Premiere: VICE/Noisey ‘The Wake Up Re-Call’

Pioneering Hip-Hop Producer Starita Is on Sacred Ground

Starita stands in a recording studio, photographed in black and white.
Watch the new music video for Starita and Otis McDonald’s “The Wake Up Re-Call” featuring Illa J, Zay Bcuz, and NicX.

Sitting behind the glass at Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Starita is honored to be recording in a city he believes is a sacred ground for music. According to legend, the Tennessee River, which flows through Alabama, was referred to as “the singing river” by the Yuchie Tribe because they claimed that the breeze whistling off the water sounded like a woman singing. “That’s the philosophy behind why this is such a musical town: There’s a spirit in this place, something you can’t put words to,” Starita told Noisey while discussing new song, “The Wake Up Re-Call.”

The Mississippi-born multi-talented artist and songwriter’s discography demonstrates his experience and flexibility in crafting songs, with collaborators ranging from Childish Gambino and A Tribe Called Quest to Christian Scott, aTunde Adjuah, Madame Gandhi, and Los Amigos Invisibles. As an artist, a producer, and an engineer, Starita has played many different roles on both sides of the glass on dozens of records.

Tracing “The Wake Up Re-Call” back to its beginnings, Starita said that DJ Rasta Root—the late rapper Phife Dawg’s longtime manager—was instrumental in its creation. “I was working on Tribe Called Quest’s most recent album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, and then Phife and I started working on his solo album,” Starita said. Phife Dawg passed away two days after wrapping up work on the album track “Dis Generation” in 2016. “I recorded his last record,” Starita said. “So that turned into a deeper relationship with the Tribe Called Quest family.”

“The Wake Up Re-Call” first took the form of a slow and solitary instrumental from Starita and Trent Park released in 2021, fittingly titled “The Wake Up Call.” The track was transformed by Starita’s friend and collaborator, Otis McDonald, earlier this year. McDonald, a producer and multi-instrumentalist, recharged the record by infusing swing and breaks, making it into a soulful hip-hop instrumental track. The recording then went to Rasta Root, who invited a trio of rappers to the studio to add verses: Zay BcuzNicX, and Illa J, the Detroit singer, producer, rapper and younger brother of J Dilla.

“It is unbelievable what Otis did with the record,” Starita said. “I never could have imagined it would evolve into this.”

But Starita added that he doesn’t refer to the new recording as a remix because he said the process “turned into something so collaborative and different.” The verses each contribute specific angles and meaningful prose from the featured rappers, who flowed effortlessly over McDonald’s warm and soulful approach. Illa J sets the tone insightfully with the first verse, Zay Bcuz brings his focus and flexibility to the second verse, and the tight dexterity of NicX elevates the track’s final verse.

The collaboration for “The Wake Up Re-Call” grew from seeds planted over the last decade, which took root in the same recording sessions that immortalized Phife Dawg’s final lyrics. The music video, fittingly, came to life in a packed club in Atlanta at a listening party for Phife Dawg’s posthumous solo album, Forever, released in March. Rasta Root granted permission for the artists to film “The Wake Up Re-Call” music video at the LP’s listening party. It was a fitting tribute to the cycle of hip hop: It doesn’t die; it’s continually reborn.

Today, after decades of collaboration and history across a wide spectrum of sound, Starita said he is focused on maintaining a beginner’s mindset. “If you think you know how something is supposed to be, you can’t explore and drop the mind,” he said. The words he found to describe his philosophy to music were rooted in spirituality. “Curiosity and consciousness power art,” he added. “Art is constantly trying to mimic reality. Being curious begins this entire exploration. The inquisitive nature to question and the nature to make art are linked. You can’t separate art and consciousness, that’s where it comes from.”


Premiere: Northern Transmissions ‘Love & Pain’ feat Trent Park, Michael Hays

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.

Read the full premiere here…

Premiere: Glide Magazine ‘The Dream’

GLIDE MAGAZINE PREMIERE: Starita ‘The Dream’ feat Christian Scott, Trent Park

From his collaborations with members of A Tribe Called Quest to Los Amigos Invisibles and Michael Franti and Spearhead, multi-talented artist and songwriter Starita has astounded worldwide audiences with his unique mix of electronic and acoustic instrumentations (drawn from his deep roots in dance, ambient, funk, rock, and techno music).

