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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Miist's Legendary Producer Narada Michael Walden


narada michael walden sits at his piano in tarpan studios in marin county california waiting for miist the singer to prepare for her recording session

Who is the legendary producer behind Miist's upcoming album - The Songs from the Living Room? His name is Narada Michael Walden and he has an impressive production and songwriting resume that has been assembled over the past fifty years and counting.


THE MAKING OF A LEGEND

Narada, as he is known in the industry, has earned equal acclaim as a recording and performing artist in his own right. Beginning as a drummer first with the pioneering Mahavishnu Orchestra following Bill Cobham (at 21 years old), he also toured with Jeff Beck, Tommy Bolin, and Weather Report. Through eleven acclaimed solo recordings, along the way he has branched into a wide range of sonic arenas. Walden’s music includes groundbreaking soundtrack work on such blockbuster films as The Bodyguard, Free Willy, Beverly Hills Cops II, 9 ½ Weeks and Stuart Little, to the Emmy Award-winning “One Moment In Time,” the theme to the 1988 Olympic Games.

narada michael walden, grammy award, legendary producer, motown, miist the singer

The list goes on, but the artistry of Narada is about more than charts positions and record sales. There is a powerful spiritual component at the heart of everything this richly gifted artist undertakes. He incorporates an attuned and intuitive approach with a deep appreciation for music’s transforming power. Simply put, the artistry of Narada gets to the heart of the matter, about matters of the heart.


NARADA X MIIST THE SINGER

Narada has expressed that Miist is one of the rarest gems in the industry, a singer and songwriter "who is truly a beautiful soul who lights up the world around her." Add to that the versatility of smoothly transitioning between genres when composing and performing, singing and recording in English and Mandarin for international audience appeal, and having a level of elegance and decorum rare in today's modern music, Miist is a force to be reckoned with.

narada michael walden in tarpan studios with miist the singer in marin county california

To date, Miist has written 45 songs, including eight with Narada as co-writer. Based on American radio play, an executive has assured Miist that she should anticipate her first Gold Record in January 2024 for singles released a few months ago in October 2023.


Tarpan Studios has committed to submit her for a 2025 Grammy nomination.

The volume of her songwriting paired with Narada's trademark foot-thumping rhythms—found in his 57 #1 Hits—make a potent mix pushing Miist's songs through the radio waves and beyond on the world's streaming platforms.

narada michael walden, miist the singer, jim reitzel in tarpan studios recording new album the songs from the living room
TARPAN STUDIOS

Called the Motown of Marin, some of the greatest acts in recent history have been recorded here.


Built in 1980 by Allen Rice, Mike Stevens, and Robin Yeager. Originally called Tres Virgos Studios, it was designed with excessive attention to detail, including a floated control room and “screw and glue” construction (no nails used). The studio's construction progress was featured monthly in Mix Magazine and recieved the cover upon its completion. At the time, the control room design was revolutionary; artists from all over the world flew in to hear the room, including Stevie Wonder,


In 1985, Narada bought the studio and has made it his home base for the last 25 years, producing and recording world-class Artists and Musicians like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Elton John, Rick James, Curtis Mayfield, Sting, George Michael, and many more. The Legacy continues today with guest recording artists like Carlos Santana booking time and Narada hard at work producing new material.


In 2013, Narada established his own Independent label, Tarpan Records and released two new solo projects, Thunder 2013 and Rising Sun. In Addition to his own projects, Narada is actively signing and releasing up-and-coming international artists.

narada michael walden in tarpan studios between takes with artist miist the singer in marin county california
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH NARADA

When you work with a new artist like Miist, how do you approach the creative process?


I approach the creative process by looking into Miist’s eyes, trying to see her soul, feel her soul, listen to her melody, listen to what she really wants to convey to the world, and how I can help her. This is also my spirit to combine with her spirit what will reach the farthest corners of the world, the most ears, the most hearts in the world. This is what I want for Miist. How I can put my energy with Miist to then achieve the most success, the most progress, the most hearts to be touched by her music. This is my job and what I am trying to achieve on my highest level.


What is it about her character that made it easy to work with a talent like Miist?


Miist is really special in that she prepares beautifully for the sessions. She will learn her music, note for note, what she wants to record. Of course, we can always, be spontaneous when we want to make the actual recordings. The fact that she comes prepared reminds me of Aretha [Franklin]. Aretha was really professional, so much that there wasn’t even a lyric on the music stand – it was all memorized – what she wanted to give. Miist is the same kind of feeling. Everything she knows, everything is prepared, so we can just have fun with recording it, trying a few things that we want to do, and what she knows in her heart. This is what I am most appreciative about Miist.


When you are with Miist at Tarpan Studios, what goes through your mind?


My thoughts are how to best capture the music. This is my job. Like when you light a candle you focus on lighting the candle. When you work with Miist, you focus on getting the best of Miist. It really is concentration, to really get the best of her and what is the best of her? The best of her is whatever she is singing about, she is really able to dive into that world. If it is ‘happiness’ then be the ‘happiest,’ if it is ‘sadness’ then be the ‘saddest.’ Don’t be afraid to cry in the mic. Don’t be afraid to wipe your tear on the mic. Whatever the emotion is, don’t be afraid to give your very very highest and your very very best – for all time’s sake so that 100 years from now, 200 years from now, 300 years from now, they will feel what you are feeling. This is my job.


What did you hear in Miist's songwriting that gave you a sense of excitement?


Miist has in her songwriting a kind of classic approach which I appreciate. In Miist’s keeps a lot of classic chord changes, melody, and not having to be too limited, so I like that we can kind of stretch out and use the colours of our palettes in Miist’s music. Not saying that we can’t be super current because we are but we can also do beautiful things that we don’t often hear or feel. She is not afraid to expose her vulnerability and innocence in her music. We use the word ‘purity’ as she is not afraid to use the things that we spoke about and sing about in the 1960s, for example. This is what is beautiful about Miist’s music.


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