*Nathan East is American contemporary music’s foremost bassist. With a career spanning over 30 years, he has worked with many of the biggest music acts ever.
East has performed, recorded, or co-written songs with B.B. King, Babyface, Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John. He has even played on tracks for pop icons like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and Rihanna.
Most recently, we heard his bass line on the 2013 hit “Get Lucky” released by Daft Punk. That song took the Record of the Year award at this year’s Grammys and has sold nearly 8 million copies. Now the time for strumming on the sidelines has ended, temporarily at least; Mr. East has released his first solo album entitled “Nathan East.”
“I’ve been thinking and talking about doing it for many years, however, I have been completely non-stop busy for the last 30 years,” East said in an exclusive sit down with EURweb’s Lee Bailey. Those 30 years have been packed with music royalty, some of whom returned to collaborate with Mr. East on this overdue debut. Michael McDonald and Sara Bareilles are both featured on the 14-song compilation.
“It’s really a celebration of the music I’ve been involved with and a lot of friends I’ve played with over the years,” East stated as he recounted the near endless list of artists he’s worked with. He spoke particularly highly of Michael McDonald, saying “Michael McDonald is a dear friend. We’ve played together for years. He might be my favorite singer, period.” However, you won’t find too many stars clouding the album. East admitted that he wants this album to be a platform for his own artistry. Though he’s worked with Queen Bey herself, he admitted that high profile collaborations come with a hefty price tag. “I think once I build up my reputation a little more and get a little bigger name, I think I’ll be able to approach Lady B…those guys come with a pretty steep tariff.”
Nevertheless, he did include many other instrumentalists. He credits Quincy Jones for the approach he took while working with the other artists. He described the process as, “…a combination of the way Quincy makes a record, where you invite the people in and you have these musical collaborations.”
The album features East’s unique style coupled with orchestral pieces, horns, and even big band arrangements. Some album highlights include “Madiba,” an ode to Nelson Mandela, which East describes as a song that “pays tribute to one of the most important figures on the planet.” East’s father was born in South Africa and “Madiba” rhythmically celebrates his familial connection to the country. “Yesterday” is a take on the Beatles’ classic and features East’s son Noah on piano. The album also features a fresh rendition of “America the Beautiful” recorded at Ocean Way Nashville Studios with a full orchestra and choir.
He opened up about the challenges he faced as a bassist whilerecording the album. He said “…it’s a challenge just for it to be to be completely musical. I don’t want really … people to say, oh for a bassist, it’s a good album, I want them to say, I love this album.”
He divulged that the album is less about him playing a bass line on every song rather, with experience in virtually every genre of music-from jazz to rock n roll-in his words, “this is a chance for me to bundle it all up in a little package.” The album was released on March 25 under new label Yamaha Entertainment Group.
Following the album release, East began a National Guitar Center tour, offering bass clinics and a meet and greet in select cities: Thursday, April 17- Seattle, WA; Tuesday, May 6- San Diego, CA; Thursday, May 8- San Marcos, CA; Tuesday, May 13- Charlotte, NC; and Thursday, May 15- Dallas, TX. Check him out in a city near you!
For MORE on Nathan East, visit: www.nathaneast.com/