diamond and Jace M’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart is being distributed by Queen House Music and is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and all digital platforms.
By Ben Nelson