Sam Smith Records James Bond ‘Spectre’ Theme

Sam Smith Spectre "The Writing's On The Wall 2015

In a statement released this morning, Sam Smith stated, “This is one of the highlights of my career. I am honored to finally announce that I will be singing the next Bond theme song. I am so excited to be a part of this iconic British legacy and join an incredible line up of some of my biggest musical inspirations. I hope you all enjoy the song as much as I enjoyed making it.”

Smith co-wrote the song with his fellow Grammy winner Jimmy Napes. He will be the first British male solo artist to perform a Bond theme song since 1965 whenTom Jones performed the theme from Thunderball.

In the press release from Sony, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: “Sam and Jimmy have written the most inspirational song for Spectre and with Sam’s extraordinary vocal performance, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ will surely be considered one of the greatest Bond songs of all time.”

Capitol Records will release “Writing’s On The Wall” on Sept. 25. Spectre, the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, will be released Oct. 26 in the U.K. and Nov. 6 in the U.S.

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Hozier Covers Sam Smith’s ‘Lay Me Down’ on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge

Hozier visited BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge and turned Sam Smith’s ballad Lay me down into a dance jam.

After the video hit the web, the two stars had a love fest on twitter.

Disclosure Wants To Be Bigger Than Dance Music

Some artists consistently excel at one thing, while others churn through disparate phases over the course of a career. With their ambitious, pop-oriented second album, the electronic music wunderkinds of Disclosure declare themselves members the latter group. But will massive dance crowds still be moved?

Originally Posted on BuzzFeed

Guy and Howard Lawrence, who started making electronic music as Disclosure when they were still in their teens, settled on the genre for the same reason that many teenagers choose their extracurricular activities: They wanted to do what would make them seem cool. The two brothers from the London suburb of Surrey, now 24 and 21, respectively, come from a musical family — their father was a guitarist in rock bands in the ‘80s and their mother sang jingles and performed on cruises — but it was the avant-garde music of London clubs in the late ‘00s (Burial, Joy Orbison) that first gave shape to their own artistic ambitions.

“If we were going to write songs together, we were just looking for the freshest way to present them,” Guy, who is clean-shaven and extroverted, told me recently when I visited him and Howard, who is aloof with a scruffy beard, at a tony, high-rise hotel in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Both brothers started playing instruments as children — Guy the drums and Howard the bass — and share an easy and quietly intimate bond reminiscent of twins. “I would go to these clubs in the early days of dubstep and it was just the most exciting thing happening at the moment, like nothing you’d ever heard.”

Disclosure’s 2013 debut album, Settle, drew from the astral, moody music of the London underground but pushed it toward the light, using the more immediately gratifying tempos of house music and incorporating pop vocals. The result, a 14-song instant party featuring a catch-a-rising-star roster of vocalists including Jessie Ware, AlunaGeorge, and a then-unknown Sam Smith, made the Lawrence brothers vastly more successful than their heroes, and established them as the babyfaced darlings of an international dance music revival. Settle sold 1.6 million albums worldwide, generated over 300 million streams on Spotify, and was nominated for a Grammy (its biggest single “Latch,” featuring Smith, cracked the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified triple platinum).

Partly to reconcile with their heterogeneous musical upbringing, and partly to leapfrog a wave of soundalikes that rode in on their wake, the Lawrences decided to recalibrate on their new album, Caracal, out Sept. 25 from Capitol. They wanted to prove that they could make not just great dance music, but great music, period.

“We didn’t grow up listening to house,” says Guy, citing his and his brother’s pre-club love of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. “Even though we love it, we know loads of different types of music and there are still loads of different things we want to try.”

Caracal eschews the handful of sample-based floor-fillers like “When A Fire Starts To Burn” and “Grab Her!” that gave Settle its crackling heat, replacing them with wall-to-wall, verse-chorus pop songs made in studio with singer-songwriters like The Weeknd, Lorde, and Miguel. The collection is an impressive achievement by any measure, but, as Disclosure readies for its biggest shows to date at New York’s Madison Square Garden and the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena this fall, the album’s slower tempo may befuddle fans who were primarily in it for the party. That’s OK with the Lawrences. “We make music very selfishly,” Guy says.

