Kevin Maurice Saunderson (born September 5, 1964) is an American electronic music producer. At the age of nine he moved to Belleville, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit where he attended Belleville High School and befriended two students, Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Saunderson, with Atkins and May (often called the “Belleville Three”), is considered to be one of the originators of techno, specifically Detroit techno. He is married to Sharmeela Lamarsha Saunderson.
Although frequently associated with Detroit, Kevin Saunderson spent the early years of his life in Brooklyn, New York, before moving to Belleville, Michigan, a rural town some 30 miles from Detroit. Saunderson first met future Techno pioneer Derrick May when the two were fourteen. May had decided not to pay Saunderson after losing a bet and, one day at school, Saunderson punched May in the face, knocking him out cold and giving him a concussion. After the altercation, the two became best friends.
During high school, Saunderson and Belleville High School classmate Juan Atkins were fans of DJ Charles “The Electrifying Mojo” Johnson. Atkins and May soon became serious about mixing others’ music and creating their own, but Saunderson pursued other goals first, studying telecommunications and playing American football at Eastern Michigan University. Atkins had begun recording with Cybotron in 1981, but it was not until 1987 that May followed suit and made a record. Initially concentrating on becoming a DJ, Saunderson was inspired to create his own music after watching the six-month-long process as Atkins and May completed “Let’s Go.”