MarilynMusic's Casey Conrad answers the phone from his studio, The Vertical Room on the Upper East Side of NYC on a cool Friday afternoon. He is present, but his voice sounds almost far away. It is apparent that his focus is on tracks to be produced. He says he's excited to talk about them, but even more so to get off the phone and get back to work. He has a lot on his plate, including collaborations with rising stars like Sera Buras of NBC's 'The Voice', to more established names like Michael Bolton. Conrad has worked with many names in the business, and is always looking to work with new talent.
Although hesitant to talk about his creative process, stating "it's too mysterious for me to try to put into words," he's nevertheless excited to talk about a new track that MarilynMusic just released on iTunes called "Jump". "I co-wrote it with Michael Gaines, a lifelong friend and my business partner in MarilynMusic. We grew up playing music together and both feel very fortunate to have this gift," he told me.
The energetic pop dance tune features artist Wallace Gary, who has worked for many years with Ashford and Simpson. Nick Ashford was one of Conrad's songwriting idols and will be "sorely missed for his beautiful songs and his gentle heart."
Conrad is currently producing a track for Michael Bolton which was co-written by Joanne Perica, a Canadian singer-songwriter and frequent collaborator. The track features guitarist Phil Hamilton (Luther Vandross etc...).
"Joanne Perica has been a co-producer, co-writer, colleague, and most of all a friend," Conrad explains. Their close professional relationship has lead to many great projects including other tracks with Bolton.
They are also in the early stages of a new album for Perica that will have a pop-rock influence. To this end they've enlisted the talents of guitarist Zane Carney of 'Carney' (the house band of Broadway's 'Spiderman Turn off the Dark'.) "He's a very talented guy and very prolific in his abilities. Great chops, good all around pro... he has some great stories and I enjoy working with him," Conrad says of the young guitarist. They also added Carney's "chops" to an urban dance track called 'Fearless', co-written with Perica and new artist Sage, which should be released shortly.
When asked about other projects, he said he's mixing world famous jazz pop guitarist David Spinoza's new album. Spinoza is a well respected studio artist who's played on over 4,000 recordings. The team for this record, which is being produced by old friend Gary Haase (also playing bass), includes David Mann on sax, Cliff Carter on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Conrad on percussion.
Recording artist Sera Buras has also co-written and recorded a track produced by Conrad at his Vertical Room studio called 'By Your Side' that is moving along swiftly.
"Sera has been working on evolving her style and has gotten to a place where her talent as a piano player as well as a singer is being highlighted," Conrad states. "She has a gospel background, she plays amazing organ... but maybe her greatest strength is her traditional roots... that is what's being discussed...there will definitely be an interesting range."
MarilynMusic is rooted in the quality of music made, and of sounds produced when artists collaborate with equal vision. Casey Conrad along with MarilynMusic partner and co-writer Michael Gaines is at the center of it all. No wonder he can't wait to get back to work.