by Taylor Swift Midnights was billed as the first truly collaborative album she made with producer Jack Antonoff, but the LP and expansion 3am The release features many other names, old and new in the Swift realm. One of them is Mark Anthony Spears, aka Sounwave, who collaborated on three tracks with Swift and Antonoff.
Sounwave cut his teeth as a key member of Top Dawg Entertainment, where he’s worked with Kendrick Lamar and other TDE heavyweights since 2011. He won a Grammy for “Alright” in 2015 and landed a nomination at the Oscars for Black Panther“All Stars”.
He’s since teamed up with other big names in pop and rap, like Beyoncé, FKA Twigs, and Chloe x Halle. He eventually struck up a friendship with Antonoff, with whom he and fellow producer/songwriter Sam Dew formed the trio Red Hearse. Antonoff ended up pulling Soundwave into the Lover sessions, and they worked together on the Britpop-inspired track “London Boy.”
“Me and Jack keep each other informed of any project we’re working on,” Spears said. rolling stone. “We usually take at least a week a year just to create with no goal in mind. That’s how Red Hearse was created.
Before Antonoff started working on Swift’s tenth album, he was preparing material with Spears, Dew and Zoë Kravitz. (Kravitz revealed earlier this year that she is currently working on her first solo album with Antonoff). During a brainstorming session, the quartet composed a track that would become “Lavender Haze”.
“It wasn’t specifically meant for anything,” he recalls. “That one was me going through sounds for 15 minutes and ended up hitting a button by accident. Jack’s eyes lit up and thought, ‘What was that?’ It happened to be this little little loop that my guy Jahaan [Sweet, fellow TDE producer] sent me some time ago.
Spears tweaked the loop and they added a bunch of effects to make it sound like it does now. “Sam came in with the melodies. Zoë is actually a creative genius. She’s not just a phenomenal actress. His ability to create different tones and find different melodies is next level.
A few months later, Antonoff reached out to Spears, Dew and Kravitz to see if he could pitch the song to Swift, who immediately loved it. She wrote lyrics inspired by a Mad Men scene, numerous tabloid rumors, and online gossip about his relationship status and “1950s expectations.”
“When Jack first brought us into our ears, all of our mouths dropped. She took him to a whole new world and made him her own. She created different pockets that we didn’t hear .
“Glitch”, one of the bonus songs of the Midnight (3am) edition, was born from the same studio session as “Lavender Haze”. The bubbly “Karma” came later, when Antonoff reached out to Spears for any other ideas he might have to contribute to the album and his synth-pop vision.
“‘Karma’ was just a last-minute Ave Maria,” Spears says. “I remembered that I was working with my guy Keanu [Beats] and had something that was too perfect not to send to him. As soon as I sent it, Jack immediately said ‘This is the one’. I play it for Taylor now. We are going there. The next day I heard the final product with his voice on it.
While it’s still too early to tell which songs will be the album’s smash hits, it’s clear that “Karma” has struck a chord on TikTok, nearly 20,000 videos for the official soundtrack with just days to go. asset.
“Such a fun song! It rings instantly and you just feel joy inside. And the messaging is so cool,” Spears says.
Spears only heard a few other songs from the LP before its official release; Antonoff had sent a sample of what he and Swift had been up to so Spears would have an idea of the sound they were going for when he went to crank out the beats after the lyrical and vocal additions. He was impressed with the sound, the concept and the surprise drop of seven additional tracks. He even has favorites already.
“Right now I’m going back and forth between ‘Anti-Hero’ and ‘Glitch.’ Not to honk, but I love the weirdness of “Glitch”. The venting part is everything it was meant to be. It’s so amazing to me.
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