Winston A Young AKA MC K has been a pillar of the Hard House clubbing scene in London since its birth! In fact, if it wasn’t for Winston, it’s very likely the Hard House scene would not have grown to the grand heights it did. Winston was not only a pioneering and powerful promoter and an awesome and inspiring MC, he was also a loyal and encouraging friend. A good soul who supported artists and clubbers alike; he helped launch careers and also created a clubland family in London with his legendary Sunnyside Up and Mind Over Matter parties. On top of all this, he was most importantly, a father, a grandfather and a brother - a family man. Sadly Winston passed away in October 2018. The loss to our community is huge and on the 24th February 2019 at Camden Palace (aka KOKO), a memorial event is being held so we can come together again to commemorate Winston and to celebrate his life.
Below is Winston’s story as told by his sister Mya and his children
“Winston, aka MC K sadly passed away on the 9th October 2018. Winston was the original founder and pioneer of daytime partying and the morning breakfast afterparty; starting back in 1993. April 2019 will make it 25 years, and we celebrate his life and all the love he brought to us, at his memorial event Sunnyside Up & Mind Over Matter on Sunday February 24th 2019 at Camden Palace (KOKO), his absolute favourite clubland venue of all time. This event is very special because it was one of his final wishes, and it is also for his children, Samantha, Danielle, Rhys and Kyle, as all proceeds will go to them in honour of their dad. So we know MC K will be there in spirit, partying hard and sending big love, as he always did.
Winston's Mom Cynthia
Winston with daughter Danielle
Winston came from a family that was musically hearted, and he was always good at moving with music times. He knew what made people come together because he felt it in himself. He fell in love with hard-house because it continued to give him the drive and enthusiasm, and allowed him to reach people with his messages of spiritual inspiration.
Winston with his father Goosey, and Theresa - Samantha's Mom - Winston's ex wife - in the background
Winston with his brother Leeory
Winston was the second eldest of 7 - 6 brothers and 1 sister. Born in London, he lived on the Kings Road, Chelsea, and was the one who looked after his younger brothers whilst his Mom worked. There was a period when he lived in the children’s home in Cranleigh, Essex and he also time spent living in Jamaica. The time spent living in Jamaica cost him, and when he returned a few years later, he had difficulty with his reading and writing skills. It wasn’t until later in his adult life that he self-taught himself to read and write to a creditable standard. Because of this, he always made education and the opportunities it offers the centre of his children’s lives, as a reflection of his own, especially his boys Rhys & Kyle.
Winston with his children - Kyle, Rhys, Samantha & Danielle
Winston started promoting back in the day at a venue called Charlie Chaplin’s in Elephant & Castle and also at a venue in Brighton. Winston wanted to put his visions into action, with the belief that he could change the way people got together and interacted; by sharing a greater love of humanity for each other whilst they partied hard!
What started MC K’s pioneering enterprising spirit, was keeping a promise he made to God. At the time Winston was out of the UK, in prison; and was at a particularly low ebb in his life. He had plenty of time to think. Winston had a special conversation with God, where God directed him to ‘Do Good’. Winston made a promise that he would, and from there came the visions and not long after Sunnyside Up was born, with Mind Over Matter following shortly afterwards.
The revolution grew and grew, with Winston spreading the message: love, positivity, and to believe in yourself. He was helping to build families and friends that would last a lifetime, and he was helping people to see and realise their true potential.
“My first clubbing memory as his sister was supporting the daytime party creation of my entrepreneur brother, by going to venues and flyering. whilst the club was in full flow, to generate more people, and to help spread the word that daytime partying had come to earth and is here to stay. Winston had a vision of real gatherings of real people to integrate, and for us to recognise we all come from one source and we must spread that joy and unity through partying together.
MC K was a lover of God and spirituality, instilled in him from our beloved Mom. Winston kept this as a measurement of how he conducted what was important in clubland, and how to get that to the people in true party fashion.
One of the first club memories from his eldest daughter Samantha back then was of him smiling whilst setting things up at London Streatham Ice arena - dancing on one leg shaking what God gave him! As well as all his uplifting MC K mc-ing inspirational signature messages of ‘Live the Life you Love, Love the Life you Live!!!‘, ‘It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice’, ‘Open the door, the door is open’ with his opening greeting ‘Oi Oi Sunnysiders!!’
