There was a time in J.R. Rotem’s life, specifically December of 2006, when he fended off more paparazzi than producers. Over three years ago, Rotem worked in studio with Britney Spears, eventually producing the track “Everybody”, an iTunes/Japan bonus for her 2007 LP, Blackout.
But the photogs and gossip blogs were more interested with what the two did outside the studio. Pictures emerged of the couple cuddling, holding hands, and enjoying each other’s company. At the time, Rotem thought it was all meant to be. Looking back on the situation, the producer realizes it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and even holds a few regrets.
“It was kind of a stupid phase I was going through, where I wouldn’t say that I was being a bad person but I would say that I was being not very genuine to who I am and what it is that I’m supposed to do,” remarked Rotem on that period of his career. Spears did not come up by name once in the final of a four part exclusive interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” But, Rotem produced every other piece to the puzzle.
“When somebody acts like that, or at least for me, some of it stems from insecurity,” the producer revealed, as he began to open up about his true feelings on the situation – now three years later. “Finally when you get some success (in the music industry), and you get some visibility and some money and things like that, it was almost like, I was trying to prove to myself and maybe to others, ‘Hey, I’m here,’… and it’s kind of a phase that I went through that I’m not proud of.”
“I don’t think that I did anything irreparable or harmed anyone, but I think what I probably did do is just kind of make a jackass out of myself for a few months there,” he continued – without pause – as if he wanted to get this off his conscience for a minute.
Sans Justin, Rotem probably has the most practical outlook on his relationship with Spears than any of her other ex-beaus. But what makes the producer unique is that in addition to coming to terms with his mistakes and moving on – Rotem is able to help his stable of young artists on his Beluga Heights record label by sharing his experiences, both good and bad.
“These artists that we sign, they’re very, very young. They go from not having a lot of money to having a lot of money and traveling the world, and the things that come with that,” said Rotem. “It’s kind of hard, not to get somewhat tainted by that. I try to give them the guidance that I can. But in the end, I feel like a person really has to go through their own process… there’s only so much somebody else can tell you.”
While speaking on that last point, Rotem referred to his phase as the time in his life when he wore sunglasses indoors, and was concerned with driving fancy cars. Somebody could have told him to knock it off (and he received plenty of criticism for it on the Internet). But for Rotem, he needed to experience it first hand, so that he could learn and move on. For it, he’s a better person, a more focused producer, and certainly less quick to judge when he spots someone rocking a pair of Ray-Bans in the dark.