The Wake Up Call: New Compositional Ambient Album From Starita Featuring Christian Scott aTunde Adhuah, Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, Trent Park and Pratika Gopinath Set For July 30th release Via Be Still Records
“Ambient Electronic Artist & Songwriter Offers Cinematic Soundtrack That Taps Into Introspection and Awareness”
‘One of electronic music’s rising stars just so happens to be a Southern boy at heart. Mississippian Starita has wowed international crowds with his innate knack for blending acoustic instruments into an electronic song, which he argues is indicative of his roots.’ – PopMatters
‘The Hip Hop/Tech House hybrid bursts with a sharp uniqueness, simultaneously delivering plenty of heart and soul.’ – Kyle Eustice, HipHopDX
‘…a sure standout…that showcases Starita’s unique and open-minded approach to collaboration…is truly a collaboration between artists who managed to tap into the same musical wavelength and make something special.’ – Glide Magazine
About Starita ‘The Wake Up Call’ // Album:
From his collaborations with members of A Tribe Called Quest to Los Amigos Invisibles and Michael Franti and Spearhead, Mississippi born San Francisco Bay Area multi-talented artist, producer and songwriter, Starita, has astounded worldwide audiences with his unique blending of electronic and acoustic instrumentations (drawn from his deep roots in dance, ambient, funk, rock, and techno music). The lush yet complex signature soundscape showcased within various artist collaborations have consistently produced jaw dropping, original out-of-the-box productions that dare to defy odds, break the ‘rules’ of music genres, raise vibrations, while offering a note of spiritual introspection.
Once again, Starita steps outside the bounds of musical artistry with the release of his first avante-garde, ambient album, ‘The Wake Up Call’ on July 30th, 2021. In some of the most difficult times in our country’s history, this body of work draws together a diverse group of top musical talents across different genres and geographies to create distinctive art through adversity. This body of work expresses the journey of introspection across the various stages of the human experience (from openness and curiosity in childhood to pain, closure, resistance, and darkness in adulthood), leading to awareness, acceptance, and awakening in the search for peace and freedom. “Everything about this album elicits the awakening to our true nature and listening to ‘the Spirit,’” says Starita. The seven song collection showcases an intentionally open longer format that allows listeners time to drop in, access, connect, and flow with whatever emotions and memories that may surface throughout the sound journey.
“In the process of creating this album, it became clear that the collaborators and I were tapping into a stream of consciousness that was directing the flow and creation of the art. The basic premise agreed upon for the album was to allow each song and its elements to flow together naturally with no force from the mind; letting the heart lead. As a result, the songs on the album, in a sense, wrote themselves,” Starita added. “Each song provided an opportunity for us to express some sort of emotion or internal story that needed to be let go of….a catharsis of sorts. The album is actually one long piece of music with each track serving as individual chapters that flow together to tell a story. The story mirrors my own life’s evolution and experiences.’
Rolling Stone India premiered the opening track on the album, ‘Changing,’ featuring a transnational virtual collaboration with Pratika Gopinath, lead vocalist of the group, Easy Wanderlings of Chennai, South India, and Robin Applewood, guitarist and musical renaissance man, San Francisco Bay Area, US. ‘Changing’ eases the listener into the start of the album due to the reflective nature of the message. “The music seeked to capture the essence of openness and curiosity as reflective of a child experiencing the material world for the first time and all the changes that accompany this journey of mental growth. As the child becomes conditioned by the external world, they slowly begin to move away from who they truly are…a spiritual being having a human experience. This is a theme that has always fascinated me as I reflect upon my own personal journey of change and all that comes with it,” Starita shares. While this neo-classical and ambient soundscape direction differs from his previous releases, Starita’s signature sound blending resonates clearly on this track and album, as he masterfully combines acoustic and electronic elements using analog synths and sound design.
‘Love & Pain’ is second in the line up of tracks featured on this album. Previously premiered by Northern Transmissions, this song spotlights the talented collaboration of the soulful singer/songwriter Trent Park, Los Angeles, CA, and American musician and guitarist Michael Hays, Austin, TX. “This is a downtempo, groove oriented, and vibey tune that catapults off of its placement in the sequence of the album. The message behind the song speaks to the paradoxical pairing of LOVE and PAIN. While love is highly sought after and carries with it all the emotions of bliss and euphoria, in contrast, pain is avoided at all costs but comes along as a package deal. These two strong emotions – finding love and the cessation of pain – drive our human existence,” Starita reflects.
