Brandy, Michael Bolton Join 'Dancing with the Stars'
Brandy, Michael Bolton Join 'Dancing with the Stars'

Lady Gaga hearts Michael Bolton? That's apparently the case -- and how the two came to collaborate on "Murder My Heart," a track on Bolton's latest album, "One World One Love."

At the time, of course, Bolton didn't know Lady Gaga from Lady Marmalade; it was, by his recollection, the early part of 2008, and "her record ('The Fame') didn't come out for another three or four months," he told Billboard.com during a recent conference call with reporters to promote his current world tour. He was in the midst of writing for "One World One Love" and took a call from his management telling him about "a new artists who is a great songwriter... and she's a big fan of yours and would like to write with your for this album.' And I said, 'Okay.' I knew there was a reason that I was on the phone with them about it and it wasn't a little e-mail communication; they wanted to get me attention on this. They were really excited about this news that she wanted to work with me."

After hearing some MP3s of Gaga's songs, Bolton was impressed and ready to work with her -- which turned out to be the same night, in Los Angeles. "I met her and we really hit it off," Bolton recalls. "She was singing some ideas she had. She knew my range, she knew my records, so she started singing in the range I had recorded... and that was great because i was looking at a real artist standing in front of me...who really could sing and really loved what she was doing."

Bolton, who also worked with Ne-Yo on "One World One Love," said he knew that Gaga "had this whole look and this kind of very provocative whole presence about herself, and I said, 'If we're going to write something together, we've got to slay people with this.' And she said, 'Well, I like the idea because I have... an idea for a title and it's 'Murder My Heart.' And that's how it began."

Little did Bolton know that their collaboration would garner an inordinate amount of attention when "One World One Love" was released -- during September in the U.K., February for Canada and May 4 in the U.S. "Three or four months later she became the biggest artist in the world," he noted, "and wherever I traveled, the question would always come up, 'What was Gaga wearing in the studio?' I'm not used to that being the center of the interview, but I got used to it."

Bolton finishes the European leg of his tour on Aug. 3 in Italy, then kicks off the North American run on Aug. 13 in Tacoma, Wash. He plays the U.K. in November followed by Germany in December, followed by another North American trek in January. And while he's high on "Murder My Heart" and the other songs from "One Love One Heart," Bolton says he's "aware that the people primarily are coming for the greatest hits," and that's what he's giving them.

"You hear stories about an artist who comes through and... (people) really looking forward to seeing them and they go to the show and they come back and they say, 'They didn't do any of their hits' or 'They only did this song and I waited all night for these songs,' and you get this sense that they weren't satisfied at the concert," Bolton explained.

"I think when you hear that enough you just tend to say, 'I don't want to be that artist. I don't want to be that artist where people leave the building saying 'The guy had 16 hits and he only played, like, three of them live at the concert.' It shouldn't be about 'This is what I'm promoting everybody, so bear with me,' and/or 'I expect to win you over with what I'm working on right now.' "