Shelter In The Rain Stevie Wonder

Neal H. Pogue's 2005 five-song agreement with Stevie Wonder was more than just another mix gig; for Pogue, it gave birth to his close working relationship with a respected childhood hero.
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"Shelter In The Rain" Stevie WonderSingle: "Shelter In The Rain"

Album: A Time To Love (Motown)

Date Mixed: August 2005 at Conway Studios in Burbank, California

Single Producer: Stevie Wonder

Single Engineer: Femi Jiya

Mix Engineer: Neal H. Pogue

Mastering: Brian Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles

Other Projects: Pogue has engineered and mixed projects for such varied artists as OutKast, the Transplants, Citizen Cope, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Single Songwriter: Stevie Wonder

Mixing Console: Solid State Logic 9000 J Series

Recorder: Digidesign Pro Tools|HD

Mix Monitors: Anthony Gallo Acoustics A'Diva Ti, Yamaha NS-10M

Mix Processing: GML 8200 parametric equalizer, Lexicon 480L digital effects system, Eventide H3000 Harmonizer, SSL J Series equalizer, SSL J Series channel compression, Joe Meek plug-ins for Pro Tools|HD
(click thumbnail) Neal H. Pogue's 2005 five-song agreement with Stevie Wonder was more than just another mix gig; for Pogue, it gave birth to his close working relationship with a respected childhood hero. "He's a musical pioneer and a legacy," explains Pogue. "But he walks in and makes you feel comfortable. He tells jokes, makes you laugh, and is just a really cool person. Here's this legend that I've admired since I was a kid and he's so nice and so laid back to work with."

Of the five songs mixed, "Shelter In the Rain" — an inspirational ballad used as both a single from A Time To Love as well as a profit-source for Wonder's foundation for Hurricane Katrina victims — came together easily, insists Pogue. "That was the last of the five I mixed," he recalls. "By the time I got to the fifth track, Stevie just trusted me. He didn't really want me to touch it, which was really a compliment. His only request that I recall was that I 'darken' the track; I had used a GML 8200 EQ on the overall track to brighten it a bit, and he wanted me to pull that back. Besides that, it was done."

Pogue mixed "Shelter In The Rain" on an SSL J Series console — "I'm a big fan of the J," he offers — and listened via Anthony Gallo Acoustics A'Diva Ti loudspeakers with incredible results. "At first Anthony (Gallo) was a bit iffy," explains Pogue on their use in the recording studio. "He had made them for the home. But I knew that I had to try them in the studio. They worked great; they're warm, transparent, and you can hear everything."

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Judging from the short list of outboard processing cited by Pogue, "Shelter In The Rain" required little more than a great console and great set of monitors. "For Stevie's voice, I used a large room (reverb) from the Lexicon 480L and an Eventide H3000 for a micro-pitch shift — that always widens the voice a little bit," he explains. "That's about it. I didn't use much EQ at all. It was recorded really well and sounded great alone."