RedOne Talks J. Lo, His New Artists & Dance Music's Rise
Perhaps no producer has had as much impact on the electronic dance music scene's invasion of the airwaves as RedOne. The Moroccan-born musician is behind hits including Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor," Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and most recently, Nicki Minaj's "Starships," songs that have dominated YouTube as well: the J. Lo track was the video site's most popular song of 2011 and is its second most-played ever. It now stands at over 500 million views. Along with "Bad Romance," which runs close behind at over 450 million views, RedOne has YouTube's No. 2 and 4 all-time music videos, respectively. (Justin Bieber's "Baby" stands at No. 1 with over 700 million views.)
"Half a billion views, it's crazy," RedOne told Billboard.com. "To me, it's an incredible blessing, because that explains to me that the world loved the song, the video and the artist. The vision that we believed in happened."
While his work with stars ranging from Gaga to Minaj to Pitbull continues, he's also focusing on his own label, 2101 Records, a partnership with Universal. The roster now includes DJ Havana Brown, rock act 7Lions and pop singer Porcelain Black.
"In a new artist, I always look for an identity," he said. "They have to know who they are. I believe in the 360 -- the touring side of it, the recording side of it and even TV and everything. So for an artist to excite me, it's got to be the full package."
And he's made time in his busy schedule to give back, launching his 2101 Foundation last year with a focus on the arts, music and education for young people.
"When the success happened in my life, I realized how much of a responsibility it is," RedOne said. "Remembering myself when I was in morocco, I was 16 years [old], i wanted to have this band -- I couldn't. I had to leave Morocco and go to Europe and travel the world to make it. For me, if I can help kids to accelerate or make their lives easier, to achieve their goals, that's what i'm going to do."
With Minaj's "Starships" reaching the Hot 100's top 10 this week, don't look for the producer and his signature dance-driven sound to leave the charts any time soon.
"Dance music always existed but now it's popular. After… Gaga happened, it opened a lot of doors," he explained. "I have big DJs, I'm not going to mention names, but who came to me and said, 'Oh, thank you, you opened the doors for us, finally we're doing productions.' Because dance music before, the DJs used to do remixes. Now the radio song is a DJ version. So it's an amazing opportunity that happened and i think the dance music is going to stay."