Read the full premiere here…

The Dream” is truly a collaboration between artists who managed to tap into the same musical wavelength and make something special.” 

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, rise vibrations, while offering a note of spiritual introspection.

“The Dream,” featuring acclaimed trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and soulful singer/songwriter Trent Park, is the fourth single release from Starita’s new compositional ambient, avant-garde, experimental album, The Wake Up Call, due out August 13th. The EP contains 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 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.

Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the video for “The Dream,” a sure standout on the upcoming EP that showcases Starita’s unique and open-minded approach to collaboration. With delicate instrumentation that is enhanced by fitting visuals of serene settings, the song is a soothing journey into the idea of purification. There is an element of orchestral pop that is elevated through the enchanting jazz trumpet of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who lets his instrument float beautifully over the sonic landscape. Trent Park’s vocals add a level of emotional power to the song, slowly building alongside the music to reach a cathartic release. “The Dream” is truly a collaboration between artists who managed to tap into the same musical wavelength and make something special. 

“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. To be able to use 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,” Starita remarks.

Drawing inspiration and guidance from ‘Spirit’ along with the textural and emotional range of his influences, Olafur Arnaulds and Nils Frahm’s bodies of work, 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 very special feature from Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s trumpet solo adds a unique layer of emotional intimacy to the song. Trent Park also dropped right into the spirit of this track; eloquently channeled this painful melody and conveyed the intensity of the song beautifully through his recognizably rich and soulful vocal interpretation. In the same fashion, guitarist Robin Applewood captured the energy left behind by his departed friend, playing the guitar part on an old classical guitar that was left to him. It has the original strings that came with the guitar when he inherited it. So, there is an energy and vibe to the sound although most would say the strings are dead and need to be changed. This track demonstrates the power of a masterful collaboration; bringing forth the best that each has to offer. With each piece that is added by an artist, we are symbolically weaving our collective stories, uniting our energies. I don’t think there could have been a better group of collaborators to express this message and piece of art,” Starita shares.

“When Starita first approached me about this collaboration,” Scott says, “I instantly resonated with this track because of the message I felt behind the song. There was a deep yearning energy; need for one to express their love and aspirations and holding that in a certain light. The reference to ‘someday’ in the lyrics was hopeful and grabbed me. This is a message relatable to us all. 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. I wanted to explore what we can do together. The music industry is not set up to foster ‘building together,’ so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. As a conceptualist and producer, I share Starita’s vision of ‘letting go, not thinking, and letting it flow.’ That was the basic premise that was agreed upon by all of the collaborators….just let the song come naturally with no force from the mind. Let the heart lead. With that, I listened intently and created a sound that was very specific for this track. Many have heard me speak about the ‘whisper technique’ which is a warm air technique that only a few of us use. The technique is basically using warm air and prioritizing your breath at the mouthpiece of vibration. The warmer air actually rubs the inner-workings of the brass a little bit differently, which gives more of a hazy sound. To be able to get certain phrases out while the core air is warming up, you have to learn to refine warming the air up in your diaphragm and feigning phrases from your chest air, or frogging. 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.”

“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 ‘The Dream’ feat Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Trent Park and Robin Applewood

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Premiere: Vocalist Pratika Gopinath Joins Starita for ‘Changing’

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.

Read the full premiere here…


Starita Kickstarts 2020 With A Feelgood Dance Track

San Francisco-based Starita is a 2 time GRAMMY®/Latin Grammy recognized producer and engineer. Surviving the Golden Age is excited to kickstart 2020 by premiering his new single, Fashion.

“I chose this song as the first release for 2020 by design,” said Starita. He continued, “I wanted to offer a song that energized people to start the year feeling invigorated and strong; ready to seize everything that life has to offer, letting go of everything that doesn’t serve them, and just go for it! So, don’t think. Just dance.”

With effervescent production, the uplifting track features lush yet complex soundscape. With descending piano arpeggios, shuffling house beat, and silky R&B vocals, the track is sure to get your January moving.

Read the full premiere here….


#DXCLUSIVE: Deuce Eclipse Delivers Bi-Lingual Brilliance On Starita’s “Too Strong” Single

September 25, 2019 | 8:00 AM

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.


Read the full premiere here…