Producer-songwriter Sir Nolan is helping teen idols grow up.
Name: Sir Nolan (real name Nolan Lambroza) is the new go-to for pop royalty, from Nick Jonas to Jason Derulo. “I’m not interested in the sound of the moment,” says the producer-songwriter, 25. “I just want to help the artist shine.”
Backstory: Nolan spent his childhood in Surrey, England, as “a hermit in my bedroom,” practicing 1980s metal hits on piano and guitar. After studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, he met The Messengers (Chris Brown), who enlisted his help on Justin Bieber’s “Believe” and “All Around the World.” But what really put Nolan on the map was Jonas’ “Jealous.” “It changed both of our careers,” he says. “After the Jonas Brothers, there was a lot of bias against Nick, but he’s an amazing talent.”
Specialty: Helping the Disney set shed squeaky clean teen sounds. He reworked Selena Gomez’s “Good for You,” first released in June, by upping the tempo, tapping A$AP Rocky for a verse and sprinkling in Easter eggs — listen carefully for Gomez singing “Good” in reverse, a subtle nod to the singer shaking off her past. His version sent the song back to the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “She wanted a new, sexy look,” says Nolan. “I like acts who want to break from what they’ve done before.”
Daily ritual: Blasting Phil Collins in his Porsche on the drive from his West Hollywood digs to his North Hollywood studio Strip Wax, named for a neighboring hair-removal parlor. “The ride gets me inspired,” he says. “I get in my bubble.”
Next up: Before heading to Miami to work with Enrique Iglesias, Nolan will hole up at Jonas’ Mammoth, Calif., retreat to work on the singer’s new album. They already have written one song, “Don’t Make Me Choose”: “It’s got a D’Angelo-meets-‘Jealous’ vibe. He sounds like a king on it. I’d love to see him be bigger than Timberlake!”
This story originally appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of Billboard.