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San Francisco - Greetings From The San Francisco Chapter Board: Michael Starita
Michael Starita - Engineer/Producer
San Francisco Chapter Vice President 2013-2014
Starita is a lifelong musician with over 15 years experience as an engineer, producer and remixer. He started his career at the famous Hyde Street Studios in the late 90s learning from many of the Bay Area greats. Moving to EDNET, Starita had the pleasure of being the ISDN engineer for clients such as Rick Rubin, Sting, Warner Bros, Universal Motown and many others. This propelled his career to working for Dolby for 5 years until he decided to go back to doing what he really loved…making records.
Since, he has performed, remixed and worked with some of the industry’s top artists from The Bay to abroad including Rihanna, Los Amigos Invisibles, Michael Franti and Spearhead and more. Recently, Starita launched Bay Area Music Collective that aims to make The Bay Area the #1 music destination again and building community while offering label services to independent artists.
How/When did you get your start?
I was fortunate enough to start as an engineer at Hyde St. Studios at the age of 20 and fell right into working with J Bowman (Michael Franti and Spearhead, Chris Issac, Cake) as his production/song writing partner through many projects over the course of 15 years and counting. At that time, I also worked under Tom Scott, producer of Apocalypse Now and Amadeus as an engineer doing sessions for the likes of Sting, YoYo Ma, Rick Rubin and many other top industry folks. On the side I kept busy doing dance remixes for artists on Island Def Jam and other labels. That was all in the first few years of my career after moving to San Francisco in '98.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve worked with and why?
Michael Franti and Spearhead because they are such an energetic and talented crew. I've played on stage with them at The Fillmore and been in the studio with them multiple times... it's just always a pleasure.
What’s a piece of advice you’ve learned that you wish someone had shared with you?
When troubleshooting a problem, no matter how bad it is and even if you have no clue what the solution is at the time... always look good while you're doing it. :-)
What are your “secrets to success?”
Doing what's best for a song always comes first and to do that you need to know how deal with people. Having people skills is something that can't be taught, but it's absolutely required to get out of people what's needed to make amazing music... not just good music.
Do you believe mentorship is important? Who were your mentors early on in your career and what impact did they have on your experience in the business?
I believe it's absolutely one of the most important things you can do. If you image yourself being that kid and dreaming of making it one day... how could you not want to help someone else who has that drive and brightness to do it. When I see that in someone I always offer my knowledge and open my sessions for them to sit in. Nothing makes me more happy than to see someone start getting clients and running sessions after I've shared knowledge with them. Matt Kelley, J Bowman, JJ Hernandez and Pete Avila are just a few of the people that believed in me and showed me a few tricks when I was starting out... I can't thank them enough!