Winston with his daughter Samantha and his grandchildren
Winston’s daughter Danielle’s memory is of MC K prepping for Sunnyside Up in Ibiza, in the sun wearing his clown mask and clown outfit, pulling everyone together, building a community and making everyone happy. Danielle was doing the backdrops, and they were crazy happy times. He was always happy, with a sense of togetherness and leadership, and loved it when everyone hung out together and sat and ate.
His main personal achievement in clubland was owning Studio 33. It held a deep spiritual meaning of strength, and was the place where he would focus on expanding his clubland visions bringing it to the party people. It used to feel like the party went on all week, as if there were no Mondays to Fridays. There was just Friday to Sunday, and it was all happening in one party that only ended when the next one started!
There was a continual clubland buzz in London that you could feel everywhere, and everyone wanted a piece of the action it was so contagious. Lots of ventures in clubland were built out of the pioneering ideas of Winston, aka MC K.
What grew the most out of that club scene he created was community, a sense of belonging and a feeling that you were not alone in whatever you were going through and that meant so much to so many people. MC K truly stood by that vision and those dreams, and was able to continually integrate that in Sunnyside Up and Mind Over Matter.
The name “Sunnyside Up” was created as a reminder to wear your best side as it’s party time and time to leave your troubles behind. “Mind Over Matter” was about looking your troubles straight in the eye, knowing you could move them out of the way.
He loved to shower his children and grandchildren with love and affection; he was so very proud of his children, always instilling in them not to judge others on face value, to appreciate, and to love each individual wholeheartedly.
Winston with his beloved family
MC K always believed God had a plan, and he went off to continue that in 2014 in the Dominican Republic in the sun where he had always dreamt he would retire to one day, and continue to run Sunnyside Up from there. Retirement in the sun was something he had often spoken about, and when the opportunity came, in true MC K signature style, he continued to follow his heart’s calling.
We miss him dearly he has left a big hole in our lives, and we will continually pay homage to his message to “Live The Life You Love, Love The Life You Live” “OI OI” - Legend MC K.
Here follow some words and memories from those who knew him well…
Mumma Jo “The best memory I have is being on the balcony at Streatham Ice Arena. Winston had the brightest yellow coat on, the rink was packed from end to end, and at 12 o’clock they set off loads of paper confetti cannons. You’ve never seen anything like it!”
Wayne & Sarah Burgess “One of our fondest (and funniest) memories of Winston is back in about 2002, we were sat in Kanya’s having a beer, when Winston saw some guy, turns out he knew him and he owned a jet ski. The guy said we could borrow it so Winston and Michelle went first. As we watched them ride off into the sun, we saw them stop the middle of nowhere, about a mile out to sea and saw Winston and Michelle frantically waving her hands in the air, shouting Wayne! Wayne! We need help!! In her Brummie accent, love it!! We knew exactly what had happened, they had broken down, but we decided to pretend we couldn’t hear Michelle and waved back saying hello! After about 10 minutes of them stranded we decided we better get some help and got the owner of the jet ski to go out and rescue them. We haven’t stopped laughing since!! Love Wayne & Sarah xx”
Winston and Sarah
Joel B “I was a Sunnyside Up clubber and loved it. My dream of being a DJ was to play for SSUP, I dreamed of playing SW1 and Camden Palace! Winston made these dreams come true for me, it was then and still is now the best crowd to play for. We went on to do many amazing parties together and so many amazing memories. It’s very fitting to be doing this memorial at Camden Palace. Winston is someone I will never forget.”
Wayne and Joel B2B at the 2007 Sunnyside Up Reunion
Zeeteah Massiah “Winston - His spirit was like no other. Winston made you feel fabulous with his soothing voice and uplifting words. He was a true gem and I'm blessed to have known this beautiful man. I'll miss him dearly but he'll never be far from my thoughts. May he rest in sweet peace.”
Aaron Fevah “My memory of Winston was that he really was a genuine geeza - down to earth and always had a big smile on his face - a true gent !”
