Meet Hip Hops Secret Weapon: Katalyst
You may not know the name Ken Lewis or Brent Kolatalo, but the whole music industry is definitely aware of the the Hitting-making Power House, Katalyst . Over 20 years of major label credits can be found from audio engineering, producing, songwriting, and more (by the dynamic duo). They have amassed a client list that reads like a “who’s who” of the music industry: Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Big Pun, Wu Tang, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, fun., Mariah Carey, John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, David Byrne, Kresnt and Lana Del Rey.
Known for his ability to wear many different hats in the studio, and for his signature “big drums,” Ken’s credits include 19 Grammy wins and 55 total nominations, 94 Gold and Platinum albums and singles, with 66 Number One hits so far, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Working Brent Kolatalo with Mary J Blige, SWV, Tyrese, Craig Kallman, Rawcus Records, RCA, MCA, Big Beat, and others. In 1998, Lewis made the transition to full time mix engineer, scoring five mixes for Public Enemy on the “He Got Game” album, as well as mixes for Aretha Franklin, Pete Rock, Diana Ross, Big Pun, and Mad Lion.
In 2002, Ken connected with rising super-producer Just Blaze, and over the next decade, mixed for him on albums by Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Eminem, Beastie Boys, Usher, Jay Z, Shaggy, and countless others.
Lewis connected with then-producer Kanye West, mostly as a studio musician and sample re-creator. In 2003, Kanye chose Ken to help make his debut album: The College Dropout. Ever since that amazing debut. Kanye has called upon Ken to work on all his subsequent albums, earning Ken around two dozen credits on Grammy Nominations with Kanye’s albums and productions. Ken’s roles varied on different songs. His involvement extends from writer, producer, engineer, mixer, arranger, sample re-creator, vocalist, to even musician.
Ken’s favorite Kanye moment happened during the making of Watch The Throne. Lewis recalls, “I got a call at noon that Kanye needed me to arrange, record and deliver a live horn section for ‘New Day’ by 7pm that evening, and I delivered it on time. The album wrapped that day, and later that night they had a private album wrap party at Submercer, where a slightly intoxicated Kanye says to me ‘Ken you’ve got these skills that, like, nobody else has’ and my response was ‘So do You!’ That was a classic moment of pure happiness to be so acknowledged by one of the greatest."
Today, Ken’s primary focus is his writing and production team Katalyst (Ken Kanye West Producer Lewis and Brent Kolatalo). Katalyst has racked up production credits with Eminem, Future, X Ambassadors, John Legend, J Cole, Kanye West, Kresnt, Kendrick Lamar, and a plethora of other insanely talented artists. And in non-producer roles, Lewis has worked on some of the biggest songs of all time, such as “We Are Young,” "Uptown Funk,” “Gold Digger,” “Heartless,” “Power,” “All Of the Lights,” “Girl On Fire,” “Christmas Eve Sarajevo,” “B Boy Document 99,” and many others.
(Pictures have surfaced online of the duo Ken Lewis and Brent Kolatalo working closely with rising Canadian Star Kresnt photo credits: @thelunarcycle)
Full Discography: https://audioschoolonline.com/ken-lewis/
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