Studio Campfire Stories: “Everything She Wants” (feat. Phonte)

“Everything She Wants” was actually the LAST song recorded for the album. The reason why Phonte is on the joint is because…. well…. we both knew that he and I could complete a song super quickly and efficiently. At the time I was looking to get just ONE more joint on the album to being the total to seven and nothing was showing any promise. I was debating on whether or not to do an instrumental track as was done on …just visiting too, but selection-wise nothing was coming together. It’s kind of a difficult position to be in because as an artist because you never want to force creativity, yet the deadline you set for yourself is staring you in your face and suggesting otherwise. Well, there was about a week left until the deadline the day that I started looking through my iTunes collection and spotted a song that I thought might be perfect… My text to Phonte read: 

“Left field idea for JV3… “Everything She Wants” by Wham”

….Then I waited. 

Looking back in my text history, there IS no return text… Why? Because Phonte called me back…. Now we all know it serious when you send somebody a text and they hit that ‘talk’ button on you. And now, to give you more proof in regards to how much kats are on the same page musically, he basically told me that he had always wanted to remake that particular joint mainly because he talked about how well-written the song was. Well shit!! Sounds like we have a winner!! The discussion that followed involved HOW we were gonna remake it.  The first issue at hand: Tempo. We agreed that we would either have to do more of a sped up version of it to make it our own, or a version where the tempo was slower… we chose the latter. The funny thing is, I remember thinking of the drum pattern that I was going to use while he and I were still on the phone. As soon as we hung up, I went down to the studio and started working on a slower and more grooved-out version of “Everything She Wants” by programming and recording the drums… 

As a musician and a producer, it’s ALWAYS a positive when the music that you end up creating is identical to what you hear in your head. That is something that has taken me years of practice and repetition to be able to pull of more consistently. This is exactly what happened with “Everything…” – The drums, the swing, the recreation of the music became exactly what I heard in my head. And when this does happen, I get reeeeal hyped up about how it sounds. But even with everything sounding the way it did, I still felt as though it could go somewhere else. Once again, Phonte and I hopped on the phone… and we began to bounce ideas back and forth. I kept saying that the turnaround in the bridge sounded like SOMETHING and I couldn’t put my finger on it to save my life. After about 15-20 minutes of brainstorming… Dropping the subject and coming back to it, the conversation sounded something like this…

Me: “We’ve gotta be able to flip it into something else”

*a few seconds of silence*

Phonte: “Ok… What about ‘Remember The Time?'”

Me: *turned to the keys and played the music from “Everything She Wants” as it transitions into “Remember the Time”* “…………HEEEELL YEAH!!! THAT’S THE ONE!!!”

Soon after we got off the phone, I laid down a full demo version, which consisted of the already finished drums and just a Rhodes keyboard track where I played both the bass and the chord parts. I sent it on through to Phonte and waited for him to record his vocals. Once I got his vocal reference back, the one thing that stood out to me was that the slower tempo made me focus in on the lyrical content more. For those who know me well understand that this is HUGE, because I usually get so caught up in analyzing the music that never really pay attention to the lyrics, which is why it takes me forever to learn them. Vocally, I was hearing Phonte get bolder and more comfortable with his range and also with the harmonies he used throughout the song. Being able to witness this kat that I consider my brother grow as an artist firsthand has been a priceless experience in itself. And in my humble opinion, as was done with “Black Cow” joint – he nailed this one… 

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Village Voice Shows Love to ‘…just visiting three’

This Wham! Cover By Zo! And Phonte is Pretty Fantastic!
Source: The Village Voice 

By: Maura Johnston

Right off the bat I should tell you that “Everything She Wants” by Wham! has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it as an impressionable nine-year-old, even though its themes of love being washed away by consumerism and economic pressures were far beyond my years; its gentle shimmy and dollop of funk on already-existing synthpop tropes—and, of course, the bravura vocal by the pre-Faith George Michael (particularly on the breakdown)—made me drop the needle on it again and again. This morning I was alerted to a cover of the track by the musician-producer Zo! and Phonte (late of Little Brother, now of The Foreign Exchange), and oh is it good; it slows the track down just enough to wring the longing out of it in a completely different way, with sputtering synths and a nice, juicy bassline. And there’s even a shout-out to Michael Jackson near the end, although I won’t spoil its exact nature… Read the Full Article