Jan. 15, 2009
By Tim Simard
Growing up in a log cabin on the boundaries of the Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston, former resident Morgan Page never believed he’d transform himself into an internationally known musician and remix producer. As Page put it, it’s a long way from the Green Mountains to sunny southern California, where he now resides.
Morgan Page, pictured above, wrote a song that was remixed by another artist and is now up for a Grammy.
“It took endless nights in a studio and not taking no for an answer,” Page told the Observer on the phone from Los Angeles. “I never had anything handed to me.”
And to top things off, Page’s hit song “The Longest Road,” from his 2008 album “Elevate,” has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category. Technically, Page himself is not being nominated for the award. That honor goes to Canadian remix artist DeadMau5, pronounced “dead mouse,” whom Page hired to do a different cut of his song.
“The Longest Road” remix will go up against four other songs at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, including remixes of songs by Madonna and Mary J. Blige. The original version of Page’s song is finding success in the Billboard Dance Charts, where it still sits after more than 30 weeks.
Even though Page won’t receive the award if the song wins, he’s still “ecstatic” about the nomination.
“It gives a chance for the song to have a wider audience,” Page said. “It’s taken a while to have a song get international attention.”
Made in Williston
And while fame is knocking on Page’s doorstep and the concert requests are coming in from all over the world, he credits his time in Williston in helping him forge his career path. Specifically, he praises his teachers from Swift House at Williston Central School for instilling in him a love of computer technology, which is a big part of a remixer’s success.
“There were teachers there that really empowered me,” Page said. “They were really ahead of their time, which sent me in the right direction.”
Like DeadMau5, Page is also a remix artist and has become a fixture on the music scene in Los Angeles. He’s famously remixed songs by Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, Britney Spears and Madonna on her song “Miles Away.” Many of Page’s earlier albums were almost strictly remix recordings, although “Elevate” has more original material written or co-written by Page.
Writing original material offers Page a chance to flex his creative muscle in ways other than remixing, although he still loves that as well. Remixing brings its own challenges, he said. He has to stay true to the original song, but also looks to add his own touch and signature to the piece. Unique choices in a remix can put an artist a cut above others, Page said, and bring more opportunity for further jobs.
“(Musicians) can pick you based on your notoriety,” Page said. “They’re hiring you for your sound.”
Page got his start by remixing songs on rudimentary equipment from his home in Williston and sending it to the student-run WRUV at the University of Vermont. His mixes got airplay and he soon became the station’s only high school DJ while still at Champlain Valley Union High School. After graduating from CVU in 1999, he went to Emerson College in Boston, eventually making his way to New York City, where he interned and secured an album deal from Undercover Music.
After his first label went out of business, Page signed with the Canadian-based Network Records, and is still with the company.
In between recording and remixing, Page busies himself touring the country and, more increasingly, other parts of the world. He’s generally a one-man show, complete with DJing equipment and video screens. He said he usually has a couple gigs every weekend.
After the Grammy Awards, which Page said he plans to attend, he will embark on his first tour of Australia in March. He’s then planning to release his next album, “Believe,” this summer. It will be his first album of all original songs, he said.
But while Page is logging the frequent flyer miles every month across the globe, he still makes a point of returning to Vermont a few times a year.
“I got to have my dose of cold weather,” Page said.