Prince Fox & Hailee Steinfeld Join Forces on New Single 'Fragile': Exclusive

Meredith Truax
Prince Fox

New York artist taps Oscar nominee for latest Casablanca Records release.

There are times in a producer's life when things just seem to click. Such a moment came for Sam Lassner, known to dance fans as rising DJ/producer Prince Fox, when working on his latest single “Fragile." From his first touch with the arrangement to the moment he stepped in the studio with singer Hailee Steinfeld, the stars seemed to align.

Billboard Dance's 15 Artists to Watch in 2016

“I lost my grandfather in November, and right after that is when I started working on 'Fragile,'” he said. “His birthday is December 11, and so is Hailee's, and she came into my life right after he passed away … I don't know if you're superstitious or not, but something's gotta be right about it.”

If you focus solely on the piano and vocal lines, “Fragile” is powerful and raw in its simplicity. As a whole, however, it carries Prince Fox's signature depth of sound and radio-ready accessibility.

“I'm trying to make pop music that has a familiar sound in the sense that its structured like a conventional song but is produced in a way that has aspects of 'oh, what is this? This is cool, this is new. I haven't hear this done before,'” Lassner explains. “On the other end of the spectrum, I'm trying to incorporate a lot more instruments int my production. Every record I have slated to come out, 'Fragile' included, I'm playing guitar and piano. It feels really good to put that back into the mix”

SNBRN Teams With Andrew Watt on 'Beat the Sunrise:' Exclusive Premiere

Lassner was first presented with the bare bones of “Fragile” by songwriter buddy Lil Aaron, and it immediately spoke to him. He re-arranged it, changed some things here and there, and imbued the concept with the production style he calls "future pop." The reaction all around, from Aaron and his team to Prince Fox's label was, to use Lassner's words, “freaking out.”

He sent the song to Steinfeld, who after also freaking out reworked some of the lyrics to fit her voice, and from there, a hit was born.

“It's definitely not a sad song, but you feel something,” he says. “I was in a delicate head space when I was working on all this stuff, and I feel like all of my new tracks that I'm working on are more emotionally driven. They're all in the pop format, but the soundscapes and the way everything is put together is definitely more emotional – not necessarily dark and atmospheric but emotional arrangements around already emotional songs.”

Getter Dishes on Face-Melting Music Videos and 'Radical Dude!' EP

It's Lassner's hope that the sentiments he pours into his process will somehow resonate with audiences, whether it be a connection they sense on a conscious level or not.

“I want to take more time creating so that it takes more time to consume,” he says. “Before I was signed, I would put stuff up online and it would get a lot of plays in a moth, then it would tinker off unless it showed any additional life. I was making those tracks a lot quicker back then, and now I'm trying to take more time in the hope that it will translate into the consumption of it.”

A-Trak Signee Madeaux Looks to Stop Dance Music Stagnation With 'New Wav' EP

“Fragile” is the first in a string of jams Prince Fox has in the works and one that will certainly find its way into sets from upcoming tour dates. Fans can also look out for an EP by the end of the year, one that will continue in the meaningful line of work he's pushed himself to in recent months.

Billboard Hot 100 Fest 2016