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Thursday, July 11, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Songwriters Sue Producer for $210,000

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (CN) - Two songwriters say music producer Narada Walden cheated them of more than $200,000 in royalties. Rappers J. La-Rue and Skyler Jett claim Walden pocketed their earnings for 20 years.

J. La-Rue (Jarvis Baker) claims Walden and his company, Gratitude Sky Music, owe him $125,440 in royalties. Skyler Jett (Kevin Smith) claims he's owed $84,333. They sued Walden and Gratitude Sky Music in Marin County Court.

Baker and Smith say they co-wrote an unspecified number of songs while working for Walden's company, Tarpan Studios, between 1989 and 1995. Defendant Gratitude Sky Publishing is a Tarpan subsidiary, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs say their songs have been recorded by a variety or musicians, including Tevin Campbell, Shanice Williams, Al Jarreau and Eddie Murphy.

They say Nielsen SoundScan reported that more than 4.3 million recordings of their song have been sold in the U.S. and Canada alone. They say that international sales doubled that number.

The songwriters say they found out about the missing royalties in November 2007, when a former Walden employee "inadvertently uncovered" evidence of Walden's "improprieties."

Walden admitted to pocketing the plaintiffs' royalties when the unnamed former employee confronted him, the lawsuit states. The plaintiffs say Walden fired the employee "very soon after the foregoing discussion."

Smith and Baker say that when they confronted him, Walden offered to pay them $460.

Smith and Baker say Walden owes them at least $210,000.

They are represented by Jon Duman.

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