Singing in the shower is all-too common, especially with how much better the acoustics are. So it doesn’t come as a total surprise that pop superstar Paula Abdul once recorded her ’80s breakthrough smash “Straight Up” … in the shower.
The former American Idol judge spoke about the song that “changed my life” in the People in the ’90s podcast on Thursday (June 17). She discussed how “obsessed” she was with the song, written and produced by Elliot Wolff, and how she couldn’t wait to meet him and record it.
“So I go to this apartment building and I meet Elliot Wolff, and I expected this R&B dude. His sounds were so incredibly R&B and funky and different,” Abdul, 58, recalls. “He opens the door and I see this slight framed guy with red frizzy hair, Coke bottle glasses, and he’s walking in socks around his apartment. And he’s kind of quiet. And I go, ‘Where are we going to be recording?’ He said, ‘In my shower here.'”
And it sounds like the first recordings picked up some ambient noise: “I recorded ‘Straight Up’ in his little shower, and in the early masters that were released, you could actually hear someone banging from the next apartment, going, ‘Shut up!'”
The song “Straight Up” became one of her biggest hits, topping the Billboard Hot 100 alongside three other songs — “Forever Your Girl,” “Cold Hearted,” and “Opposites Attract” — from her 1988 debut studio album Forever Your Girl. “Straight Up” also earned Abdul her very first Grammy Award nomination in 1990 for best pop vocal female performance.
Listen to Abdul recall the story below.