Formed in 1986, the trio was led by vocalist Lady Miss Kier (born Kier Kirby in Youngstown, Ohio) and fleshed out by a pair of DJs, Super DJ Dmitry (a classically-trained guitarist and Russian emigre born Dmitry Brill) and Jungle DJ Towa Towa (born Chung Dong-hwa in Yokohama, Japan). Fusing house, techno, rap, ambient and funk music with an outrageous visual flair largely influenced by the Lower East Side's drag-queen community (Kier's fondness for Fluevog platform shoes helped the 1970s fashion revival gather steam), Deee-Lite became hugely popular among New York club denizens, and the trio's own unique cultural make-up earned them a following which ignored racial and sexual boundaries.
In 1990, they debuted with the album World Clique, a crossover smash thanks to hits like the looping classic Groove Is In The Heart (featuring the fluid bass guitar sampled from a Herbie Hancock song, vocals by Bootsy Collins, and a rap by a young Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest) and Power Of Love (the latter of which hit #35 in the Top 40 Billboard). With Bootsy Collins as musical director on the road, the band toured (without Towa) for two sellout world tours in 1991 opening for the likes of Grace Jones, Prince, Kid Creole And The Coconuts, and Parliament Funkadelic.
With their 1992 follow-up, Infinity Within, Deee-Lite's music turned openly political, with songs about the environment, safe sex and democracy. Lady Miss Kier won the Environmental Media award by the WWF in 1992 and spoke at Princeton University and Cooper Union in 1993.
Kier and Dmitry enlisted DJ Ani (previously know as, On-E) for 1994's Dewdrops In The Garden, a sensual outing influenced by the growing rave culture. After recording the album, the band did one final world tour. With minimal record label support, Deee-Lite still managed to have a sellout world tour—consequently, "Dewdrops in the Garden" sold more records than "Infinity Within". 1996 saw a release of a remix compilation, Sampladelic Relics & Dancefloor Oddities.