You have a rule on your albums that you only work with artists who you can physically get into a studio with, which is not the way that a lot of contemporary music is made. Why is that so important?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, we don’t ever send beats to anyone. If people want to write a song with us, than we have to meet up. That’s how we do it. It’s important to us because of the way we write. Loads of producers make beats and stuff but they don’t write lyrics and they don’t write toplines [melodies and lyrics], whereas we do, so it’s like if we want the singer on the track, we don’t want to just tell them what to sing, but we don’t want to just let them decide what to sing either, we want to do it together. I think doing it over email or doing it over the internet works for some people, but it doesn’t work for us. You lose that soul that we try and get in our music, that sort of classic songwriting that’s produced in a fresh way.

How do you choose who you invite to collaborate?

Howard Lawrence: We don’t just look for people who are good singers, we look for people who are good writers and nice people as well. We won’t work with people with a big ego or anything, we just wouldn’t get on. To us it makes no difference if someone’s big or small. We’ve got Sam Smith, and Lorde, and The Weekend, but we’ve also got Jordan Rakei, who’s got 400 followers on Twitter.

Guy: I think he’s got quite a lot now, actually, like 20,000. [Editor’s note: It’s a little over 4,000 as of late August.] But yeah, relatively unknown. We’ve got people like Kwabs and Nao, who haven’t released full albums yet; we’re all about supporting acts like that. Because they’re just hungry, you know, they wanna work. They just wanna give and give. Sometimes if you work with big stars, they’re just there and you tell them what to sing. That’s not what we’re about. But acts like The Weeknd, and Lorde, and Sam, and Miguel, they’re all still so hungry.

Lorde’s a great example. We knew she was a great singer and we knew she was lovely as a person, but we didn’t know she was such an incredible writer. When we did this collab, she was so involved in every little thing. Not just the lyrics and the melody, but after we’d finished the song we sent it to her and she sent us this big list of stuff she wanted to change and all these little details you can’t hear in the lyrics, in the drums or in the synths. It’s cool. She pushed the song an extra 10%. It was the only time we’ve ever really done that with an artist, they usually kind of leave the production to us.

A lot of mainstream electronic music sounds like Settle now. It seems like if you turn on the radio in the U.K., everything is “deep house.” How did you approach following that up?

Guy: We just did what we wanted to, really. When we made the last album, people now look at it and say, ‘Oh yeah, that brought house music back to the radio.’ Especially in the U.K., it brought forward all of these acts. But when we made it, that wasn’t its purpose — we just wrote music that we like. Now that house music’s back, it would be very predictable to make a solid album of just house. Why would we do that when we’ve already done it? The purpose is just to push things forward. We always want to do something forward-thinking and challenge ourselves.

Howard: That’s the main thing. It’s not like we’re pushing forward the scene. We don’t set off when we’re writing a song to push the scene forward, we’re just pushing ourselves. We want to outdo what we’ve already done.

“We’re just doing what we want, and it’s like, come with us if you want to hear it.”

Guy: You hear house music on the radio all the time now and that’s great, I’m glad the record helped to bring that forward. But now that’s done, let’s try something else. Let’s bring R&B back [laughs]. It’s only when you look back at what you’ve done, that’s when we realized, Oh that’s what it was for. We don’t really know what it was for, we just write music.

Another thing to remember is all this music on the radio as well, these house songs that are getting to number one or whatever and then they just disappear. They’re all kind of one-hit wonders. The artists behind them, 99% of them aren’t going to put an album out next or whatever. They’re just getting signed and getting played on the radio thanks to these big hits they’ve just made. I think people respect the fact that we’re an album act and a live act. We’re here to stay. We’re not just delivering what the radio wants at that time. We’re just doing what we want and it’s like, come with us if you want to hear it.

The album format seems to come to you guys naturally, but many great dance music artists never make great albums.

