While RedOne (born Nadir Khayat) spoke to high-schoolers about the realities of making it in the music biz, we wanted to know all about Gaga’s new album. Much like he’s done in the past when questioned about the pop star’s new tunes, he tried to keep mum or stay vague — she should feel relieved that the secrets of her songs are safe with him — but we still tried to get it out of him anyway. Can you blame us?
We also discussed Jennifer Lopez’s abilities to multi-task working on a TV show and finishing a new album, and touched on why so many artists are stepping into the club scene. Head below to check out our one-on-one with the Grammy-nominated producer:
Idolator: Congratulations on your two Grammy nominations! Have you already made plans to celebrate?
RedOne: Honestly I have nothing planned like that! To me I feel like I already won that I’m nominated, it’s a big deal for me. If I win, its going to be the biggest bonus, but if I don’t, its okay. I’m happy with everything going on in my life.
You’ve got some phenomenal competition for Producer of the Year. Who would get your vote as the past year’s most noteworthy producer?
Of course Dr. Luke, he’s incredible hitmaker. And Alex Da Kid is this new guy in the game and he’s doing hits. Ari Levine and Philip Lawrence [of The Smeezingtons with Bruno Mars] – anyone can win and deserve it.
You’re producing your third album with Lady Gaga. Her debut LP, The Fame, focused on the superficial, while The Fame Monster was a bit more personal, and a shade darker. What’s the vibe of Born This Way?
Can you elaborate?
No. Is there anything bigger than freedom? Freedom is the biggest word. Freedom is the world, being able to live. It expresses everything. That’s the only word I can put out.
The title track’s lyrics have come out — it’s a long song with a ton of words, which makes us wonder how it will play on the radio. Is “Born This Way” destined to be a “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face”-sized hit for her?
I believe so! I think [Fernando Garibay, DJ White Shadow, White Shadow and Gaga] did an amazing job. They’ve been working on it, perfecting it for awhile. And now it’s ready to be heard… its an incredible song.
You’ve also producing tracks for Jennifer Lopez on her new album Love?, which has been delayed a bit and suffered a bit of bad press with the lukewarm reaction to “Louboutins”. What’s the status of that song?
It’s not on the album, I don’t think… the first [official] single is “On The Floor”. It’s blowing up. It’s an amazing record.
Many think Jennifer signing on as a judge on American Idol is an indication that her recording career is over. What do you think?
She can do it all. That’s the beauty of Jennifer Lopez, a full on artist and global star. She does it all with no problem. And she has a family! I don’t know how she manages to do it all at the same time but she does.
You also produced “More” for Usher, which is heating up the Top 40 right now. What do you think of him moving into a more dance-oriented direction after the success of “OMG” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”?
Usher has his side which is an urban side, but he’s a dancer. And people want to dance when they hit hit songs with a dance beat. If anyone can represent dance as a male artist it’s Usher. Of course he’s doing really well, and it’s working.
I hear you’re producing a club-centric album with U2 as well?
I’ve been working with U2 [but] I don’t know how to define it yet… it’s in the middle [stages]. It’s fun and a big experience for me. Bono is the king.
Why do you think so many artists nowadays are moving into the dance genre?
It all started with Gaga. The dance movement stated with Gaga. It opens a lot of doors to every new act. People want to dance and feel good… And it’s cool and gets cooler and cooler. Everything we did affected the world and changed music and affected history.
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Watch the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday (and tune into our live blog!) to see if RedOne nabs a trophy for Producer of the Year and Album of the Year for The Fame Monster.