Questlove's Latest Beat: Producing VH1 TV Series 'Soundclash'

For Sia's July 30 appearance on VH1 and digital cable channel Palladia's Soundclash, the first series executive-produced by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, 43, the singer-songwriter performs "Chandelier" with her back to the audience. (She'll later cover Beyoncé's "Drunk in Love" with Ed Sheeran and Grouplove.) Questlove says booking an artist renowned for refusing to do promotional appearances was the live-music show's first coup.

 "Of all the acts, that was the hardest sell," says The Roots drummer and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon bandleader. "When her name was brought up, I thought, 'Well, that's not going to happen.' I gotta say, my first major executive decision - the thing that made me feel like this really is my show - was [to offer her] a situation where we hide her in the back."

The unique element for the show, which featured Fall Out Boy, T.I. and London Grammar in the first of 13 planned episodes, is its all-star finale, in which the artists gather together for a cover or a rendition of one of the artists' hits.

"There's a risk factor involved," Questlove notes. "You don't want to scare people off, but I do want to bring a bit of spontaneity."


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