Guy: If you’re a producer or especially if you’re a DJ, you don’t need to write an album. You can get bookings forever — just release a couple of EPs a year, put a song up here and there, you can get any DJ bookings. And that’s fine. But the songwriting for us is what’s important. It doesn’t matter if it’s dance music or not, it could be any format. We just enjoy writing songs.

Howard: I think the majority of dance music producers come to it because they start DJing. That’s how that get into dance music; they become DJs and then think “Oh, I can make some tracks to play in my set.” Whereas we came to it from a musicians point of view, as did someone like James Blake, you know. He found dance music later in his life, and you come to it with a different perspective on the whole thing.

Guy: It’s a very different way of getting into it and it effects massively what you make, and I’m still yet to meet someone who had the same exact background that we have, being a drummer and a bassist and listening to all that and then just getting into dance music and that’s the genre you get into. It’s definitely rare.

There are more midtempo moments on Caracal.

Guy: Yeah. There’s a bigger tempo range, and if you took an average of all of it, it would be a bit slower. Probably around 110 BPM.

One of the consequences of that, though, is maybe you don’t have the same huge, cathartic dance-floor moment on every song on the album.

Guy: Maybe. But I think when I watch a live act… When I watch a DJ, I get it — it’s gotta be the same. You want the beats to maintain [a certain tempo]. But when you watch us, we’re like a band. [In Disclosure’s live show, Guy plays an electronic drum kit, while Howard plays bass and keyboard]. We play a song and we stop and we have a chat and we play a song and we stop. It’s nice to have those peaks and troughs in a show. You don’t go watch a band play like [gestures as if drumming in a tight, rapid-fire pattern] the whole time. They do a jam, they slow it down, they speed it up. We wanna be more like that, you know?

Howard: Everything that we do, everything that we do, except for having electronic drums, is like things that a band would do. The only thing that makes us perceived as dance music is electronic instruments. I think as a songwriter, forgetting the production aspect of it, it would be such an obscure thing to only write at one tempo for your whole career. Songwriters don’t do that. Imagine if every song on Thriller was exactly the same tempo. You need the freedom to change tempos so that you can do different melodies.

Does it concern you, though? The fact that you might evolve in a way that alienates you from big dance crowds?

“The only thing that makes us perceived as dance music is that we use electronic instruments.”

Guy: No, no.

Howard: No, it’s something that we really respect in other bands. All of my favorite acts ever have made an album at some point that I didn’t like. And that’s because to be really innovative and make really good music you have to just try different stuff. It’s like Prince — he’s one of the most prolific songwriters ever. He’s made some of my favorite songs ever. But some of his records I don’t like at all. And that’s great. For someone to have that versatility I think is great.

Howard, one of your songs from the album, “Jaded,” is about electronic acts who use ghostwriters and ghost producers, which happens to be a hot-button issue at the moment. What did you make of the Drake/Meek Mill situation?

Howard: I’ve only just started reading about it. Meek said Drake doesn’t write his own rhymes?

Yes.

Howard: I think working with people is fine, but if it gets to the point where you’re basically paying someone else to do your job, that’s just kind of stupid. Especially for producers. When they’re not singing it, writing it, or producing it, it’s like, well what have you done? You haven’t done anything.

Guy: If [Drake’s] not doing any of it, that kinda sucks. But if he’s crediting that guy, if he’s doing interviews like this and talking about it, cool. We work with loads of artists and with [songwriter and Sam Smith collaborator] Jimmy Napes, but we mention Jimmy in like every interview and big him up. I just think when it gets covered up, it’s a bit sad. I love Drake, though. That new fucking cell phone tune [“Hotline Bling”] is just sick.

Howard, you’re a singer and a songwriter; and Guy, you’re primarily a producer. Could you see yourselves pursuing those things separately at any point?

Howard: Yeah, we do to a certain extent anyway. Guy’s produced for some hip-hop artists and I did some writing on Sam’s album and with Lianne La Havas. But I think all of the stuff that we’d like to do separately is so different from Disclosure that we’ll always do Disclosure and just do that stuff as well. I don’t think there would ever be a need for Disclosure to stop.