“…‘Love & Pain,’ with it’s lush vocals and smooth beats, transcend you to a better place.” – Northern Transmissions
The development of the album transcends into sadness and complex heavy emotions portrayed by ‘The Dream,’ the third single featuring acclaimed trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and soulful singer/songwriter Trent Park, both from Los Angeles, CA, premiered by Glide Magazine. Starita created a dramatic, neoclassical, compositional ambient, cinematic sound design (a blending of acoustic with electronic elements and instrumentation with analog synths) on this track that holds the expansive range of emotions – from intense devastation to hopeful – artfully. “This song digs down and stirs up deep rooted emotions in the body to be purged and cleansed from the consciousness. The sound design, structure and production was designed to capture that purification. With the explosive journey that we all experience as humans – individually and collectively – this purification outlet is necessary and needed. Using sound art to provide that access point is a tool that I tap into and hope that listeners can benefit from as well. While considered the most emotionally charged song on the album, it is also very relatable. The vocal melody and chord progression quite naturally reflects the visceral quality of the human emotional experience. This very special feature from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s trumpet solo adds a unique layer of emotional intimacy to the song,” Starita remarks.
“I wanted to use this time, during the pandemic, while the world was ‘resting’ and ‘reflecting,’ to explore musically. Starita’s genre-blending style of music, combining electronic and live instrumentation intrigued me. Listening to Starita’s initial interpretation of ‘The Dream’ piqued my interest and I was drawn to creating a trumpet piece to go with it. As a conceptualist and producer, I share Starita’s vision of ‘letting go, not thinking, and letting it flow.’ With that, I listened intently and created a sound that was very specific for this track. It is so interesting and rewarding to witness what we have created together. It is my mission to unify people via their musical and cultural voices by tearing down the sonic and social constructs that separate them. To me the idea of ‘genre’ is the same. It’s just an extension of that type of self-segregating and kind of linear thinking. Similarly for this collaboration or my work with Stretch Music, my stance is the same, in order to stretch music, you have to be able to stretch yourself,” declares Scott.
‘Habitual Ritual’ is an interlude that follows in the line up. “This song encapsulates the extreme desire to escape and the neurosis that accompanies it. As human beings, many of us can relate to the common path of escapism and avoidance of the present moment whether that be through relationships, substances, career, money and so on… It becomes a habitual ritual and is what society calls ‘addiction.’ It’s usually only called ‘addiction’ when it is not a commonly accepted behavior by society. In reality, everyone is addicted to the mind and ego, which is ironically the very thing we are all trying to escape. I find this paradox and irony to be so interesting,” Starita shares.
“As we start to realize that all of the avenues of escapism are just cycles of distraction providing only temporary relief from the mind, we begin the search for a lasting answer….for peace, freedom and liberation from the mental anguish of being caught in our ego structure. ‘The Search’ is the following song that speaks to this quest but also pays homage to all of the mistakes made while trying to escape. When we are in a cycle of escapism, we tend to unknowingly hurt ourselves and others. To move past this, we must acknowledge and accept it or it just becomes another tool of the ego to torture us. The past, regret, shame and guilt, these are all a part of the spiritual path. As my music is an extension of my spiritual practice, I use it as a tool to explore these various narratives and themes,” Starita says. ‘The Search,’ features Seán Johnson, vocalist/lyricist/harmonium player of the mantra centric band, Seán Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band, based in New Orleans, LA. A crucial component of Starita’s vision for this song included hearing some “intense devotional prostration.” This led to his collaboration and integration of Seán Johnson’s vocal delivery of the sacred mantras, which particularly made this song very different from others on the album. In sound speak, this is a journey through electronic pulsating beats evolving into a peaceful meditative lush wash of sound.
