Narada Michael Walden

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Narada Michael Walden
Walden performing with Jeff Beck in 2011
Walden performing with Jeff Beck in 2011
Background information
Birth nameMichael Walden
Born (1952-04-23) April 23, 1952 (age 71)
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.[1]
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Drums
  • keyboards
  • vocals
Years active1971–present
LabelsAtlantic, Warner Bros., Tarpan
Formerly of

Narada Michael Walden (/ˈnɑːrədə/ NAH-rə-də; Michael Walden; born April 23, 1952)[1][6] is an American musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He acquired the nickname Narada from Sri Chinmoy.[6]

He began his career as a drummer, working primarily in the jazz fusion realm, appearing with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Jeff Beck, Wayne Shorter and Weather Report, and Allan Holdsworth. After being mentored by Quincy Jones, he transitioned into a role as a songwriter and producer, working in the 1980s and 1990s with numerous R & B acts such as Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, as well as other singers across a number of genres. In 2020, he became the drummer for Journey, replacing Steve Smith. In 2021, he became one of two drummers in the band alongside the returning Deen Castronovo prior to leaving in 2022.[7] He appears on the band's album Freedom (2022), having co-produced and played on the album before his departure.


Video of Narada Michael Walden recording a drum groove for Italian artist Zucchero Fornaciari for the 1986 album Rispetto.

Walden was born in Plainwell, Michigan. He attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from 1970 to 1972.[8]

Walden played with rock bands in Miami, Florida, after he graduated from college.[6] He was a member of the 'second incarnation' of the Mahavishnu Orchestra from 1974 to 1976, playing drums and providing vocals. Atlantic released his first album, Garden of Love Light, in 1977 with a single that reached the R&B chart.[6] This was followed by I Cry I Smile and The Awakening.[6] The latter album reached No. 15 on the R&B chart.[6] His singles continued to be popular in R&B during the 1980s. These included a duet with Patti Austin and an appearance on the soundtrack for the movie Bright Lights, Big City.[6]

He built his studio in 1985 and produced music for The Temptations, Stacy Lattisaw, Aretha Franklin, Angela Bofill, Lisa Fischer, Sister Sledge, Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, Whitney Houston, Clarence Clemons, George Benson, Sheena Easton, Kenny G, Lionel Richie, Al Jarreau, and Mariah Carey.[9]

Walden has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, winning three:[10] Best R&B Song for "Freeway of Love" (1985);[11] Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (1987);[12] and Album of the Year for The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album (1993).[6]

Personal life[edit]

In 2013, Walden married former Catholic school teacher, Katie Mersereau, at Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, California. The couple have two daughters, Kelly and Kayla and a son, Michael.[13] The pair worked together on Walden's album Evolution, released in 2015, with Katie credited as providing backing vocals on four tracks and writing one song, under her married name, Katie Mersereau-Walden.[14]



Year Album Label Peak chart positions
1976 Garden of Love Light Atlantic Records
1977 I Cry, I Smile
1979 Awakening 103 15
The Dance of Life 74 9
1980 Victory 103 21
1982 Confidence 135 30
1983 Looking at You, Looking at Me 51
1985 The Nature of Things Warner Bros.
1988 Divine Emotion Reprise 67 60
1995 Sending Love to Everyone EMI
2013 Thunder 2013 Tarpan
2015 Evolution
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Year Single Peak chart positions


1977 "Delightful" 81
1979 "Give Your Love a Chance" 80
"I Don't Want Nobody Else (To Dance with You)" 47 9 64
"I Shoulda Loved Ya" 66 4 8 8
1980 "Tonight I'm Alright" 35 8 34
"The Real Thang" 22 25
1981 "I Want You" 46 25
1982 "Summer Lady" 39
"You're #1" 19
1983 "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" 40 19
1985 "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" 39 87
"The Nature of Things" 82 21
1988 "Divine Emotions" 21 1 8
"Can't Get You Outta My Head" 93
"Wild Thing" 97
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.


Other collaborations[edit]

As drummer[edit]

As producer[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Narada Michael Walden Page". Archived from the original on November 21, 2002. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Narada Michael Walden Tells The Stories Behind Eight Great Tracks He's Worked On, From Mahavishnu Orchestra To Mariah Carey". Stereogum. September 14, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  3. ^ Records, Iconoclassic. "Weather Report". Iconoclassic Records. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  4. ^ cameron (June 9, 2010). "Narada Michael Walden and Jeff Beck Tour". Audix. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  5. ^ Wardlaw, Matt (May 13, 2022). "Why Narada Michael Walden Left Journey". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Hogan, Ed. "Narada Michael Walden". AllMusic. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "JONATHAN CAIN Says NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN's Addition To JOURNEY's Touring Lineup 'Didn't Quite Pan Out'". Blabbermouth. March 2022. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  8. ^ "Narada Michael Walden Biography". Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  9. ^ "Narada Michael Walden | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "Narada Michael Walden". March 17, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "28th Annual GRAMMY Awards". November 28, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  12. ^ "30th Annual GRAMMY Awards". November 28, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  13. ^ Liberatore, Paul (February 25, 2016). "Paul Liberatore's Lib at Large: The new stars in record producer Narada Michael Walden's life: baby girls". Marin Independent Journal.
  14. ^ "Narada Michael Walden – Evolution". Discogs.
  15. ^ "Narada Michael Walden – Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on September 27, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  16. ^ "Chart History – Narada Michael Walden: TOP R&B/HIP-HOP ALBUMS". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 25, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  17. ^ a b "NARADA – full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  18. ^ "Narada Michael Walden: Chart History – HOT 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 24, 2020.
  19. ^ "Chart History: Narada Michael Walden – HOT R&B/HIP-HOP SONGS". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  20. ^ "Chart History: Narada Michael Walden – DANCE CLUB SONGS". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 19, 2022. Retrieved December 30, 2020.
  21. ^ "Narada Michael Walden – full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "Rispetto – Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari | Official Website" (in Italian). Retrieved February 6, 2023.

External links[edit]