· Two Grammy Awards: Jason Mraz, “Make It Mine,” Best Pop Vocal Performance; Jason Mraz/Colbie Caillat, “Lucky,” Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
· Producer for Train’s “Hey Soul Sister,” the #1 best seller on iTunes in 2010
· Producer for Jason Mraz “I’m Yours,” the #7 best seller on iTunes in 2010
· Production and songwriting with KT Tunstall (songs on Tiger Suit); Joshua Radin, The Rock And The Tide (album producer), A-ha and Jason Mraz (a recording journey including collaborations with Willie Nelson and Milton Nascimento.)
COMING UP IN 2011:
Releases with Jason Mraz, Pharrell Williams’ protégé Alyssa Bernal, Brett Dennen and Apparatjik, Terefe’s multi-genre collaboration with members of Coldplay, Mew and synth-pop pioneers A-ha.
Musically omnivorous and intellectually curious, Terefe’s reputation grew out of word-of-mouth recommendations from the artists he worked with in his sprawling West London studio. His client list now includes Jason Mraz, Train, Cat Stevens (Yusuf), Jamie Cullum, James Morrison, and KT Tunstall, with many more to come. Possessing a songwriter’s mind and a soul record’s heart, Terefe strives for timeless recordings, and as a result, is becoming the man behind more and more household names.
Martinphoto: Tia Terefe
Signed to a publishing deal at age 15 in Stockholm, he was given the tools to record demos for his rock band, and quickly turned to recording friends. “My publisher was tearing his hair out because I wasn’t doing the thing that he signed me for. But I realized I did not want to pursue being a frontman. I was quite content writing songs for people and helping to shape their visions,” Terefe says.Guided equally by what he heard as a child on ’70s American radio, including Elvis and old soul masters like Curtis Mayfield and Al Green, and bands he listened to as a teenager in the ’80s, including Deep Purple, Kraftwerk and Steely Dan, he shaped an aesthetic of his own.
As for a “signature sound,” he explains: “I’m very vocal-centric. I love when you can hear the words, when you can hear the story, and I think that has become a sound in itself. I use a lot of ‘traditional methods,’ so to speak. Also, my studio is kind of a museum of vintage equipment. But it’s not like I’m trying to make retro records. As long as the song is great and the vocal is great, I have a starting point to work from whether it’s rock, acoustic, electronic or rhythmic music.”
In 1996 he moved to London, where he runs an open-plan, multi-room recording facility reminiscent of New York City’s famed Brill Building. “There’s a huge communal kitchen, and in the morning there will be other producers and artists hanging out. It provides a very open creative space and often people get really relaxed and end up writing together or playing on each other’s records,” On a few occasions artists have reacted to not having the ‘star treatment’ that they are used to, but generally people get really relaxed and end up writing together or playing on each other’s records,” he says. He fell in among singer-songwriters like KT Tunstall, Martha Wainwright and Ron Sexsmith, who began recommending him to peers. “I could relate to what they were doing because I was a songwriter myself. It was when some of them became million-selling artists that I started getting work from labels instead of directly from artists.”
Even as successes like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” and Train’s “Soul Sister” are recognized as multiplatinum smashes, Terefe’s creative instincts continue to push him forward. Apparatjik, an artand music collective with Jonas Bjerre (Mew), Magne Furuholmen (A-ha), and Guy Berryman (Coldplay), came out of mutual desire to contribute to a charity album for Survival International, an organization in support of indigenous people. A 10-day session in a Norwegian ski-lodge resulted in the electronic album, We Are Here. It was released in 2010 in connection with a performance in Berlin at the Club Transmediale Festival for Adventurous Music and related Visual Arts. The band members performed inside an opaque cube. “We were inspired by 1930s Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator,” he says. “Basically, we developed a show based on his original idea of light and shadow play and incorporated our music and projections of film and animation material.'”
Tying seemingly disparate interests together is natural for a multi-faceted artist like Terefe. “I still feel I’m on a discovery journey. I don’t know what will excite me next, but I love the energizing feeling of discovering something truly original or exceptionally well-crafted. I’m privileged to do what I do!”
Martin Terefe official site: www.martinterefe.com
Apparatjik official site: www.apparatjik.com