“‘Thoughts’ is a heightened, tense and somewhat complex piece of music which continues the story of the next stage in the spiritual journey, which can at times feel confusing,” Starita continues. “Ironically, a common pitfall of spirituality in and of itself is the search for freedom and liberation, which in turn becomes a neurosis of its own and another tool of the ego. We become addicted to spirituality and all its esoteric practices which is just another form of escapism dressed up as the ‘spiritual seeker.’ We become obsessed looking everywhere for what is right in front of us. In the process, the mind seems to get even stronger until finally we become exhausted with the search. Once we have hit the proverbial bottom of trying to be free (if we are lucky), then comes ‘The Wake Up Call.’”
Rounding out the album is the emotional title track and genesis of the project, ‘The Wake Up Call,’ featuring singer/songwriter Trent Park, Los Angeles, CA, and Robin Applewood, guitarist, San Francisco Bay Area, CA. “This project began in April 2020 (early on in the shutdown),” Starita says. “We never really know why something is happening and many times things can seem like an obstacle when it may be a path to an opportunity. I saw the pandemic and the world events that were culminating as a rare opportunity for humanity to wake up. When in human history has the entire world been forced into retreat with no choice but to go inside themselves with brutal honesty to wake up to the habitual patterns, toxic conditioning, and actions that have brought us to the breaking point we are at today? Even in the freestyle lyrics that Trent Park organically captured, ‘What is man to do?’ captures the sentiment of being forced to be alone during this time and facing all the feelings that come with it. Perhaps in solitude, aside from despair, loneliness, darkness, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, there is also optimism, brightness, hopefulness, and beauty.”
“After listening to this sound journey, I hope that the listeners felt cleansed, had a moment that they needed, and perhaps let go of some emotional pain,” Park closes.
Starita’s ‘The Wake Up Call’ LP is available across all digital service providers on Friday, July 30, 2021.
Starita has shared a new visualizer for “Love & Pain” Featuring Singer/Songwriter Trent Park and Guitarist Michael Hays. The track will be released Via Be Still Records. The multi-artist is Known for collaborations with Childish Gambino, A Tribe Called Quest, and many others, his music blends electronic elements with live instrumentation that stems from his deep roots in dance, ambient, and classical music. “Love & Pain,” with it’s lush vocals and smooth beats, transcend you to a better place.
“Love & Pain,” features singer/songwriter Trent Park and American musician and guitarist Michael Hays, is the fifth single release from Starita’s new compositional ambient, avant-garde, experimental album, The Wake Up Call, described as “a body of work that expresses his journey of introspection across the various stages of the human experience (from openness and curiosity in childhood to pain, closure, resistance, and darkness in adulthood), leading to awareness, acceptance, and awakening on the search for peace and freedom.” “Everything about this album elicits the awakening to our true nature and listening to ‘the Spirit,’” says Starita.
The Chennai-based singer was recruited by the San Francisco-based composer, who also has guitarist Robin Applewood on the track from ‘The Wake Up Call’
American artists Robin Applewood, Starita and Chennai-based Pratika Gopinath (from left) collaborate on “Changing.” Photos: Tam Starita, Nikita Borges
After a few years of establishing herself as the soulful voice in Pune alternative act Easy Wanderlings, vocalist Pratika Gopinath takes a step into solo material with a transnational collaboration called “Changing,” for San Francisco-based electronic/ambient/new age producer Michael Starita. The calming song, part of Starita’s upcoming album The Wake Up Call, also features fellow San Francisco guitarist and artist Robin Applewood.
For Gopinath, “Changing” comes as a breakthrough in terms of finally putting out solo material. She admits that there’s often too much pressure in the music industry and a struggle to be expressive, but she didn’t want to let go of this opportunity.
Starita — who has previously worked with hip-hop artist Childish Gambino as well as Indo-American producer-drummer and singer Madame Gandhi — says he chanced upon Gopinath’s work via Rolling Stone India. “I was blown away by the purity, soulfulness, ease, and spirit of her voice. Nothing about the collaboration and making of this track was planned. This container allowed us to effortlessly unleash the uniqueness and qualities that are within each of us as distinctive artists… to create music that is pure, interesting, and honest,” Starita says.
