"One of the things I love most about working with Tommy is that none of the beats he plays me ever sound the same," Grande says. "He’s never afraid to try new things and is always willing to experiment and grow with me."
But the pandemic shifted how they'd experiment, with Positions being recorded in between Brown and Grande's in-home recording studios in California over the span of several months. Somehow, the two managed to maintain their casual ambiance, which Brown notes was key to creating this album, while everyone involved was being tested every week.
Grande flirted more with R&B production, snagged coveted guest artists such as The Weeknd, Doja Cat and Ty Dolla $ign, and tapped rap producers Murda Beatz and London on da Track for the first time in her career. And she certainly wasn't afraid to release music on her own time. On Oct. 14, the "Positions" singer tweeted, "I can’t wait to give u my album this month," which shocked her fans and Brown because he wasn't expecting the news, either.
But he regards Grande as a "guru" who can feel the pulse of when it's time to drop an album, which she hasn't done in a year and a half since Thank U, Next came out in February 2019.
But for Brown, a pivotal part in the recording process this time around was his sobriety. Thank U, Next mostly came together during a spontaneous two-week music boot camp in New York, where Grande, Brown and her troop of star songwriters -- Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx, Njomza, Kaydence and Social House -- cried it out and drank champagne while recording a smash album. Monét and Grande teased each other about the fond memory in their 2019 joint track "MONOPOLY" -- "Remember when we made a f---in' album off that Clicquot?" they sing -- and Brown told WSJ Magazine that he jokingly called his label partnership with Universal Music Group "Champagne Therapy Music Group" afterward. But he decided to stop drinking last fall.
"I just realized, you don’t have to always drink," he says in the new interview. "Then I looked at where any problems in my life came from. And I was like, 'Well, all my issues stem from that.' So if I eliminate that, then I won’t have any issues."
Read Grande and Brown's interview on WSJ Magazine here.