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David Paich is a prolific musician and songwriter who’s perhaps most well known for writing and co-producing Toto’s classic song, “Africa.” Before David co-founded Toto with drummer Jeff Porcaro in 1977, he was an innovative keyboardist and session player. David honed his chops early growing up in L.A. where he worked under the tutelage of his father Marty Paich—an esteemed composer who worked with artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Mel Tormé.

While in college at USC David started playing keyboard professionally and touring with Sonny & Cher. From there he went on to co-write and play on Boz Scaggs’ multi-platinum album Silk Degrees. He also worked extensively with Quincy Jones, playing on multiple iconic albums including Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bad. All throughout his work as a session musician, David also served as Toto’s principal songwriter and wrote chart-topping hits like “Rosanna,” “Hold The Line,” and of course, “Africa.”

On today’s episode Justin Richmond talks to David Paich about what it was like to be such an accomplished player at such a young age. He shares crazy stories about working with Michael Jackson and Quincy on Thriller, and how he came up with the intro to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” a song written by Toto’s drummer, Jeff Porcaro. He also plays parts from some of the best songs he’s written, and talks about how they came to be.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite David Paich songs HERE.

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