US-BASED GENRE-BLENDING MUSIC ARTIST, STARITA REACHES ACROSS BORDERS ON A VIRTUAL COLLABORATION WITH INDIAN INDIE ARTIST PRATIKA GOPINATH OF EASY WANDERLINGS AND MUSIC RENAISSANCE MAN, ROBIN APPLEWOOD; RELEASING THE FIRST SINGLE ENTITLED “CHANGING” OF NEW AGE ALBUM ON NOVEMBER 18TH, 2020 …
Photography/Cover Art Direction Credit: Tam Starita
‘One of electronic music’s rising stars just so happens to be a Southern boy at heart. Mississippian Starita has wowed international crowds with his innate knack for blending acoustic instruments into an electronic song, which he argues is indicative of his roots.’– PopMatters
“Changing” is the first single release from Starita’s new avant-garde, ambient, new age album, “The Wake Up Call”; a body of work that expresses his journey of introspection across the various stages of the human experience (from openness and curiosity in childhood to pain, closure, resistance, and darkness in adulthood), leading to awareness, acceptance, and awakening on the search for peace and freedom. Due to the reflective nature of the message, “Changing” is the most open and approachable song on the album. While this neo-classical and ambient soundscape direction differs from his previous releases, Starita’s signature sound blending resonates clearly on this track and album, as he masterfully combines acoustic and electronic elements using analog synths and sound design. This is also a well-matched global virtual collaboration between US and India artists; featuring the soulful and jazzy vocals of Pratika Gopinath, lead vocalist of the group, Easy Wanderlings of Chennai, South India, guitarist and musical renaissance man, Robin Applewood, of the San Francisco Bay Area, US, and genre-blending artist, Starita, also residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, US.
“The basic premise agreed upon by all of the collaborators for this track and album was to allow the song and its elements to flow together naturally with no force from the mind; letting the heart lead. As a result the song, in a sense, wrote itself,” says Starita. “It started with Robin Applewood who channeled the guitar part masterfully; played on an old classical guitar that was left to him by a close deceased friend. Since it has the original strings that came with the guitar, there was an inherited energy, meaning, and vibe to the sound, even though most would say that the strings are dead or need to be changed.” Starita expanded. “I wanted the guitar piece to create a pillowy bed of clouds with layers of arpeggios that could be expanded upon,” Applewood added. “From this, I built electronic elements around the guitar piece, leading to the theme of the song. As this all evolved from a natural flow state, I invited Pratika Gopinath to collaborate as the vocalist after hearing her performance with Easy Wanderlings through Rolling Stone India. I was blown away by the purity, soulfulness, ease, and spirit of her voice. Nothing about the collaboration and making of this track was planned. This container allowed us to effortlessly unleash the uniqueness and qualities that are within each of us as distinctive artists… to create music that is pure, interesting, and honest.” Starita concluded.
“After listening to the opening track on this album, I want the listener to close their eyes and sink into the song. Instead of thinking about their opinions of it, I want them to feel the song, take note of where the song takes them, and be in the moment. Music is powerful in that it offers us the opportunity to feel instead of think, yet we often don’t allow ourselves to do so. As this track is called ‘Changing,’ and is about the journey of new beginnings, it’s the perfect opportunity to try something NEW.” says Gopinath.
Starita’s “Changing” is available across all digital service providers on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.
Starita, is a Mississippi born, 2-time GRAMMY®/Latin Grammy recognized multi-talented producer, songwriter, and artist whose work spans a multitude of genres. His work and unexpected collaborations with Childish Gambino, A Tribe Called Quest, Madame Gandhi, Rebelution, Los Amigos Invisibles, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and many others, offer a unique genre blending style incorporating electronic elements blended with live instrumentation that stems from his deep roots in electronic, ambient, classical, and new age music. Fans are often pleasantly surprised by the unexpected outcome; an out-of-the box production resulting in a lush yet complex soundscape.
Singer-songwriter, Julian Roy, known for his modern R&B/Neo-Soul sound, joins GRAMMY® /Latin Grammy recognized producer-artist Starita, marked for his unique genre-blending production style, to deliver a distinctive Lo-Fi Pop/Alternative/Electronic introspective collaboration. From vocals to production, Roy and Starita worked to create a free floating lush soundscape, intertwining melodies with counter melodies that played well off each other. “While the lyrics are left intentionally vague, there is a touch of sadness to this song. We wanted to mimic that emotional roller coaster through sound; capturing a personal journey of ups and downs, when there’s nowhere else to go, our only choice is inward,” says Starita.
