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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)

To the author of Pop and Piss... You and your state are FREAKS!!

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!

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!

Come on everyone! RedOne Is working with Adam not against him! What ever they put together is going to be GREAT! Do not underestimate the power of a great producer and a great artist!
I am so excited to hear Adam's debut CD that it is killing me to wait!

Oh Brother, peeps/fans!!! Let the producer do his thing. Adam Lambert is spectacular, just like Lady GaGa. Her music is amazingly great. She was great - unpredictably great- on Idol. Just like Adam was. Hope Adam's album will be AWESOME!!!

Adam Lambert Rocks!

I like Adam's song "Kiss and Tell". It's a fun dance tune. I'm thrilled to hear that Adam will be working with RedOne. He is an excellent producer. His work on Lady Gaga's album is brilliant. I'm hoping there will be several electro/dance tracks on Adam's CD.

Adam is techno! Seriously, he's a total club kid and one of the best artists out there to convey the newish sound that Lada Gaga is leading the way for. This is a brilliant pair up. Sure, you don't want his entire album to sound like it but this combination stands the chance of being a massive success. Adam is out there and wild and should be allowed to be so, he' s most definitely not just a torch-song singer. Yes he has the voice but good god don't turn him into something he's not. Club it up. Rock it up. Combine the two. It'll all be Adam and, hit or miss, it needs to be hit or miss his way.....and techno/industrial/rock/happy hard core/trance/electronica or maybe something that combines them all and blows everyone's mind is definitely the way to go. Really, we do not want all ballads. Ballads a good, ballads are great, but ballads are not Adam.

Adam needs to be careful he doesn't slip into the empty pop stylings of Lady Gaga/Katy Perry etc. Seriously, will anyone be listening to that in 10 years??? This music dates badly and will not hold up in years to come. Adam has the potential to be a truly original and enduring artist and I fear his debut album is going to be dated.

Think of what the fans liked him for on American Idol? Case in point, Born To Be Wild live was awesome and had a vibrant untouched manic rock energy about it. The studio recording was terrible. A try hard, overproduced attempt at adding an electro pop element. His vocals sounded restrained and nothing like live. It took away the raw spirit of what the fans like about Adam. It really concerns me that he keeps citing people like Lady Gage/Katie Perry/Madonna as an influence so much. Think of artists like Queen/Led Zeppelin who are true, enduring originals. They are about as far away from that manufactured pop sound as you can get. In this sense, they are futuristic!

Adam is at his best when it is all about manic, edgy rock theatrics. Not the disposable, dated electro pop synths that RedOne and crew churns out.

Beware Adam!

If Adam delivers songs like Kiss and Tell, POP Goes the music, I Got This, etc. those will fail because the quality of the band and voice is bad. Quality of the BAND is very important. The quality of the voice with the right volume and echo effect is VERY VERY important. The balance of the volume of the background music and the voice is very important. Both needs to be CRISP and CLEAR.

Also, Adam can't sing alone. Adam has to invite people to be featured in his songs. That is the IN-THING today. Adam has to feature the good voices of OTHERS to be featured in this songs. THAT IS THE IN-THING THING AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES A SONG SUCCESSFUL TODAY.

If he does not do that, he will fail miserably.

Also, when Adam makes his MUSIC video, he has to make it look like he is NOT gay but a sexy goth, normal, rock singer that women and men are attracted to. He should not cater to just the gay viewers. I mean, I expect Adam's videos to have all kinds of looks, a normal real man look, a goth look, a rocker look, and as much as possible, avoid the gay look - all looks need to be sexy and to-die-for looks.

One thing to remember is that Adam gained most of his fans with his incredible voice. Not because of the instruments in the background. It is his pure, perfect, amazing voice that transcends and draws us in. I'm not assuming how to tell any music producer how to do their job, only pointing out that what we love about him is his voice.

I agree that Madonna is not a singer but a performer while Michael Jackson is a singer, performer and entertainer.
But ADAM is not only an all around singer, performer and entertainer like Michael but more like Elvis with the merits of drop dead gorgeous looks and sex appeal and animal magnetism of Tom Jones.
ADAM has the real talent of a beautiful powerful singing voice which should be the focus of his songs. Only those who are not equipped with a truly good singing voice need all these trimmings. ADAM's singing delivery alone is already electrifying more so coupled with sexy moves. No need for adornment except for good and beautiful arrangement, melody and lyrics that matter to ADAM.
What I'm excited about is to watch his songs in video especially his danceable songs and see his sexy dance moves. Oh, I die!!! Go, ADAM!!!

RedOne or 19e, don't listen to the COUGARS. They don't buy the albums or the singles. They just complain. If you listen to the COUGARS, the album of Lambert will end up manufactured like David Cook's and Archuleta, Daughtry, Sparks, Clarkson, etc. I am tired of ugly-sounding manufactured IDOL music on the radio. Music on the radio today dominated by idol people SUCKS big time. Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are the new wave of music. No more manufactured IDOL music that caters to OLD and depressing people. Feel young and sexy with Adam Lambert. When I hear Adam Lambert's songs, I should feel young, hip and sexy and NOT old, depressed and wrinkled.

This will be amazing! Can not wait to see what happens! So Stoked for Adam!!!!

I'm looking forward to what they come up with, and hope that RedOne does give primacy to his voice. "The Fame" is great, though some songs seem over produced, such as the wonderful "Paper Gangsta." (If it comes out as a single, I hope it's remixed to remove some overly complex beats.) Sometimes great lyrics and voice demand less production. Knowing when to go simple and when to add complexity is the art.

Can't wait for the album to arrive and I'm more than keen to see Adam in concert.
I'd love for him to record 'Crazy', that would be fantastic.
Seems there will be many opportunities for Adam to give his fans albums of every description seeing as he does sing the telephone book. What would be even better is a double album first up, folllowed by a world tour. ..sigh!!

Produce the CD but please do not produce Adam, he is his own production, we love him the way he described himself once "edgy with a smile"

Please give us Adam nothing else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ADAM'S VOICE is what people most want to hear - not the backup singers or multiple music tracks that compete w/ the vocals. Of course the production has to have some of that, but it's been a real disappointment for me, buying CD's of artist w/ great, distinctive voices that got lost in someone's overdone production. Hope that the packaging doesn't obscure the gift on Adam's first CD/DVD.

I'm not very familiar with RedOne's work and I've never been interested in electro pop even when I was a teenager, but remembering bands like Eurythmics and Soft Cell worked very well at displaying exeptional voices like Annie Lennox and Marc Almond.
and sometimes rock bands can be guilty of 'drowning' a singer too.
However, I don't understand how Queen or David Bowie are difficult to 'get.' I hope that the expectation is that we rise to Adam's level as opposed to his dumbing down.

Since Adam likes lady Gaga and he is working with her producer, I try lady Gaga's song a couple of time. But her music could not get into my head. I still couldn't remember the melody of her songs. She looks cool but what her music is about. I hope Adam does not do that kind of music. I also tried Queen's music. I find Freddie's voice is great, the songs are beautiful and he had the chrisma right away. I agree with some of people here about born to be wild. the studio version sounds like music produced by a bad band. so noisy and washed away his great voice.

If Adam is not behind Want then neither am i. I will always support him. Waiting for his Fall RCA CD. I don't mind buying and giving the CDs to friends. That's how much i love Adam.

Go Glambert! Don't let this "want" thingy bother you. It will blow over and your fans will still be here. :-)

I'm ridiculously excited by this.
Great info...

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