Kelli Hand—who DJ’d and produced under the name K-Hand—passed away on August 3, 2021 as confirmed by her agent. The techno legend who was known as “The First Lady of Detroit” was 56 years old. There is no cause of death at this time.
Across a career of over 30 years, Hand was instrumental in bringing the Detroit sound to a wider audience. She was also one of the first female artists to break into the heavily male-dominated scene. As a result of this considerable feat, the Detroit city council honored Hand with a Testimonial Resolution certificate. The certificate noted her “many accomplishments in the male-dominated industry of electronic music”.
Born and raised in Detroit, Hand came up along other Detroit legends like Robert Hood and spent a lot of time traveling to other dance meccas like New York’s Paradise Garage and Chicago’s Muzic Box, immersing herself in the then nascent genre of dance music.
Hand launched her first label in 1990. It was originally called UK House Records before she changed it to Acacia Records. The latter name was borrowed from a street in Detroit. In that same year, Hand released Think About It, her debut EP under the K-Hand moniker.
From there, Hand had a very impressive release output. From her six studio albums to her EP’s on notable imprints like UK’s Warp Records and Nina Kraviz‘s трип, she continued sharing music all the way up until last year on top of spinning DJ sets all around the world.