James Bonzai Caruso
(USA-NYC) James Bonza Caruso is a five-time Grammy winning Recording / Mix Engineer and Producer, with over two decades of experience working with high-profile recording artists. Bonzai started his career in the 1980's as a teenager. He attended the world-renowned Institute of Audio Research in Greenwich Village, New York City. During that time, Bonzai landed an assistant engineer position at the legendary Secret Sound Studios in Manhattan. Within his first year on the job, he was the most requested engineer. This came as no surprise, given his talent, ambition, and passion for music.
Still in his teens, he was already making a name for himself in NYC music scene. Bonzai's career quickly started skyrocketing as he was credited with a unique sound, while collaborating on records with artists; Grand Master Flash, Melle Mell, Africa Bambatta, and Ice T, just to name a few. His mixing style caught the ears of then emerging C&C Music Factory duo, Clivilles and Cole, which started a five-year collaboration that produced dozens of Gold and Platinum albums and singles. Coincidentally, Bonzai's reputation caught the attention of (then) Madonna's management, which lead to his recording, editing and mixing Madonna's mega hits; "Rain" , "Deeper and Deeper" and several others during her "Erotica" era. The success of these projects brought a call from Sean "Puffy" Combs. Bonzai worked with "Puffy", recording and mixing songs with Mary J. Blidge, Notorious B.I.G., Missy Elliot and Faith Evans.
Bonzai's easy going personality, drive for perfection, respect for the creative collaboration process, and his spirited work ethic, inevitably lead to unique and professional relationships. By the late 1990's Bonzai had acquired dozens of Gold and Platinum plaques. One of which was for "Shy Guy" , by Diana King. Upon hearing this mix, Stephen Marley, son of the late, great Bob Marley, contacted Bonzai, and a collaborative musical relationship formed, that continues to this day. Together, they have recorded and mixed many chart-topping hits, including the Album, "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damian Marley which won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album AND a Grammy for Best Alternative Single (2005). Bonzai followed suit with Stephen Marley's own debut Album, "Mind Control" , winning a Grammy in 2007. He later re-recorded that album in an acoustic format, winning yet another Grammy for Best Reggae Album in 2009.
Bonzai then mixed the Nas and Damian Marley album, "Distant Relatives" . His next accomplishment was working with Stephen Marley on "Revelation" part 1 "Root of Life" album, winning another Grammy for best Reggae Album in 2012.
Bonzai's work can also be heard on records with Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliot, Erykah Badu, Bette Midler, Lenny Kravitz, Cher, and the list goes on and on. In addition to producing and mixing for artists, Bonzai composes original music for film and TV. Recently he has written music for several Independent Films, pieces for Phillip Morris, CMT, Adidas, and several soon to be released campaigns. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, Bonzai believes his best is yet to come!