Songwriter and producer Rodney Jerkins is very happy with the reception that his Lady Gaga/Beyoncé collaboration “Telephone” is getting — and he recently shared some of the hit single’s behind-the-scenes secrets with In Touch.
To read more about the genesis of "Telephone," click here.
The song was originally intended for Britney Spears.
Rodney: I started working together with Lady Gaga about two years ago, and we were actually just writing together for other artists. When we first started writing, we definitely had it in mind for Britney — then Gaga wanted to keep it for herself.
Beyonce wanted to keep her verse “street.”
Rodney: The Beyoncé collaboration idea happened after Gaga did "Video Phone" with Beyoncé. Gaga asked me, ‘What do you think about Beyoncé being a part of "Telephone"? And I’ve worked with Beyoncé on almost every one of her projects, so I was like, "Yeah, let’s do it!" I think that 20 years from now, we’ll look back and say that in the new-millennium era, Beyoncé was the premiere female artist. I think her working with other female artists [Beyoncé has also had duets with Shakira and Alicia Keys] shows that she’s not so egotistical that she’s not going to work with anybody. She looks at it as her lending her talent to them, and them lending her talent to her. When I got on the phone with Beyoncé, she was telling me she wanted her verses to have a hood, street element, and I actually was caught off-guard. I wondered, "How am I going to do that? How am I going to make a disco/techno record and create a hood, street anthem vibe for her verse?" But once I got to the studio, it just kind of came to me.
The song has a link to another diva duet.
Rodney: I think the most ironic thing about this situation is that when I created this track back in 2008, I purposefully used a harp sound in the beginning of the track that I also used on [Brandy/Monica No. 1 duet] "The Boy Is Mine" back in ’98. It’s kind of ironic that I used the same sound with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé and got the same type of results.
He was as surprised by the video as everyone else.
Rodney: When you create a song, you usually have your own visual interpretation of what it’s supposed be, but with most creative people, the videos never really match the concept of the song is about. I like the fact that Lady Gaga is very creative and serious when it comes to doing what she feels in her heart and wants to do. Beyoncé and Gaga both creatively pushed the buttons, they both went at it with a "no fear" attitude. There are a lot of jaw-dropping moments!
Gaga reminds him of another pop icon — and it’s not Madonna.
Rodney: We haven’t seen an artist like Gaga in a long time — we haven’t seen an artist that really has no fear. I remember Michael Jackson used to tell me he was crucified for doing "Thriller," but he had to do what he felt was needed at that time. I’m just happy to be part of history. The "Telephone" video broke records from getting so many views so fast. I’ve always wanted to leave my stamp on music, and to be able to say that I worked with Michael Jackson [on "You Rock My World"] and now I’m working with Lady Gaga, who’ll probably go down in history as one of the best female entertainers of all time — it’s amazing!