Rick Nowels On Helping Lana Del Rey Achieve Her Vision And Writing Songs For Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ Album

Mike Wass | June 11, 2015 3:09 pm
Lana Del Rey's "Shades Of Cool" Video
Lana Del Rey's "Shades Of Cool" video is a riveting portrait of faded glamor. Watch now.

Rick Nowels has been writing and producing hits since the ’80s (Stevie Nicks’ “I Can’t Wait” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” are two of the gems in his discography), but he’s enjoying a critical and commercial revival thanks to his association with Lana Del Rey. The Grammy winner talks about their many collaborations in a new interview with SongwriterUniverse, describing the gloomy diva as “a future legend.”

“I felt completely simpatico with her vision,” Nowels says. “I love and understand the records that inspired her. The first song we wrote was called ‘TV In Black & White.’ The second song we wrote was ‘Summertime Sadness.’ I felt it was a career song. I realized she was an amazing songwriter and lyricist.” He went on to co-wrote three songs on Born To Die and has returned for all of Lana’s subsequent projects.

“She is a one of a kind artist and keeps growing,” the hitmaker continues. “She’s such a natural writer and singer and has a real vision for who she is and what she wants to put out into the world. I think she will be a future legend.” Speaking of legends, Nowels also spoke about working on Madonna’s seminal Ray Of Light album. “I always wanted to work with Madonna,” he says. “I loved her voice, her songwriting, and the great records she made with Pat Leonard, Stephen Bray and Nile Rodgers.”

“In 1997 I was in New York for the Grammys,” the songwriter/producer recounts. “I was up for Album of the Year for Celine Dion’s Falling Into You. I was in Barney’s getting a tie for the Grammys and I saw Madonna there. I introduced myself, and I told her that she didn’t get the credit she deserved as a songwriter. Which is true, but it’s also an awkward thing to tell a huge superstar! She was very cool and gracious. I ended up getting a meeting with her in L.A. a few weeks later.”

“We wrote nine songs together — three made the Ray Of Light album: ‘The Power of Goodbye,’ ‘Little Star’ and ‘To Have and Not To Hold’,” Nowels explains. “It was a career-changing experience for me. Before that I had always done my co-writing with friends. But working with Madonna… it was the first time I had ever written one-on-one with a great artist/writer. After that I changed gears a little, and now I mostly collaborate directly with artists.”

Revisit some of Rick Nowels’ many hits below:

[Via SongwriterUniverse].

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