Its release is still a few months away, but French DJ and hitmaker David Guetta‘s next album is already off to a hot start thanks to “Where Them Girls At.”
The propulsive first single, which features Flo Rida and Nicki Minaj, has sold more than 160,000 iTunes downloads in less than a week to soar to No. 1 on the itunes Dance Songs chart in the U.S. and at least 10 other countries. He’s also charting with Akon on “Sexy Chick” and Rihanna on “Who’s That Chick?”
“I’m really proud of this,” Guetta tells Billboard.com “And all of this happened without any promotion, without any radio play, just based on the power of the community.” The song, in fact, had a premature release thanks to a hacker grabbing an early, unfinished version of the track and leaking it on the Internet. “We just hired some security specialist who works with the Pentagon who is going to track this guy down,” Guetta says. “I really felt disrespected. Sometimes people, when they’re downloading music, they don’t pay for it. I can almost accept that… but when someone steals records that are not finished, it’s terrible. Could you imagine a museum showing a painting that’s half-finished?”
Nevertheless, Guetta is “thankful” for the song’s early success, as are his collaborators.
“Honestly, I thought it would be huge,” says Flo Rida, who heard the song at the same time he and Guetta were working on “Club Can’t Handle Me” from the rapper’s latest album, “Only One Flo (Part 1).” “I actually wanted the record for myself… But I knew that this trio, with Nicki having her fan base, me having mine and David having his, because of the names involved it would be a hot record. So what I’m seeing with all the fan support is something I definitely thought would happen.”
Minaj says she actually turned down Guetta’s first invitation to appear on “Where Them Girls At” because she was busy recording her debut album, “Pink Friday.” “And when he reached out again,” she says, “I did my research on him and I started finding out who he was and what records he produced, and I realized he was a legend in the game already.” Minaj heard the track, with Flo Rida’s verse and chorus, at Guetta’s studio when she was in Paris and recalls that “as soon as I heard it I loved it” and wrote parts for the song back in Los Angeles.
“When it came out, (Guetta) was texting me over and over — ‘It’s No. 1 in this country! No. 1 in that country!’…so we knew it was a big one,” she says.
The trio will be filming a video for “Where Them Girls At” on May 17 in Los Angeles.
Guetta, meanwhile, says he has “three more weeks” of recording to complete his follow-up to 2009’s “One Love.” He’s shooting for a late August release and promises that “it’s so good, like 10 times better than anything I’ve done in my life.” But he says previous statements about more of a rock influence or flavor to the album were misunderstood.
“I was saying that all my inspiration comes from the club when it comes to the beat and the drums, the bass line and all of it,” Guetta explains. “But when it comes to chord progressions, I said that I love Coldplay and Kings of Leon. But that’s all I was saying. I’m not going rock at all. My thing really is to mix hip-hop and urban influences and bring them into my world, which is electronic music. I still love that more underground, electronic music.”
Akon, will.i.am, Ludacris and Taio Cruz have been tapped to also appear on the as-yet untitled album, though Guetta is staying mum on other names. He’s also juggling studio time with a series of live dates, including a seven-show North American run starting May 14 in Seattle, an eighth season of his Thursday night F*** Me I’m Famous parties that start May 26 in Ibiza, Spain, and appearances at the Electric Daisy Carnival (June 25 in Las Vegas) and the Electric Zoo (Sept. 3 in New York). Guetta says he might preview some of his new material at those shows.
“What’s really good about being a DJ is it’s not like being a band with rehearsal and having to do a whole show,” he notes. “I don’t have to have anything planned. Of course I’m going to play my big records, but I also have all the beats I’m producing, so it’ll be a real combination between the huge vocal records and more underground beats.”