‘She’s at a place right now where her voice just sounds incredible,’ vocal producer Kuk Harrell tells MTV News.
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Vanessa White Wolf
Rihanna is pretty feisty on Talk That Talk. The pop star sings quite candidly about what she likes (and doesn’t like) between the sheets on the new album, which relies heavily on dance and house influences.
During her Loud Tour, Rihanna hooked up with frequent vocal producer Kuk Harrell and found her voice for the just-released album.
“They scheduled me to go out to Europe and start recording. It’s an amazing process, working with her while she’s on the road. It’s great to see how she does a show every single night [and then records],” he told MTV News, before adding that, “Sure enough at 2, 3 o’clock in the morning, I get the call: She’s on her way.”
Making Talk That Talk was a brisk process. “We were in the studio probably like three weeks total,” he recalled. When it came to the album’s sound, Rihanna and Harrell — as well as producers like The-Dream, Bangladesh, Calvin Harris and Dr. Luke — concocted a mixture of emotions and sounds to define the record.
“At points, it’s a combination of edgy and passionate at the same time, and when you listen to the album, it’s just like Loud,” he explained. “She’s at a place right now where her voice just sounds incredible, and she’s such a great presence.”
Rihanna has certainly experimented with dance music in the past, especially on tracks like “Only Girl (In the World),” but she went deep into the genre on this album. It didn’t change the way Harrell and Ri worked together very much, the producer said.
“It doesn’t change anything for me. … The goal is always getting the best performance out of her,” he explained. “So it’s just a matter of making sure we capture the vibe of the record. If it’s up and moving, we gotta make sure her performance matches that.
“She’s definitely ready to do it, but there are times throughout the whole process I do have to — I’m not coaching her, I’m just producing how to get this performance,” he continued. “When she sings a line, if I don’t think it matches the intensity of the lyric, then I’ll go ‘Man, push a little harder.’ ”
Rihanna seems to be pushing herself these days too. She just revealed on Twitter that she’s set to work on her second Talk That Talk video, for the track “You Da One.” “I can’t stop listening to #YouDaOne … So addictive!!!!” she tweeted. “Maybe because we shooting the vid soon! Workin on treatment all now….”
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