Born on the south side of Chicago, Saunders collected records from an early age and got into DJing during high school, through his brother.
The duo played at high schools all over the area, and Saunders made pause-button megamixes using funk and disco records. After he was introduced to the DJing of Frankie Knuckles at the Warehouse, Saunders began playing more disco-oriented music and, though he spent a year studying at the University of Southern California, he returned in the summer of 1981.
Drawing bigger and bigger crowds to his events, he eventually began playing at a large venue called the Playground.
When one of his bootleg megamixes was stolen from his crate, Saunders decided to re-create the record with a drum machine and synthesizers he owned.
The result was a track called “Fantasy,” and after the members of a local electro group named Z Factor heard the song, they convinced Saunders to join their group. The single was released in 1983 on Mitchbal Records, owned by the father of one bandmember.