Guy: It’d be later down the line, as well. Probably when we’ve run out of ideas for ourselves we’ll just start giving them to someone else [laughs]. It’s definitely something we’d like to do, for sure. There’s loads of stuff out there. Classical music, for instance, or I’d love to write some music for a film — stuff like that. But I wanna do that from my nice house in the country.

Billboard Music Awards 2015 – Complete Nominations List!

The complete list of 2015 Billboard Music Awards finalists has arrived!

Taylor Swift got  14 nods, followed by Sam Smith (13), Iggy Azalea (12), and Meghan Trainor(nine).

The 2015 Billboard Music Awards is on ABC on Sunday, May 17 at 8pm ET.

TOP ARTIST
Ariana Grande
One Direction
Katy Perry
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift

TOP NEW ARTIST
5 Seconds of Summer
Iggy Azalea
Hozier
Sam Smith
Meghan Trainor

TOP MALE ARTIST
Drake
Pharrell Williams
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Justin Timberlake

TOP FEMALE ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
Ariana Grande
Katy Perry
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

TOP DUO/GROUP
5 Seconds of Summer
Florida Georgia Line
MAGIC!
Maroon 5
One Direction

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ARTIST
One Direction
Pentatonix
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift

TOP HOT 100 ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
Ariana Grande
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

TOP DIGITAL SONGS ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

TOP RADIO SONGS ARTIST
John Legend
Maroon 5
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift

TOP TOURING ARTIST
Lady Gaga
One Direction
Katy Perry
The Rolling Stones
Justin Timberlake

TOP SOCIAL ARTIST
Justin Bieber
Miley Cyrus
Selena Gomez
Ariana Grande
Taylor Swift

TOP STREAMING ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
Ariana Grande
Nicki Minaj
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

TOP R&B ARTIST
Beyoncé
Chris Brown
John Legend
Trey Songz
Pharrell Williams

TOP RAP ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
J. Cole
Drake
Nicki Minaj
Rae Sremmurd

TOP COUNTRY ARTIST
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Florida Georgia Line
Brantley Gilbert
Blake Shelton

TOP ROCK ARTIST
Bastille
Coldplay
Fall Out Boy
Hozier
Lorde

TOP LATIN ARTIST
J Balvin
Juan Gabriel
Enrique Iglesias
Prince Royce
Romeo Santos

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC ARTIST
Avicii
Clean Bandit
Disclosure
Calvin Harris
Lindsey Stirling

TOP CHRISTIAN ARTIST
Casting Crowns
Hillsong United
Lecrae
MercyMe
Newsboys

TOP BILLBOARD 200 ALBUM
Maroon 5, V
Pentatonix, That’s Christmas to Me
Ed Sheeran, x
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Taylor Swift, 1989

TOP SOUNDTRACK
The Fault in Our Stars
Fifty Shades of Grey
Frozen
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix: Vol. 1
Into the Woods

TOP R&B ALBUM
Beyoncé, Beyoncé
Chris Brown, X
Michael Jackson, Xscape
John Legend, Love in the Future
Pharrell Williams, G I R L

TOP RAP ALBUM
J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2

TOP COUNTRY ALBUM
Jason Aldean, Old Boots, New Dirt
Garth Brooks, Man Against Machine
Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am
Miranda Lambert, Platinum

TOP ROCK ALBUM
AC/DC, Rock or Bust
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
Coldplay, Ghost Stories
Hozier, Hozier
Lorde, Pure Heroine

TOP LATIN ALBUM
Juan Gabriel, Los Dúo
Enrique Iglesias, Sex and Love
Romeo Santos, Formula: Vol. 2
Santana, Corazon
Marc Anthony, 3.0

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM
Avicii, True
Disclosure, Settle
Calvin Harris, Motion
Skrillex, Recess
Lindsey Stirling, Shatter Me

TOP CHRISTIAN ALBUM
Lecrae, Anomaly
Casting Crowns, Thrive
MercyMe, Welcome to the New
NEEDTOBREATHE, Rivers in the Wasteland
Chris Tomlin, Love Ran Red

TOP HOT 100 SONG
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

TOP DIGITAL SONG
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy

TOP RADIO SONG
John Legend, “All of Me”
MAGIC!, “Rude”
Nico & Vinz, “Am I Wrong”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy

