Having worked with Taylor Swift, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, and most recently Clairo, Jack Antonoff has produced some very successful albums with female artists. He has said himself that he is drawn to working with brutally honest female artists, and he clearly has a knack for helping them to open up and feel comfortable throughout the song-writing process. But what is it exactly that makes him such a great and sought-after producer?
Jack Antonoff initially rose to fame as a member of the pop-rock band fun. (known for their 2012 hit, We Are Young). Since then, Antonoff has created his own music under his official stage name, Bleachers; and has been known to include samples of his songs in other artists’ work that he has produced.
Antonoff has helped many female artists grow their careers
Since 2017, Antonoff has gained attention as a producer, making him the in-demand pop legend he is now widely recognised as. Antonoff has helped many female artists grow their careers; for example, Pink’s ‘Beautiful Trauma’, an album Antonoff produced and co-wrote two songs for, earned the year’s highest first-week sales for a female artist in 2017. More recently, he has worked on three Taylor Swift albums, Lorde’s upcoming album and Lana Del Rey’s recent projects.
Lana Del Rey has stated that “for [her], the magic of working with Jack was that he had that contagious energy when [she] had nothing more to give,” while Taylor Swift explained that “there is a boundless enthusiasm in the way Jack makes music, and it’s an absolutely irresistible quality to find in a collaborator. The excitement he exudes in the studio is just so contagious, and he never seems overworked because he genuinely, hopelessly, deeply loves what he’s doing.”
He is aware of his male privilege in the music industry
The Ringer credits Antonoff as the forefront of a larger change in the music industry, where modern pop music is no longer controlled by powerful male producers. Instead, Antonoff works alongside the female artists to create a new, experimental piece that shows off their own voice. Despite his success, he is aware of his male privilege in the music industry; “everyone’s got a crazy story, I’ve never met anyone immune to it”, and does not control the women he works with.
It’s no coincidence that Antonoff almost exclusively works with female artists. He says working with honest female artists “is so much more attractive […] than a lot of the weird paths certain male songwriters lead you down, that hide and mask emotions. The women I work with are powerhouses. I’m not in there telling them what to do, I’m on a ride with them.”
So, what does the music that Antonoff produces sound like? While childhood nostalgia is a central component to Antonoff’s own music, he maintains the personality of who he is working with across the work that he helps produce. When he contributes to other artists’ albums, he does not homogenise their sounds with his own or with each other. Antonoff incorporates himself into the writing process, to help draw out the artist’s emotions – owing to the multitude of “cavernous choruses” that Antonoff has helped create and that make for fan-favourites.
He views artists as individuals, who are not interchangeable with each other
Antonoff describes the writing process as rooting out “the saddest, most upsetting, most real things someone might go through, and then finding a way to sew those into pop songs”. This makes for individual and personal recordings for each artist. Additionally, Antonoff does not pre-write songs and send them out to artists. He views artists as individuals, who are not interchangeable with each other; so, their music must not be either.
Antonoff has quickly become one of the greatest and most sought-after producers in the pop music industry. The songs he produces exude honesty and are experimental, while maintaining the unique sounds of those he works with. It’s clear that Antonoff’s passion for music translates into each and every song that he works on.
In-article images courtesy of @jackantonoff via instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.
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