Check The Credits: Rock City Speak on Writing for Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, & More

01.31.2014

MUSIC

“Man Down” – Rihanna

Theron: We were working with producer Sak Pase out in LA during a Rihanna writing camp. At that time everybody was making dance music for her. Everybody wants that first single and those pop hits. It’s like thirty writers out there with everybody writing between three and four records. The three of us were like how do you compete with sixty of the same song? Then it clicked; Sham is from Haiti and we’re from the Virgin Islands. We were the Caribbean people at the writing camp and Rihanna is of course Caribbean.

Timothy: We have always been huge Bob Marley fans and we love “I Shot the Sheriff.” It was so ill how Bob Marley says he shot the sheriff. He said he shot a cop! That song is so crazy. I was like what if Rihanna shot somebody? Sak Pase was like “What? Why would she shoot somebody?” I thought it could be like a movie or something. I wasn’t sure why she shot somebody, but if she shot somebody it would be the biggest headlining news. I knew that if I shot somebody that the first person I’d probably call is my mom. I’d tell her she might not be seeing her son for a while and then I’d tell her whatever the story was. It really started out as a joke. I was playing like “Oh mama, I just shot a man down.” Then my brother goes “Oh why, oh why.” It was really a joke, but it was sounding hot, so we laid it down. People came in the room and heard it and was like “Nah, we want Dance. We want pop records. We don’t want anything Caribbean.” We were shocked, because obviously she’s Caribbean. Then Bu – Akon’s brother – heard the record and loved it, so he took it to Rihanna. She ended up loving it.

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