TOP STREAMING SONG (AUDIO)
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Hozier, “Take Me to Church”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Tove Lo, “Habits (Stay High)”

TOP STREAMING SONG (VIDEO)
Idina Menzel, “Let It Go”
Bobby Shmurda, “Hot Boy”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

TOP R&B SONG
Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne, French Montana, Too $hort & Tyga, “Loyal”
Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
Jeremih feat. YG, “Don’t Tell ‘Em”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

TOP RAP SONG
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora, “Black Widow”
Big Sean feat. E-40, “I Don’t F— With You”
Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
Bobby Shmurda, “Hot Boy”

TOP COUNTRY SONG
Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”
Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”
Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan, “This Is How We Roll”
Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”

TOP ROCK SONG
Bastille, “Pompeii”
Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”
Fall Out Boy, “Centuries”
Hozier, “Take Me to Church”
Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”

TOP LATIN SONG
J Balvin feat. Farruko, “6 AM”
Enrique Iglesias feat. Descemer Bueno & Gente de Zona, “Bailando”
Romeo Santos, “Eres Mía”
Romeo Santos feat. Drake, “Odio”
Romeo Santos, “Propuesta Indecente”

TOP DANCE/ELECTRONIC SONG
Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be”
Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, “Latch”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, “Break Free”
Calvin Harris, “Summer”

TOP CHRISTIAN SONG
Francesca Battistelli, “He Knows My Name”
Hillsong United, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”
MercyMe, “Greater”
Newsboys, “We Believe”
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”

BILLBOARD CHART ACHIEVEMENT AWARD PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG GALAXY (FAN-VOTED)
Iggy Azalea
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

Sam Smith & John Legend, No Direction Show Support for Red Nose Day– Watch

Just days after releasing their duet of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” for charity, Smith and John Legend appeared at Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day event to perform the track live.

Another highlight from the event included the One Direction tribute band, No Direction. The “group” performed in 1D’s absence. No Direction included Vic Reeves as Harry Styles, Nick Helm as Zayn Malik, Patrick Kielty as Niall Horan, Johnny Vegas as Liam Payne and Jack Dee as Louis Tomlinson. The real Styles called them “the greatest One Direction tribute band of all time.”

5 Hit Songwriters Talk “Blurred Lines,” Creativity And Copyright

In the wake of the $7.3 million “Blurred Lines” verdict, songwriters for Beyoncé, Sam Smith, Bruno Mars, and more talk candidly with BuzzFeed News about the trouble with copyright law and the inevitability of influence.

Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, Disclosure)

On where he gets his inspiration:

It’s a lot easier to get inspired by the greats than it is to get inspired by quite a large proportion of modern-day pop music. Carole King and Burt Bacharach are the people I really look to in terms of crafting a song and what it really takes to make a great record. I like to work and rework songs until the point where every element feels right, even before you put production on it and make it more radio-friendly or whatever.

You do have to sort of isolate yourself, because if you’re trying to create something inspired and original, it doesn’t really make sense to be listening to pop radio every day. The worst thing you can do is repeat something that’s already been done. It just feels wrong and tired. You want to do something fresh and exciting, which is why we make music in the first place.

On being accused of copying elements of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” for Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning 2014 hit “Stay With Me”:

It’s obviously not ideal, and I was shocked to find out that the melodies lined up. It wasn’t intentional, but at the same time there’s 12 notes on the keyboard and unfortunately sometimes things do overlap. But where I really get my buzz from is concepts, and conceptually “Stay With Me” is so refreshing because it feels like a piece of work that’s quite classic, but at the same time, I don’t think many people have written a song like that about having a one-night stand. It sounds old-fashioned, but it’s very contemporary lyrically, which is why I think it worked.

