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Arif MARDIN

One look at Arif Mardin's discography merits his status among the 20th century's most important music producers.From The Young Rascals' #1 hit "Good Lovin'" to Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" to his most recent works with Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Patti Labelle, and Jewel, Arif Mardin has transcended genres and contributed to many of contemporary music's most brilliant works.  Atlantic Records' Co-Chairman/ Co- CEO Ahmet Ertegun declares: "In a business often driven by trend and fashion, Arif has remained a true artist, a man of incredible musical talent.  In contrast to many other producers, Arif does not have one sound which dominates his records.  Rather, he creates an environment unique to each performer, the common link being exceptional quality and taste.  As a result, for over three decades, he has helped singers and musicians of very different styles do the best work of their careers."


Over the past thirty-six years, Arif has worked with many of the most illustrious artists in the history of contemporary music, including Average White Band, Anita Baker, the Bee Gees, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Melissa Manchester, Manhattan Transfer, Bette Midler, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Dusty Springfield and many more.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Arif Mardin graduated from Istanbul University and studied at the London School of Economics.  Although Arif is a self-professed jazz fanatic, as well as an accomplished orchestrator/ arranger, he never intended to pursue a career in music.  It was a chance meeting with jazz great Dizzy Gillespie that proved to be the stroke of fate.  "Dizzy came through Turkey in 1956, and it was the biggest event of my life.  I had the chance to meet him, and he wound up playing one of my pieces and giving me some pointers."  Two years later in 1958, Arif became the first recipient of the Quincy Jones Scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

After graduation, he taught at Berklee for one year.  He was eventually made a trustee of the school and awarded an honorary doctorate. Mardin joined Atlantic Records in 1963 as an assistant to Nesuhi Ertegun.  He was soon named studio manager and subsequently became the label's house producer and arranger.  In 1969, he was named a Vice President of the company, and now serves as a Senior Vice President.  Mardin enjoys a relationship with Atlantic that allows him to produce albums for other record labels as well.

His collaborations with the Bee Gees led to the smash hit "Jive Talkin'".  Arif's chart toppers also include the #1 singles "Pick Up The Pieces" by Average White Band, "Against All Odds" and "Separate Lives" ( a duet with Marilyn Martin) by Phil Collins, "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan and the Grammy winning "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler.  In his thirty-six year career, Arif has collected over forty gold and platinum albums, over 15 Grammy nominations and six Grammy awards.

In 1990, Mardin was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.  In 1994, in celebration of his 30th Anniversary with Atlantic Records, he was the subject of a special tribute issue in Billboard magazine.  In 1996, Arif earned his sixth Grammy Award for his production of Atlantic Theater's Original Broadway Cast Album of "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller." The following year, he received a Grammy nomination for the platinum album, The Original Broadway Cast Recording of

Rent. On December 3, 1997, Arif was one of the recipients of the NARAS HEROES. Award presented by Ahmet Ertegun.

The year of 1997 was a very busy one for Arif.  Some of his recently completed projects included Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Whitney Houston and Brandy which aired on ABC television.  He produced three songs on Patti Labelle's gold album Flame and three songs on Regina Carter's latest album Something For Grace.  Arif received his fifteenth Grammy Award nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal for the song "Laura" on Carly Simon's album titled Film Noir.  He also produced four songs on Barbra Streisand's multi-platinum album Higher Ground including the title track and it's second single "If I Could."  When asked about the previous year, Arif muses, "Barbra, Bette, Carly, Patti and Whitney made 1997 my 'Year of the Diva'." Arif Mardin has made an indelible mark on the music industry. As stated by Universal Records' CEO Doug Morris, "When I entered the music business, I hoped to be able to work alongside people like Arif Mardin; creative, brilliant pioneers who, aside from their talent, convey an unmistakable presence. The consummate gentleman, Arif is someone whose joy for music makes it all worthwhile".

1998 has proven equally challenging, Arif served as the Music Producer for the soundtrack for the Warner Brothers Motion Picture "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", a biography of Frankie Lymon directed by Gregory Nava.  More recently, Arif produced four tracks on Bette Midler's Bathhouse Betty as well as on Diana Ross' newest album Everyday Is A New Day. Plus the duet "Love Is All That Matters" for the ABC-TV movie Double Platinum starring Miss Ross and Brandy. He has also completed the CD recording of Patti LaBelle's Live Show "One Nite Only"originally broadcast on public television featuring special guests Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey.

Recently released are two tracks on the new Barbra Streisand album, A Love Like Ours and the song "Through A Child's Eyes" on the South Park movie soundtrack. Additionally, Arif lent his production expertise on a track for new Atlantic recording artist, Australian singer Marie Wilson. Appropriately, Arif closed the millennium with another glimmering diva, Jewel. Joy: A Holiday Collection is the latest from Atlantic's multi-platinum artist. The two also teamed up to perform selections from the record live for the Public Television broadcast of the popular "Sessions at West 54th Street" and the charity concert event "NET-AID".  And since the word "rest" is not in his vocabulary, Arif opens this millenium with orchestral arrangements for blues greats Eric Clapton and B.B. King.

Arif Mardin is also producer of the play: THE "A" WORD

This issue is dedicated to contemporary Turkish artist Erol AKYAVAS.

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@The Light Millennium magazine was created and designed
by Bircan ÜNVER. Fifth issue. Winter 2001, New York.
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