Sound Engineer, Producer and Longtime Sade Collaborator, Michael Pela, Has Died

Grammy Award-winning producer, sound engineer, mixer and longtime Sade collaborator Michael Pela passed away on July 23 at 72-years-old.

Tributes are pouring in for British sound engineer, producer, mixer and longtime Sade collaborator Michael Pela, who died on Saturday (July 23) while traveling in Italy. Pela, who was 72-years-old at his time of death, began his career at CTS Studios in London during the late-1960s and 1970s where he assisted on albums including The Who‘s 1969 album Tommy and Electric Light Orchestra‘s 1974 album Eldorado.

After relocating to Power Plant Studios as chief engineer in the 1980s, also in London, Pela worked with Boy George, Gang of Four, The Style Council and also became acquainted with English band, Sade. Pela’s relationship with the group became longterm, as he contributed to a number of their classics including “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” “Love Is Stronger Than Pride,” “Paradise” and “Turn My Back On You.” In 1993, Pela received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group for co-production and engineering on Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” and in 2002, he received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album for co-production and recording on Sade’s 2000 album Lovers Rock. Pela also co-produced Sade’s 2009 comeback song “Soldier of Love,” which won Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 2010.

Pela went on to work with the likes of Maxwell, Dreams Come True and more. Sade members Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Cooke wrote about Pela’s passing in a joint statement.


“It’s hard to imagine a world without Mike, but he’s a vital force within everything we’ve done, and everything to come, and remains really, truly, in our hearts. There’s no other like him, not if we were to look forever. We shared absolute trust. He gave us a safe place so we could be fearless. He came with no ego; soulful, constant, funny, resilient, kind, and brilliant. We’ll try our best to make him proud.”

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