On the “Blurred Lines” verdict:

I was quite surprised, because I didn’t feel like it was justified, personally. It’s just my opinion, but I didn’t feel like he’d ripped off the song. They’d obviously been inspired by it, but I was a bit disappointed to hear the verdict, to be honest, because it just didn’t add up to me. If you’re gonna say he was inspired by that record, but actually none of the melodies or chords or anything line up, but he’s still broken the rules somehow, all of a sudden you start looking at anyone who’s ever sampled an Amen break. The Beatles could make a lot of claims on that basis. So it’s hard to draw the line, isn’t it? I think you have to be very, very specific about what justifies [an infringement claim] and I personally didn’t hear it there.

On originality in contemporary pop:

There’s a lot of copying that goes on in pop music, but there’s so much great original stuff, as well, and a lot of it is being made right now. Hozier is a great example. When I first heard “Take Me to Church” I was just so impressed with everything about it, the lyrics everything. I remember looking straight away trying to find out Who wrote this song? because the quality was just so high. So yeah, there is music that’s derivative, but then there’s also excellence all the time, as well.

On whether copyright law helps creators more than it hurts them:

I think there’s an argument for both sides, isn’t there? If I heard someone who had ripped off one of my songs, I wouldn’t feel great about it. It’s not a cool thing and I would want to be compensated for that. But equally there’s that saying “Where there’s a hit, there’s a writ,” which I’ve learned about recently. There are people who scour the top five looking for similarities as a sort of calculated business. So I think there’s an argument to be made that you can never justify stealing anyone’s music, but at the same time, sometimes I feel like people can take things a little bit too far.

Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, Bruno Mars, FKA Twigs, Eminem)

On where he gets his inspiration:

I grew up making hip-hop music and I come from a really sample-driven background — early ’90s East Coast hip-hop. So I was always into digging for records and looking for samples. That made me really get into soul music, jazz music, and also weird psych-rock records, and Italian disco records. It was always for samples in hip-hop, but I got obsessed with different instruments and genres of music and I apply that to what I do now.

On borrowing from the past:

I never want to copy anything or just do quote-unquote “retro” sounding music, but I’ve pulled from pretty much every genre of music over time and applied it to what I do. I don’t really like when things are overly retro or forced to where it sounds like an attempt to re-create the past; I’m never really into that. But I do like using certain aesthetics and principles that were around before I was born. For one thing, I just think the late ’60s, early ’70s was the best music ever made. There was a sweet spot, for me at least, between 1968 and 1973 where you just had the greatest music — the sound, the way it was recorded, everything about it was just phenomenal.

In the studio, though, I’d rather be talking about the emotion and what the singer is writing about and going through in life than talking about specific music references. If someone came to me and said they wanted to make something that sounds like 1972 I’d be pretty bummed, ya know? I tend to stay away from those conversations. Everybody has their favorite sound, and favorite tone, and classic albums that really inspire them, but I don’t really like to talk about it too much. I don’t dig it when artists come in and are like, “I really wanna do like a Kate Bush thing.” For me it’s like, that’s just not really gonna happen.

On “Blurred Lines” and subconscious influence:

There’s only so many chord progressions and a lot of songs that sound alike. [With “Blurred Lines”] I can’t imagine that anybody sat down and was like “I want to do something that sounds exactly like this.” These things just happen. If you look throughout history there are so many songs that sound similar and I do think it can be a real coincidence. Unless it’s a sample, I’ve never seen anybody like straight copy a song intentionally, but I do think it happens subconsciously, it happens through coincidence, and it’s always going to happen. It really only comes into play, though, when the newer song is a massive hit like “Blurred Lines.” I’m pretty sure there’s cases we don’t hear about for every No. 1 record.

When you write songs you just have stuff stuck in your head, and I would imagine most of that comes from a weird, warped version of something you’ve heard in the past. It’s just your own take on it. I don’t think it’s a conscious thing, but I do think that’s music and that’s art. Whether you’re painting, or playing the piano, or singing a melody, you have all these things from your past swimming around in your subconscious and, whether you like it or not, you channel them.

On catching yourself copying:

I’ve had times where I’ve completely ripped off something by accident and realized it later or someone told me, “Hey that sounds like such-and-such song,” and I go, “Oh shit, you’re right! That didn’t come to me in a dream, that came to me because I just like that song and I ripped it off.” And then you’ve gotta shit-can it before it gets too late.

