Premiere: Offbeat Magazine – Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band ‘Mystery’

“Mystery” is a highly anticipated release following the band’s last hit album, Unity, which debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes World Music Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard chart. “Mystery” explores themes of doubt, sparks of faith, and evokes a sense of trust in the fertility of what cannot be seen or explained. This collection of ten evocative songs addresses the current challenges of our time and offers inspiration to kindle the courage to move through the unknown. The album honors the wild and mysterious ways of spirit, an often hidden and unnamable force that can feel so distant, and yet in time can secretly heal a wound, mend a broken heart and restore our humanity.

Read the full premiere here

Starita ‘The Wake Up Call’ Album Release 7/30/21

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.

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).

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

Premiere: Ghettoblaster Magazine – Sean Johnson & The Wild Lotus Band ‘Turn That Wall Into A Door’

Gratitude to Ghettoblaster Magazine and writer Tommy Johnson for their exclusive premiere of the first single “Turn That Wall Into A Door” from our upcoming album “Mystery.” From a pool of songs that explore themes of doubt, sparks of faith, life, death, grief, healing, and the courage to trust the unseen– we chose this song many months ago to be our first single as an affirmation of hope and faith amidst the challenges and hardships of our time. The song features the inspiring words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the first Americans to be influenced by the wisdom of yoga teachings from India, and Ganesha mantras, sung as a blessing for the transformation of obstacles. Check out the full post here. 

Premiere: Be Still’s First Release Premieres in Rolling Stone India

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.

Given complete freedom to add her vocals and lyrics to the track, there’s a deep introspection that takes place on “Changing,” which Starita terms as the most accessible song on his upcoming record. Gopinath adds, “The process was completely remote and only through email and messages. Till date, we have not spoken in person or on the phone, but even so, surprisingly we were able to create something beautiful together.”

With this release to her name, the singer is writing more songs that she’s much more satisfied with, plus collaborations. “If all goes well, hopefully next year there will be a few more releases […] As for Easy Wanderlings, there are a lot of songs in the works, we’re hoping to release a single soon,” she says.

Listen to “Changing” below. Stream on Spotify and Apple Music