In the latest episode of Deep Hidden Meaning Radio with Nile Rodgers on Apple Music 1, Nile welcomes Tor and Mikkel of Stargate, Jack Savoretti and Zimbabwean artist and songwriter Shungudzo.
During the show, Tor and Mikkel share the story behind writing Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” while singer-songwriter Savoretti reveals how he’s trying to start a new genre of music and what happened when he met Paul McCartney at Abbey Road.
“Join us this week on my Deep Hidden Meaning Radio show, and you’ll hear from Stargate’s Tor and Mikkel on how Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ was done in 15 minutes and Ne-Yo’s ‘So Sick’ was effortless, as well as additional golden nuggets of their songwriting success that they will share with us,” Rodgers tells American Songwriter. “Also, Jack Savoretti talks about writing his new UK hit album including adventures with yours truly.”
Catch a sneak peek below and tune in to the full episode on Saturday (July 3) at 8 a.m. LA / 11 a.m. NY / 4 p.m. London or anytime on-demand at apple.co/_DHMRadio
Stargate on writing Rihanna’s Diamonds:
Nile Rodgers: So we got to get to this really big one, Rihanna, “Diamonds.” Damn, guys, come on. Hit me.
Tor Hermansen: We were in with Benny Blanco, I know he’s been on your show. We made this instrumental beat that we felt was amazing, but we had no idea what it would become until Sia was in the room. And when she was done with her session, and she was about to leave, we said, “Sia, there’s one more thing that we want to play to you.” Her coat was on, her handbag was in the lap, and the car was waiting downstairs. She was ready to go. And I pressed play, and the first thing out of her mouth was, “Shine bright like a diamond.”
Nile Rodgers: Wow!
Tor Hermansen: And she didn’t even think about it. And I said, “That’s amazing. We should do this.” And she said, “Okay. Let me put some melodies down.” Puts her melodies down. We decide “This is the verse, this is the chorus.” She’ll go in the next room for 15 minutes; no more than 15 minutes. And she came back with the whole song, recorded it. The coat was still on. She never took her coat off. Recorded “Diamonds,” put the harmony on, and was out of there.
Mikkel Eriksen: The best 15 minutes ever spent in her life, and our lives!
Nile Rodgers: Unbelievable.
Tor Hermansen: But the story doesn’t end there because now we have this, what we feel is, an amazing song. I called Benny and said, “We’ve done this amazing song with Sia. Come listen to it.” He came and he listened to it and said, “I don’t like it.” I was like, “Oh, my God. I love it.” And he said, “I don’t like it, and I’ve never had a hit record that I didn’t like.” I said, “Well, you know, it is what it is. We love it. Let’s play it to Rihanna.” Then he goes, “No. We should give it to Eminem. We should do something else with it. Don’t play her the song.” And I so vividly remember this phone call because it was so frustrating because Mikkel and I were flying to London to go into a session with Rihanna. A big writing camp, everybody was there, and it’s a stressful environment. So we like to go in there with a couple of things in our back pocket.
Nile Rodgers: Prepared.
Tor Hermansen: Exactly. So you can pretend that you’re writing it in the camp but really, you already did the work. So we play it to Rihanna. She loves it. And then I called Benny and said, “Benny, bad news. Rihanna loves it.” But to Benny’s credit, we didn’t have the “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” part as a post chorus yet, when he heard it. And funnily enough, because Benny always felt like Kanye should rap on it. It turned out when we did the remix, Kanye did wrap on it, in the end. But as a Rihanna song.
Mikkel Eriksen: So everyone was happy. In the end.
Jack Savoretti on creating a new genre of music:
The whole concept of this album, the album is called Europiana. I was on tour with a friend of mine, an amazing singer songwriter called J.S. Ondara. He got nominated for a Grammy while we were on tour. He got nominated for, I think, best Americana album. I had this moment of thinking, I wonder if we were ever to be nominated for anything, I had this little sort of fantasy chat with my ego. If we were ever to be nominated for anything, I wonder what kind of category we’d fall into. I realized that I didn’t really fit into any category that was there. I was like, there isn’t really a genre for European music. I hadn’t really thought about that. European music of the last sort of 50 years, not folk and all that. So I’ve wanted to sort of create a genre. I know that sounds a bit audacious and it is. I’ll probably still never win an award, even though I’m inventing a genre, but I hope that one day there is, “And the best Europiana album goes to.” That’d be like a lifetime achievement for me, it’s to create that.