Ricky Reed of Wallpaper (Jason Derulo, Fifth Harmony, Pitbull)

On borrowing from the greats:

It can be very hard making music when you feel like everything’s been done … But the originators of Rhythm and Blues were pulling from the New Orleans jazz sound, and the originators of rock ‘n’ roll were pulling from rhythm and blues, and you had the white rock ‘n’ rollers pulling from the black rock ‘n’ rollers, and disco was derived from funk; so it’s a chain that’s been going on since popular music began. For me, personally, I do my best to try and always be pushing forward. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people pulling from the great songs of the past, by any means. That’s music.

On inspiration vs. imitation:

Me and all of the writers and producers I know, we hold all of these legends in such high regard, not only do we of course not want to get sued, but we also don’t want to disrespect the artists that we grew up listening to. That’s really important to the community.

On accidentally copying Fatboy Slim:

I had a Cobra Starship song featuring Icona Pop called “Never Been in Love.” We wrote this whole song and everyone was loving it and somewhere along the line someone said, “You know what, the keyboards in this sound like the chord progression from a Fatboy Slim song. What song was that? I can’t remember. Oh well.” And we just kept working. We finished the song and the ball started rolling on it. Both artists raised their hand and said they wanted the song for their project. But then when that time came the publisher was like, “OK, we’re actually going to have to pay [Fatboy Slim] because this is the exact same chord progression from their song ‘Praise You.’” We were like “Oh, shit. Fair enough!” And it was true, even the rhythms and the harmonies, everything. A musicologist could have looked at it and said, “This is too similar.” We were having so much fun, we didn’t even stop and google it.

On the “Blurred Lines” verdict:

I think the system does a great job of protecting the copyrights that are in place for songs that other artists are inspired by or sample. But the “Blurred Lines” case makes me a little nervous because those songs aren’t really musically related in any way when it comes to the chords or the melodies. There’s nothing similar aside from the good feeling that it gives you when you listen to it. That for me is pretty scary because it could open up a whole floodgate of people being like, “Well, this song kinda feels like this old song.” What’s made music great for generations and generations is that young musicians are inspired by the old dogs and make records that show their influence. If people start suing based on a feeling, that will be a dark day for creators.

I would hate to see lawsuits make things harder for producers and songwriters. The funny thing is, a lot of times musician-to-musician, we respect one another. The village elders, so to speak, respect the up-and-coming cats and vice-versa. If it was up to us, we would probably sort things out most times. But people bring in publishers, and lawyers, and estates, and all this kind of stuff and it becomes a money thing. That’s when it gets scary.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Taiwo Hassan of Christian Rich (Earl Sweatshirt, Childish Gambino, J. Cole)

On “Blurred Lines” and the constraints of pop:

There’s only 12 scales in music; there’s only so many chords and so many arrangements, so you’re bound to run into other people’s ideas. The thing about the “Blurred Lines” case is the lyrics and most of the production weren’t taken into account, which seems wrong to me. Personally, I can’t believe they lost that case. It’s baffling.

[As a songwriter] you just have to focus on being creative and not think too much about what other people are doing. Do what you do, then you can go back and ask whether it sounds too similar to something else. But in general, I’m all for just putting out dope, creative stuff and dealing with the madness later.

On inspiration vs. imitation:

When Mustard came out, those guys who did [Iggy Azalea’s] “Fancy” song were obviously copying him. That was obvious. No shade to those producers, because I think it’s an incredible song, but it was obvious they just listened to him and said “Oh let’s make a song like that and just get a big hook on it.”

But on the other side of it, as a songwriter, you have all these musical references in your head from when you were 10 years old. So, for example, when I’m making a beat or writing a song, I have Michael Jackson melodies in my head sometimes. I might end up writing something that feels like Michael Jackson, but it’s just inspiration. And there’s a difference between inspiration and copying. The law should know how to differentiate between the two.

It’s impossible to avoid being influenced. When you’re 2 or 3 years old, you don’t even know that you’re listening to Phil Collins or Genesis in the background. If you do a record 30 years later, you don’t realize you got that feeling, those ideas from Genesis. You’re just making music.

