Mark Batson: Infinite Kundalini

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India.Arie's 2001 Acoustic Soul put Batson on the map. The daughter of basketball star Ralph Simpson, India's musical interests closely matched those of Batson: be true to yourself, have a positive message, and represent diverse styles while respecting funk and soul roots. Acoustic Soul album coverBatson was selected to produce her debut album, quite possibly in part because of his work on Caron Wheeler's 1993 Beach of the War Goddess, an album that failed commercially, but proved to be a showcase for Batson's evolving production talents. Not only did Batson produce Acoustic Soul, but he performed on it, too, with his work on the keys proving essential to the album's sound. The album debuted at #10 on Billboard, was certified gold within six weeks, and ultimately sold over two million copies. In January of 2002, it was announced that the album had been nominated for seven Grammys. A door had been opened -- Batson was marked as a hot producer.

From there, new opportunities came quickly -- in the next few years he found himself working in various production capacities with G-Unit, Sting, Seal, Anthony Hamilton, Eminem and Beyoncé, even receiving a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song for his work with Hamilton. While by no means thought of a top-tier producer, Batson was working the field, making a name for himself, and looking for a chance to move up in the business. In Dave Matthews Band, he found that chance.

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