Referencing the Oscar-winning 2013 film about background singers, East calls For the Record his "20 Feet From Stardom moment. I'd say it was 80 percent-90 percent done when [Yamaha Entertainment Group president and documentary director] Chris Gero sprung it on me. Usually, only the upfront people get something like this. I'm blessed beyond belief."
East is also blessed with extraordinary bass-playing skills, credited on more than 2,000 albums and several Grammy-winning songs including "Get Lucky," "Footloose" and "Change the World." Also detailing the San Diego native's additional pursuits as a songwriter (the 1984 hit "Easy Lover") and a founding member of the jazz quartet Fourplay, For the Record underscores why artists, musicians and producers alike call East "the bass player's bass player" and "musician's musician." As Lionel Richie succinctly states, "Just call Nathan; it's locked."
For the Record wraps up a year of firsts and highlights for East. After decades of session and tour work, he released his first Yamaha Entertainment Group solo album in March. The eponymous set spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. Lead single "Daft Funk" peaked at No. 2 on Smooth Jazz Songs. Having recently completed his first solo tour in Japan after stints there earlier this year with Clapton, Toto and Fourplay, East is busy finishing his autobiography (working title: I Love My Life).
Three more recording projects are also on the burner: Fourplay's 25th anniversary album Silver, a spring duo project with fellow Fourplayer Bob James and East's sophomore solo album, slated for spring/summer 2015. Although he's already worked with a who's who in music, East still keeps a bucket list that includes Prince and Steely Dan.
"In all this, I've learned that life is such a people endeavor," says East, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Association of Music Merchants' (NAMM) Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards on Jan. 24. "Between the documentary and the book, it's nice to be able to tell my story. And maybe someone will listen."