We love great tracks, be it electronic dance music or mainstream pop music. In the recent times, a lot of work is being put into crossing genres (also cross-marketing genres) in the music industry. We’re talking about both Avicii and Tiesto trying to break in into the Chinese market with unlikely collaborations, as well as Jack Ü (aka Skrillex and Diplo) riding the radio airwaves with their Justin Bieber track.
By the looks of it, many more creative team-ups are coming our way, starting with K-Pop idol girl group 2NE1 leader CL’s US solo debut, which will consist of some Diplo masterpieces. We already got a taste of “Dr. Pepper“, after all 🙂
But we digress.
While we’re on the topic of DJ/producer and artiste collaborations, did you know that there were some DJs/producers who chose to work behind-the-scenes in the past? You would be surprised to find out who worked on what because some of these names didn’t actually appear anywhere else (read: song title) except for maybe the credits. And even that’s a little on the down low as the DJs/producers were credited under their real names, not their stage names.
Here are 7 times a DJ/producer made a song for a pop artiste:
1. BT for N’Sync
In 2001, BT told MTV that he was at first a little hesitant when N’Sync members JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake approached him to work on some music. But he was sold the moment Justin told him, “You can do whatever the hell you want to our vocals. Anything.” So, BT took him up on the offer, and he did whatever the hell he wanted. He spent 2 weeks working on their vocals, trying 40 different treatments, using special equipment usually reserved for movie sound effects.
And the result was “Pop”, released in 2001. Listen to it below:
2. David Guetta for The Black Eyed Peas
It took nearly 20 years before David Guetta finally stumbled upon his breakthrough hit with The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”. In an interview with The Guardian, he said, “That changed everything. I Gotta Feeling really changed the game and opened the doors for dance music in America. They started to play it for the first time on the radio, so not only did I cross over, but my entire scene crossed over. It was pretty exciting.” 2009’s “I Gotta Feeling” turned out so well, it cinched multiple awards and went on to stay stuck in our heads till this day.
Turn this one up, because it’s good:
3. Christian Karlsson (Galantis) for Britney Spears
We know, right? Galantis for Britney Spears? Most unlikely combo ever! This one actually took a bit of research because “Toxic” was produced under the name of a duo called Bloodshy & Avant. Bloodshy being Christian Karlsoon, who also happens to be one-half of electro house and big room duo Galantis. Christian co-wrote the Britney Spears song, which eventually earned an Ivor Novello award (for songwriting and composition) and a Grammy award for “Best Dance Recording”. It’s addictive! And of course, there was also the super crazy music video for “Toxic” that we shamelessly/secretly love.
4. Zedd for Justin Bieber
Within 24 hours of the release of “Beauty And A Beat” on Vevo, it garnered 10.6 million views, surpassing the record held by One Direction’s “Live While We’re Young” clip . It could be because of its “leaked music video” concept, or it could just be due its catchy, pounding pop tune courtesy of young DJ/producer Zedd. Zedd told MTV, “I made the song and I didn’t know who to give it to. And Bieber was actually the first, or his people hit us up. They heard the song and they were like, ’Please, let’s try it out.’ And I wasn’t convinced at first, to be completely honest. But then it started with the fact that he was early in the studio, which just never happens – like never happens. And then he was just extremely fast. He nailed the song in an hour and sounded amazing. And then it was no question for me. I don’t need to try someone else out if I know this is right.”
You can hear Zedd’s signature sound in “Beauty And A Beat”, released in 2012. Check it out:
5. Swedish House Mafia for Usher
The truth is, we miss Swedish House Mafia as much as you do, if not more. Because just about everything that the trio touches turns to gold. In 2012, they produced “Euphoria” alongside Usher, a dance-pop song which included the DJs’ glimmering synths while Usher croons in his coolly-controlled falsetto. Quietly, Swedish House Mafia also helped Usher produce “Numb”, an inspirational song about finding one’s destiny, becoming numb to the negativity, and just following your dreams. Unlike “Euphoria”, Swedish House Mafia wasn’t credited for “Numb” in the song’s title – but the secret’s out now!
The result? A nice cross between dance, electropop, and R&B:
6. Madeon for Lady Gaga
When Lady Gaga first premiered her 80s-sounding anthem “Gypsy” in Germany, it left fans speechless. The song sounded like it came from an incredible production team, just like the rest of her “Artpop” album and true enough, it did. “Gypsy” was co-written by none other than then 19-year-old DJ/producer Madeon. Having worked together, Lady Gaga offered the highest of praise to Madeon, saying, “He is so amazing. He has such an understanding of music at such a young age. He reminds me of myself so much. He’s obsessed, so obsessed with music.” Madeon, too, couldn’t stop gushing about Lady Gaga, calling her amazing and really impressive.
He’s credited for 2013’s “Gypsy” under his real name, Hugo (Pierre) Leclercq. Listen via Lady Gaga’s live performance below:
7. Avicii for Coldplay
Last but not least, the work of one of electronic dance music’s wonderboys, Avicii. He came together with Coldplay frontman to produce “A Sky Full Of Stars”, but not without leaving his “Avicii imprint” all over the song – from the majestic piano lines to the pounding bass drum that propels the song forward, and Martin’s appropriately dramatic vocals that soared over the top of this arena-ready anthem. Upon its release, “A Sky Full of Stars” garnered mostly positive reviews from music critics, and charted inside the top 10 in over 16 countries such as Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Mexico, the UK, and US. It went on to get nominated for “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the 57th Grammy Awards. Released in 2014, “A Sky Full Of Stars” is beautiful, thanks to Avicii’s brilliant production skills, of course.
Sing along to this:
The above are just some of our personal “hidden gems” favourites. Do you have any that you’d like us to check out and perhaps add to the list? Leave a comment in the comments box below 😉