That shit happens all the time to everyone. They can’t even remember where they got the idea from, it’s just in the air. The only way to avoid it is to quit doing music and go and do something else.

The-Dream (Beyoncé, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Usher)

On inspiration vs. imitation:

In my household growing up, it was Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke, and Michael, and Prince — that stuff has a way of getting into your head. My head is kind of like a jukebox, but I think it only puts me in the realm of greats. I never bite anything. I’m definitely inspired [when it comes to] what I think a hit should do and how it should move you, but I try to make sure that I’m pushing the envelope, even if I have to fail three times to get there.

It’s a conscious effort to stay pure, and clean, and new as an artist. There’s nothing new under the sun, as my grandfather always said, but there is such a thing as being original in how you pull the notes from the stars.

On being copied:

There’s definitely a lot [of people who sound like me], whether it’s the way I say certain things or the tone that’s used, or an “Ayy” here and there. I understand that how I used it is how someone else is using it. Somebody will call me and say, “Hey, did you do this song?” And I’ll say, “No.” And they’ll say, “Well you should have, or you should have someone call them.” But no, it’s no biggie to me. It’s definitely flattering and I really appreciate it as long as it doesn’t go too far where it’s just another song of mine.

But sometimes [copying] helps the culture get to the next thing. “Umbrella” started a trend of a whole bunch of analogy songs about love, if you think about it. So it helps us get to those songs, and I love some of those songs to death. So I’m happy that it could fuel that particular thing in another songwriter or an artist or whatever.

On why pop has a copying problem:

There’s nothing and no one that really celebrates originality. Not in a pop space. When you’re growing up and the things you see on TV are imitations, you’re going to imitate because that’s what gets you on TV. Nobody celebrates when people do something really new.

And some people need money to pay bills. They may have songs that they love to death but no one else loves, so if they have the ability they go and make a record that sounds like another record. That’s just us as listeners being so close-minded that there’s no place for artistry.

You can say hey let’s go out on a limb and make something that sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before, but truthfully, if you go and play something like that for radio or for a label — they definitely can’t take chances because they’re not making money. There are only a few of us who are really in a position to push things forward.

On sampling from the greats:

There’s certain people that we’ve asked for certain things and they’re like, “Nah, we’re not giving you that,” and we’re like, “OK, well cool and we make something new.” It’s fine. It’s no big deal.

And there’s certain people who are just happy that you even remembered them. They’re like, “Sure, man. Go ahead and put that on the bridge if you want to.”

I remember on my first album Love/Hate we had a record called “Ditch That.” In the bridge going into the next song, we put a little of the “The Humpty Dance” record in it. It was crazy — we were trying to bring that ’90s urban pop sound back. And it was just us paying homage, it wasn’t that we had a lack of ideas. But they were like, “No, you can’t use it.” So we went, “OK, cool.” And now you don’t miss it in the record. You would never know.

originally posted on BuzzFeed News

Sam Smith and John Legend Duet on ‘Lay Me Down’ for Charity

In support of the Comic Relief‘s Red Nose Day, Smith and Legend released the new recording and its accompanying music video on Monday.

“‘Lay Me Down’ holds a very special place in my heart. Not only did I perform it at the Brits, I’m now going to perform it live on the Red Nose Day show with the extremely talented John Legend, which is so exciting,” Sam said in a statement. “I recently visited a Comic Relief funded project in my home town, which supports the young LGBT community in London. I’m extremely proud that my single will help raise money for projects like this and many others in the U.K. and across Africa.”

“Sam is such a talented artist,” John added, singing the “Latch” singer’s praises. “We’ve been looking forward to working together for a while now. I’m so glad we could collaborate on such a great song and for such a great cause.”

This Mash Up ‘Thinking Out Loud,’ ‘I’m Not the Only One’ Is EVERYTHING

YouTube singing sensation Sam Tsui partnered with Casey Breves to gift the world with this amazing mash-up of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One.”

In this simple music video, Tsui flexes his vocals for Ed’s “Thinking Out Loud” while Casey simultaneously performs Sam’s “I’m Not the Only One.”