contemporary JAZZ keyboardist, composer
A native of Panama City, Florida, this multi-talented performer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist makes his highly anticipated debut as a recording artist with the emotionally charged single “For All Eternity” on Woodward Avenue Records. Featuring performances by saxophonist Marcus Anderson and guitarist Nate Najar, the song is being released as both an instrumental and a vocal track featuring Nathan and (Christian Contemporary Artist / Co-Writer) R.Anthony. It will be included on his forthcoming full-length cd - Love, Passion & Soul.
Nathan has been in nonstop whirlwind mode, showcasing his versatility on the keys throughout the country and various parts of Europe with a virtual who’s who of the urban-smooth jazz world. The Tampa Bay based performer has performed with Grammy Award winning, Multi-Platinum winning, and A-list artists such as Ricky Lawson (drummer for the stars), Nick Colionne, Jackiem Joyner, Paul Brown, Will Donato, Blake Aaron, Jonathan Butler, Elan Trotman, Mindi Abair, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), Shaun Labelle, Jonathan Fritzen, Jessy J, NILS, and many more artist.
Nathan’s musical influence extends back, to his father, a career Air Force man and a prominent gospel musician and choir director. “While he never pursued music professionally,” Mitchell says, “he is gifted on drums, keyboards, bass and guitar, and I definitely got my musical talent from him.“ Through the tutelage of his father and a variety of musical mentors, he has become a well-rounded musical presence that has the ability of mending the styles of old with the new.
Nathan’s mark in the urban-smooth jazz market took flight after enduring extreme tragedy in his family. He unfortunately is a widower, who lost his wife – Keisha Michelle Mitchell, who passed away after a valiant six-year struggle with cancer in September 2010. In the wake of her loss, Mitchell was taking a much needed sabbatical from music when a longtime friend, who is in the urban-smooth jazz market as a premier drummer, called him to do a Mother’s Day show with Marcus Anderson and Will Donato. After doing several more urban jazz dates, various artists recommended him to Steve Butler of Mighty Music Group, who connected with him and offered more shows that ultimately led to him being able to work nonstop.
The keyboardist’s opportunity to become a recording artist had its roots on a tour with Jessy J, when he let Najar—who was also in Jessy’s band—hear his song “My Angel.” Najar insisted that Mark Nordman, founder of Woodward Avenue Records, hear it and Nordman liked it and asked to hear more material. When Paul Brown, two-time Grammy winning producer and an artist on the label, heard “For All Eternity,” he recommended that Nordman sign Mitchell to his roster.
“Playing this kind of music did something powerful for me at the perfect stage of my life,” says Mitchell. “All of the artists I have worked with got me locked into their passion of expression, which gave me an important emotional release and a way to express myself in a way that I couldn’t put into words. I couldn’t tell people exactly what I was feeling, but I could put it into a sound. It was funny because my fellow musicians and the audiences can hear how I felt based on how I performed. They knew my heartbeat through my playing.”
While urban-smooth jazz fans so far recognize Mitchell for his dynamic abilities on the keys, he’s also taking the helm as a vocalist, which is a rare commodity amongst instrumental artist in the smooth / urban jazz industry. Earning his degree in classical voice from Rollins College located Winter Park, Florida, he was heavily influenced by Dr. John Sinclair (Department Chairman) and Curtis Rayam (vocal instructor), who in the 70’s performed in presentations of Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” and also subbed for Pavarotti. Rayam noted Mitchell a “Verdi tenor” helping him increase his range and teaching him how to be healthy vocalist that could last in any genre of music.
Nathan’s exhilarating and passionate musical style has created an amazing platform for him as a urban-smooth jazz artist. It is no secret once you have experienced his highly energetic performance that you will be inspired to be a part of his career for the duration of life.