For the past few years Miley Cyrus has been largely associated with hip-hop producer Mike Will Made-It, one of the creative forces behind her 2013 sound reboot on Bangerz and singles such as “23.” On the other side of her recent musical polarity has been psychedelic warrior Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, who collaborated with Cyrus on a series of trippy, experimental works including the truly bizarre free download LP Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.
But even as she took a turn toward a grittier hip-hop and acid-rock sound, there was another producer/songwriter in the mix who helped Cyrus change up her sonic attack.
His name is Oren Yoel and he helped write and produce the Bangerz ballad “Adore You,” which hit No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. Like Mike and Coyne in the past, Yoel’s fingerprints are all over Cyrus’ upcoming as-yet-untitled album, due out later this year. As revealed in Cyrus’ recent Billboard cover story, the multi-instrumentalist plays all the instruments on the album, on which Cyrus — who will perform at the May 21 2017 Billboard Music Awards — wrote all the lyrics and melodies. You can hear the clean, pop-leaning results on her just-released single, “Malibu,” which dropped on Thursday (May 11).
But who is Yoel? According to his bio and list he sent to Billboard of his recent work, the Los Angeles-native producer/writer/engineer has basically been at it for most of his life, pursuing a music career that has led him to remix and write with some of the biggest acts in music today.
Here’s what you need to know about Oren:
— At age 7 he learned to play the clarinet, baritone sax, piano, saxophone and tenor sax.
— He started producing music at age 15, first local hip-hop artists and then playing keyboard in a number of bands.
— He got his break in 2005, when he co-produced the theme song and some of the season one score for the animated show The Boondocks.
— That gig led to his work producing most of rapper Asher Roth‘s 2009 album Asleep in the Bread Aisle, including standout tracks like the second single “Lark on My Go-Kart” and third single, “Be By Myself.” He also produced the tracks “Blunt Cruisin,” “She Don’t Wanna Man” and “Lion’s Roar.”
— In 2012 he worked on both the Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Rye Rye & Asher Roth track “Actin’ Up,” and the Meek Mill/Asher Roth banger “Party Girl.”
— That work landed him production work on songs by Macy Gray and Parachute and several tracks on Eliza Doolittle’s 2013 In Your Hands album, including “Hush,” “Let it Rain,” “No Man Can” and “Rubbish.”
— The roll continued in 2014 with the Adam Levine/Rozzi Crane ballad “Painkiller,” as well as a co-production credit on Kanye West’s 2015 FIFA official campaign song “God Level.”
— His worked further with Miley in 2015, earning production/co-writing credits on four tracks from the Dead Petz album (“BB Talk,” “Space Bootz,” “1 Sun” and “I Get So Scared”), as well as production and co-writing on Tori Kelly’s “Art of Letting You Go.”
?– He’s released a string of remixes of songs by Blondie, Post Malone, Khalid and, most recently, of Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.”
— Most recently before “Malibu,” he dropped the booming debut single “Rodeo” by the band PSSY PWR, a duo he’s formed with Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter Anjulie.