Sade has been recording new music at the newly reopened Miraval Studios in Correns, France.
“You could feel the love that she and the band had for this place,” French producer and composer Damien Quintard, Miraval co-owner and operator, said of Sade and her band, the first artists to record in the iconic studio since its reopening after being shuttered for more than 20 years.
The new music is Sade’s first since their 2010 album, Soldier of Love, and 2018 single, “Flower of the Universe,” which was featured on the soundtrack of the adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time as well as the “The Big Unknown” for the soundtrack of the Steve McQueen-directed Widows.
In 2021, Quintard, along with co-owner and operator, actor Brad Pitt, renovated and redesigned the studio where Pink Floyd recorded The Wall and The Cure once retreated for two weeks to record their 1987 double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, writing and recording the hit “Just Like Heaven” there, too.
First opened in 1977 by the estate’s then-owner, French pianist and composer Jacques Loussier as Studio Miraval, the newly rebuilt space is housed at the Château Miraval property in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, which also features an expansive winery and estate owned by Pitt and ex-wife Angelina Jolie.
Also renamed by Quintard and Pitt, Miraval Studios was renovated to honor the past of the studio while offering a more modern recording experience. For decades since its opening, Queen, Elton John, Sting, Shirley Bassey, The Cranberries, Muse, AC/DC, and more called Miraval Studios “home” before it closed its doors in the early 2000s.
Fitted with the largest fully integrated Dolby Atmos Music system and built around The Spaceship, a desk designed by Quintard and Pitt with hybrid analog and digital capacities, the studio also boasts a number of original features, including the SSL 4000 G+ console system used on a number of classic albums. The live room also houses Loussier’s restored 1860s-era Broadwood & Sons piano in addition to other synths and pianos, including a Bosendorfer from the 1980s, along with Moogs, Junos, and Solinas. Other recording booths mix vintage and modern microphones with other rare gear, workstations for sound and video editing,
The 25-foot ceilings within the smaller Studio One control room and live room retain the “heritage of the sound” of the space, according to Quintard, while the new design pushes the acoustics further. “It really is a space where you can produce anything from pop and rock to hip-hop and classical records,” said Quintard.
Miraval also features a mezzanine overlooking the entire studio, a saltwater swimming pool, and a tower connecting to the studio to house visiting bands and musicians on the property.
“It was important for us to preserve all the analog technology that was here, but to also fully incorporate the best digital technology of today,” said Pitt in a recent interview. “Making a desk that incorporates both analog and digital really allows the artist to use the best of both worlds in a fresh and new way. We wanted to create a space where you can be free and it was in that spirit that we approached it. Let’s make a sanctuary.”
Pitt added, “I’m really excited to see what music comes out of here.”
Photo: Sony Music