Alum Nate Mercereau Helps Carve Out Sounds for Jay-Z, Shawn Mendes, Sheila E

Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Photo of Nate Mercereau outdoors wearing white T-shirt and sunglasses

POP MATTERS -- Over the past many years, Nate Mercereau has been carving out a name for himself working alongside legends like Sheila E and Jay-Z, and on-the-rise stars Shawn Mendes and Lizzo. With a signature affinity for colorful sonic textures that radiate warmth and ooze cerebral tone, Mercereau is a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist with credits spanning around 20-something instruments. Sometimes you may find him punching up the instrumentals on hip-hop samples with lush keys and synthesizers like on Jay-Z’s 4:44. Other times you can catch him ripping Prince-inspired guitar solos with Lizzo. That is, if he's not lending some soul to Leon Bridges and Rhye, or backing pop sensation Shawn Mendes.

“I’m from San Diego. I spent like eight years living in San Francisco going to San Francisco State and just being a part of the music scene there,” he reminisces. “That’s how I hooked up with Sheila E and joined her band because she’s in the Bay Area, too. I was 21 when I got the gig with her and was with her for around four years. It was one of the first gigs I got that was beyond just a local Bay Area show, and I was terrified and more excited than I’ve ever been.”