Emma Jayne Fournere “Winston gave me a place in this world, gave me an AMAZING tribe of a family. I value everything he taught me, I value all he showed and how he guided me and I'm glad he came into my life. He was an innovator and created so many great parties and gave us some of the best DJs. I am truly blessed to be part of it all. Winston I will always miss you. Thank you for giving us a community and the SSUP Vibe. X”
Emma and Winston
TonyK “I did Flashbak parties at one of his venues plus Sunnyside Up kept me out of trouble and gave me the passion for the music that I still have today x”
Matt HF “I first met Winston in the 90s, I remember one sunny day sitting in the outdoor chillout area under sails or a gazebo, with cushions for extra comfort. Winston’s attention to detail was legendary, always seeking the best experience for loyal regulars and new visitors alike. I took a break from clubbing soon afterwards, but when I returned in 2000, I wasn’t surprised to find he’d gone on to far bigger things; filling Camden Palace with happy smiling people, and then Studio 33. It was always a pleasure catching up with Winston, his vision of the music scene bringing people together was so in tune with those early days. RIPx”
Rob Tissera “My memories of Winston are that working with him was always a total pleasure. He was a true gentleman in every sense. He put his audience first and his choice of residents helped to make the event such a massive success for so many years. X”
Here’s a piece from Mumma Jo who worked with Winston for many years on the Sunnyside Up and Mind Over Matter parties
I discovered the London clubbing scene in the mid to late 90s when I was invited to Camden Palace for a friend’s birthday. What I saw when I walked into the main room that night proper blew me away! The music was pumping, massive inflatables hanging from the ceiling, brightly painted backdrops on the wall and hundreds of clubbers grinning from ear to ear! I knew straight away that being the person responsible for those smiles was who I wanted to be! I started going to the Chunnel Club every Saturday night for a party called Trinity, and after a while, I started a small merchandise stall selling anything I could find that glowed in the dark or was covered in UV.
The progression of the music was so important in those days and it quickly became apparent that I needed to be able to identify the DJs who were playing these beats! I started taking pictures, putting their name on a sticker in the corner of each one and began a DJ education on my kitchen wall!
Nearly every weekend someone would ask me if I was coming to Sunnyside Up, a party that was on every Sunday during the day. One day I decided to stay after Trinity and go and see what they were all on about. Nothing prepared me for the way I would feel, walking into Sunny’s that day. I knew instantly I was home, and that my life would never be the same. This was a place you could go to on your own, no matter your age, colour or sexual preference, and feel totally safe, dancing all day to music that wouldn’t let you off the floor, chatting nonsense to new friends when your feet could take no more, all held together by Mc K on the mic, whose classic words gave you the strength to face the worries of the week ahead!
Before long we were introduced and our friendship began. We instantly clicked and quickly developed a strong bond - I watched out for Winston and he watched out for me! When he found out about my stall at Trinity, he invited me to his home to talk about doing the same thing on a Sunday for him. While I was there, we inevitably got onto the subject of music. Sunny’s music was more on the trance tip back then, but a sound with harder faster cheeky beats was beginning to come into the scene, and was becoming really popular. I was hearing it quite regularly at Trinity, so when Winston asked in my opinion who were the DJs mastering this sound, I gave him a list of 10 names. He booked them all within a couple of weeks and luckily for me they didn’t let me down! Shortly after, he called me and asked “how do you fancy doing this on a regular basis?” I was gobsmacked, this was an opportunity I never expected and the chances of it happening again were very slim! So I took a big gulp and accepted straight away!
Flyers and mementos from Sunnyside Up and Mind Over Matter
Promoting a party back then, without the internet, and keeping it successful I quickly learned was hard work. Winston began to teach me every aspect of promoting, flyering every party every weekend was essential, in between we'd go and flyer the cars around Camden Palace and Ministry of Sound. Big posters were put up on all the major routes heading into London and flyers and tickets were taken to all the record shops, to Cyberdog and a lot of the clothes shops in Camden market. And every month we'd send The Sunny Times to our members list which was growing bigger day by day. Having a loyal crew was essential, Stewart T and Jamie Tennant became my left- and right-hand men. These two knew what I needed doing before I’d even opened my mouth, without them I'd never have pulled off the challenges Winston would throw at me! Our flyering crew were so loyal too, never letting me down - they were all there because Sunnyside Up was so important to them too. Our hard work paid off, Mind Over Matter became a monthly party at Camden Palace and the Sunny's family grew and grew!
I was so lucky, I got to work with some incredible people and made some amazing friends. And if I was given the chance, I’d do it all again! To Winston I say: thank-you for the opportunities you gave, the lessons you taught, the laughs that we had, and the many memories that I will always hold in my heart. R.I.P my friend, until we meet again. Mumma Jo xx
Live at Sunnyside Up ft Tony de Vit and MC K with SSU flyers through the years
Winston with some of the acts and DJs who graced the decks at Sunnyside Up and Mind Over Matter
Below are links to the event where we come together to celebrate Winston’s life on Sunday 24th February 2019 at KOKO (Camden Palace), London. We hope you’ll join us