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Going Gaga: RedOne riding a hot streak, working with Usher, Adam Lambert



Despite the cartoonish outfits, Lady Gaga may not be the best of pop stars to introduce to your children, what with the whole pant-less space queen look and the thinly veiled sexual metaphors in her music. Yet no one’s going to blame producer RedOne for dressing his tyke in Gaga-inspired fashions.

After all, the once-burgeoning studio magician has become one of the industry’s most in-demand players LADY_GAGA_3_ in the last 12 months, thanks in large part to the rather sudden emergence of the Gaga empire. Since its release last fall, Lady Gaga’s debut, “The Fame,” has sold more than 990,000 albums in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and should top 1 million within the next week or two.

She currently has two singles in the top 10 on the U.S. pop charts -- “Poker Face” and “Love Game,” both of which feature RedOne’s ‘80s-inspired handiwork. Such success comes with perks. The obvious benefit is the privilege of working with everyone from Michael Jackson to Usher to “American Idol’s” Rolling Stone cover boy Adam Lambert.

Then there’s the free baby clothes.

“Lady Gaga is thinking all the time about how she’s going to design some new idea she has, like breaking  glass and making a bra with it,” says the Moroccon-born RedOne, who requests to be known only by his stage name. “When I had my baby, I got a call from Gaga, and she made a baby Gaga suit. You never know what to expect. It’s always a show with her, and she shocks you with something.”

RedOne will step out of his Hollywood-based studio this week and join Gaga for a few weeks on her European tour. The two, says the producer, are beginning work on the follow-up to “The Fame,” although it may be a while, with word last week coming from Kanye West that he and the New York-bred 23 year-old pop star would be staging a fall tour.

In the meantime, plenty of albums will be released featuring RedOne’s work. When he spoke to Pop & Hiss last Friday around 1 p.m., the producer shared his schedule leading into the weekend. The Backstreet Boys had the producer until 8 p.m., and then RedOne said he had about five hours scheduled with “Idol” runner-up Lambert.

Lambert_kiss_2_ “I want to go rock -- David Bowie and Queen, but make it more easy for people to get,” the producer said of his vision for Lambert. “It has to be rock, but with an interesting dance angle to it, you know? You’ll like it.”

RedOne said he hopes to record at least six songs with Lambert, but that doesn’t guarantee that they'll all make Lambert’s RCA debut (a Lambert representative was unable to be reached prior to posting). An “Idol” finalist comes equipped with a built-in fan base, and RedOne said he’s eager to play with people’s expectations.

“You know what I like about him? He’s fresh,” said RedOne. “You can go almost whatever direction with him. People know him from being on ‘American Idol,’ singing other people’s songs, but you can take him in a new direction, and this will be the first time you hear Adam Lambert with his signature. My goal is to get his signature out from him to the world.”

The heavily accented RedOne worked in Sweden for much of the ‘90s, recording with the likes of the ABBA-inspired A*Teens, and had a major breakthrough in the U.S. with Kat DeLuna’s “Whine Up,” which has the thick, vibrant retro synth sounds RedOne favors. With Lady Gaga, RedOne describes the sound as possessing “futuristic, aggressive snyths.” The electronic-heavy production work has long been a staple on the European dance scene, but it should strike a familiar chord to most American pop fans.

“I love ‘80s music,” RedOne said. “It’s all about emotions, and the chorus elevates you. If you look back in three years, and you look at the hits, they all have the same things. They have a verse, a pre-chorus and a chorus -- one that’s dynamic and elevates you. You need to make people go crazy when the chorus comes. That’s so important on every song with Gaga.”

While spending time in Europe, RedOne plans to see one of Jackson’s 50 dates at the O2 Arena in London.  RedOne recorded with Jackson for his long-awaited follow-up to 2001’s “Invincible,” but, of course, he can’t reveal any details. Instead, the conversation is often steered to the material he’s working on with Lady Gaga (“Anytime I have a crazy idea, I save it for Gaga,” he said), or Gaga-associated electronic artist Space Cowboy, who RedOne is also recording with.

“The world, with the recession, needs this,” he said.

“That’s one of the things I think with my music,” RedOne continued. “It brings a lot of joy to people, and people want to escape from what’s going on. The ‘80s was happy music, and that’s what I’m doing musically. People are reacting positively to big choruses, joyful music.”

-- Todd Martens

Photos from top: RedOne. Credit: Keith Munyon; Lady Gaga. Credit: Getty Images; Adam Lambert. Credit:Fox / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (48)

What we love about Adam is HIM. Don't process him like processed cheese. We want to hear his voice, his music, watch videos with HIM in it. If you put too much electronic goo into every song that drowns out Adam, we won't be happy! Give us Adam, not some electronic pop monster who seems unoriginal and a carbon copy. Let Adam be Adam. Please!

What fabulous news for us Adam Lambert fans. RedOne will kill with Adam. Can't wait to see what they come up with.

This is so exciting!!!! I can't wait to hear what they come up with together!

Adam Addict has it right! Yes, RedOne, your work is catchy and fun, but not at all sure its what we want to hear from Adam. It will drive us crazy if his voice doesn't soar above whatever is providing the back beat. His voice is one of a kind. We need to hear his voice, his emotion. Please, please don't disappoint us - we're all so anxious for new music from Adam. Adam does NOT need gimmicks, just give him room to do his magic.

I agree with above .. my fear is that we'll get something where it feels like Adam is at a "distance" from us which is how a lot of the electro pop stuff sounds. We want him and his voice up close and personal

PLEASE be sure whatever music is background for ADAM that it doesn't drown out his incredible voice. Too many producers do that and it "kills" the song and the sound of the singers voice. I BEG YOU!!!!!!!!! We don't want that awful POP sound.