“The song is about choosing where to place our love and more specifically relying on ourselves for that love. I’ve noticed in my own life I’ve been dependent on other people for love, instead of searching inward. I have done that introspective work. But until I stepped away from some really loving situations did I look in the mirror and realized I needed to dig deeper into myself, and ‘SAVE ME,’ says Julian Roy.
Unlike Starita’s prior collaborations showcasing harder, more explosive vocals, Starita put the spotlight on Julian Roy’s laid back vocals to draw the listener in. From production to delivery, this track carries the dynamic soundscape that fans have come to expect from Starita. Even though this is an electronic track, there’s a lot of focus on songwriting. This track, while huge in soundscape, is counterbalanced by Julian Roy’s mellow vocals and anchored with Hip Hop beats, Reggae bridge, and Dub elements.
Recognized for Starita’s diverse collaborations with lead vocal powerhouses, this is the sixth track released as an artist following “Rules” featuring Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest and vocalist Trent Park, “Lights On” showcasing American singer/songwriter, Trevor Hall, ‘The One’ in collaboration with R&B singer/songwriter Trent Park, “HUMAN” with the explosive vocalist/MC RyanNicole, and “Too Strong,’ headlining bi-lingual singer-rapper-songwriter of LatinX group BANG DATA and Zion I Crew, which premiered via Billboard, Yahoo! Music, Magnetic Magazine, Pop Matters, and HipHopDX, respectively.
HIPHOPDX PREMIERE – Explosive bi-lingual MC Deuce Eclipse (Zion I, Bang Data) has joined forces with Grammy Award-winning producer Starita for a new single called “Too Strong.” The track effortlessly brings two cultures together and allows Deuce to flex his bi-lingual prowess.
“I’ve always been a bi-lingual rapper,” Deuce tells HipHopDX. “My music is about non-exclusivity. It’s for everybody. It’s music without borders. It’s a universal worldwide sound in the way that it combines the cultures that I’ve experienced — Nicaraguan, first generation American, Californian, Hip Hop rapper, bi-lingual artist — and the message that comes through me.
“What’s resonant with me right now is going back to my Spanish roots and connecting with other parts of my community beyond Hip Hop — Spanish speakers, immigrants or just others that may not speak English in general. I want my music to be the voice for everyone in terms of what I do musically.”
Deuce adds, “‘Too Strong’ is about strength and positivity, in a way. In another way, it’s putting out there how we live around the system and survive in this country by uniting and coming together; being strong in our beliefs.
“As I look at my environment and the separation of families and what’s going on in the world, I work to balance the negativity that’s placed us and remind myself not to give up on humanity…at the end of the day, we are all good at heart.”
Deuce and Starita’s collaborative relationship stretches back years. In fact, Starita engineered Bang Data’s La Sopa album in 2012. Their chemistry continues with “Too Strong.”
“When the opportunity came up for ‘Too Strong,’ it just felt right to make this a bi-lingual track,” Starita explains. “Deuce’s ability to blend Spanish and English in lyrics is masterful. And considering that I love pushing the boundaries of genre-bending, collaborating with Deuce and making music that resonate across cultures is a natural progression.”
Both artists want fans of the track to feel good after hearing the song. It’s all about creating a mood.
“When fans listen to ‘Too Strong,’ I’d like them to feel that this music is timeless,” Deuce concludes. “I always like to create something that feels good but puts you in the mood. Making music is about the whole, not its parts. It’s not necessarily about the lyrics. It’s everything as one thing. It’s not just the voice.
“The voice is just one instrument. People forget that. I want people to realize that music is a vibration. It gets in where it fits in. There’s so many different vibrations in the world and this is just one of them.”
“Too Strong” serves as Starita’s fifth track as a solo artist, following “Rules” featuring A Tribe Called Quest’s Jarobi and vocalist Trent Park, “Lights On” with singer-songwriter, Trevor Hall, “The One” with R&B singer/songwriter Trent Park and “HUMAN” featuring Oakland-based MC RyanNicole.