Special note to the monitor or Todd -- I always have trouble getting posted when I blog on this site (mostly to Ann Powers). an error message comes on. I have a post waiting. Could you please fish it out. Beverly

Adam fans - stop complaining! He has landed a great producer who knows what he is doing! Who the heck are we to start telling the man his job?

If you know anything about Adam's pre-Idol music or have been listening carefully to him describe what he wants on his new CD, you will find this no surprise at all. He always uses the word "electro" to describe what he's going for and his pre Idol creations, "Kiss and Tell", "Pop Goes The Camera", and "I Got This" make it eveident that techno electronic dance music is important to him. If you listen to "Kiss And Tell" you will also notice that his voice still soars, so no worries. Working with some of the other people I've heard mentioned should render a ballad or two, too.

Europeon techno disco-mixes can be as boring as some other form of music I hope to never hear from Adam. Whatever he records, produces, we WANT TO HEAR THE VOICE. We don't want the sound to compete with the VOICE.

I'd love to see Adam hookup with Max Martin too. That man can work wonders with music.

Lady GaGa is just Dale Bozio from Missing Persons all over again. Same look, same voice, same music. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying it's nothing new.

*Nice article* About time someone writes about talent, performance, and futures of some of the artist in the music world today. Not their sexual preference! I'm sure Adam will continue to shine when showing us more than copy tunes. Looking forward to it. Well done.
P.S. I have the same prob. getting posted as Beverly. ???

I am suddenly very excited about this album. Adam can sing the phone book and I will still pay to see him live. I am most excited to see his music videos.

Oooh, I'm ridiculously excited by this. Dance rock? Bring it on, sounds fun. If you check out some of his pre-Idol music, he's obviously interested in dance-electro-rock music, and he admires Lady Gaga. And people shouldn't worry, his entire album won't sound like this, just some tracks. He kept saying it'll be varied, so expect a couple of slower, more personal tracks as well. He's also working with Ferras, who has more of a chamber pop sound I think.

Adam has always stated his preference for techno...and although I like his dance stuff on YouTube...it could have been sung by most anyone.

He has a sincere appreciation for music as revealed by his performances accompanied only by piano at the Upright Cabaret (also on YouTube). HOPEFULLY, we will get more of that.

His voice doesn't need to be produced. He doesn't need to prove anything to the teens buying techno because they've never really heard music...where? MTV?

PLEASE ADAM...just sing...acappella preferably, but the piano accompaniment is nice too. Or go classic rock. Or glam.

Seriously...the critics are just waiting to crucify you, and Lady Gaga is what they're waiting for. You'll outsell everybody with your studio recorded versions of "Come Home" and "I Can't Make You Love Me"...and those songs will become your standards for years to come. Where will Lady Gaga be then?

I really don't think you know how mesmerizing you are just with your expressive singing...you don't need any more visuals than a spotlight. That's it. Your charisma is off the charts, so though you may admire performers who make visually interesting videos...you don't need it. Read the comments on your Upright performances online...a million people feel the same.

Although I get your appreciation of Madonna's amazing career...she'd be the first to tell you she's a performer, not a singer. The Cabaret concept was light years ahead by just bringing back real talent...classic tunes...and raw emotion. Please don't hide yours behind someone else's vision of a top ten song.

I♥thisglambowielovechild! It is beyond exciting to hear that Adam is making music with RedOne! I will buy 2 of everything Adam puts on the market!!!

Adam does not need back up singers in his album. Just Adam's voice is all we need.
Looking so forward to his album release...Adam is amazing!!!

Good music, good lyrics and ADAM's stunning VOICE. That is what THIS fan wants.
Please don't cover that voice and neutralized it into electronic soup. Let Adam shine through!!!!

I cant wait for Adam's new album!!! 0/

Oh boy.....mmmmm not sure if we want electronic sounds on Adam debut album. RedOne, don't do an over the top song, no hip hop, have ballad song like mad world/tracks of my tears sound(those are popular easy listening music for relaxation) a Good example for you I hope you are reading this. Kris rendention of No Boundaries seems sell more and getting a lot of radio play than Adam. Truthfully I like Adam's No Boundaries so much better. Not sure who is buying Kris new single but the audience seems to like that vibes of music. I think you should do more like the 80's like Michael Jackson Thriller, Billy Jeans , Beat it, Black and White vibes, Rock styles like We are the Champion, David Cook vibes. Truly the key to a successful album is the tempo/lyrics of the music, you have all the right rythm then there will be no Problem selling Adam's album. Adam is brilliant and I hope he will do the right thing. Adam need to remember that his 1st CD should be a hit so that he doesn't drop by the record label.
I am sure between you and Adam, you'll come up with something oriiginal.

Adam is electrifying, no matter what he performs! He will be a top seller!

That sounds hooooooooot!!!excited now!!!

I am glad that most feel the same about not "processing" Adam into something that isn't HIM. Adam is the meat, and if you add too many layers, we won't get what we came for! I really loved when he performed Born to be Wild on Idol, very rock version, and then was disappointed when it was so "techno" on the studio version. It made me feel like Adam was conforming to the music, rather than the music being a complement to Adam. Adam needs to be "unadorned" by all of the extra techno crap. We like Adam "unplugged" because it is his true singular essence that draws us to him. When you adulterate the true essence with "extra stuff" in teh song, it's not Adam anymore. Please keep this in mind when you make his album. We all can't wait to buy it!

Adam would be great with Lassie!

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