Archives For j.r. rotem

Singing quintet Fifth Harmony released its debut album, Reflection, on Tuesday. The ladies dreamt of putting out a full length album for two years, and realized on their journey that nothing with a major record label is guaranteed.

“First we did an EP. We were actually supposed to first do an album but then it turned in to an EP,” recalled singer Ally Brooke Hernandez during an interview with the group on “Ralphie Tonight.” “We just really wanted to get the actual album right and kind of find our sound and who we are more as artists.

The group formed during the second season of “The X-Factor” in the United States. Following a third place finish, show judges L.A. Reid and Simon Cowell partnered to sign the act to a deal. A total of 5 EPs, including two that featured acoustic versions of previously-released extended plays, were released up to this point.

The LP is buoyed by the recent success of “Sledgehammer,” the act’s highest charting song on pop radio to date. Adjectives like “awesome,” “friggen crazy,” and “awesome-balls” were all thrown out when I asked what it was like to hear their song on the radio. “Worth It,” an up-tempo, saxophone driven track that features a verse from rapper Kid Ink, will serve as the album’s second single.

Surprisingly, when asked to mention a track from the release that stuck out to each member of the group, the single was the last to come up. Other personal favorites of the ladies include “Like Mariah,” and “Everlasting Love.”

“We’ve been listening to it so much on our own,” admitted Lauren Jauregui. “This is the hard copy, but we have all of the songs in our head already so this is great.”

The liner notes for the album read like a “Who’s who” list in music. Label-mate Meghan Trainor co-wrote the radio-friendly “Sledgehammer” and “Suga Mama.” Ms. Carey herself along with Jermaine Dupri and J.R. Rotem are credited with the aforementioned “Like Mariah.” Other contributors include Dr. Luke, (Katy Perry) Stargate (Ne-Yo, Wiz Khalifa) and Priscilla Renea (Rihanna, Selena Gomez).

Fifth Harmony took part in a number of CD release signings in the Northeast before heading out to Los Angeles for more promo. The west coast trip will include a stop at Westwood One’s “Red Carpet Radio” at the Staples Center, ahead of this weekend’s 57th GRAMMY Awards. “Ralphie Tonight” will be live from Los Angeles starting Thursday.

Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz stopped by “Ralphie Tonight” to mostly talk about the band’s single “Centuries.” It serves as the lead single from FOB’s forthcoming LP, American Beauty/American Psycho and samples the 1981 Suzanne Vega hit, “Tom’s Diner.”

Pete also chatted on the show about last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which FOB performed in but was not prepared for at all.

Jason Derulo revealed quite a bit about his sophomore album in an interview that aired Thursday evening on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” Future History is slated for a tentative September release. Derulo started with a pool of 150 songs for the project – which he narrowed to 20. The singer will drop six more before compiling a track listing. He estimates that producer J.R. Rotem will produce about a quarter of the album.

Derulo also spoke of his link to The Fliptones, who produced Future History’s first single, “Don’t Wanna Go Home.”

“The Fliptones are some friends of mine from back in the day,” he said. “Before I was signed (to a record deal), we used to make music together when we were younger, and I signed them to a management deal and a publishing deal.”

It’s certainly a refreshing tale of a superstar who doesn’t forget his roots and the friends he made on his way up the latter. Derulo has also signed a handful of singers and songwriters, some of which will be releasing material in the near future. But at the moment, the “Whatcha Say” singer has his hands full with this sophomore album, and making sure that people don’t hear premature tracks. While Derulo seemed to joke about the recent leak of a demo to “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” he also sounded a bit frustrated that a non-final recording made a first impression to some of his fans.


“I just want to have a talk with all the hackers out there, like, ‘If you’re going to hack these e-mails, just get a better version of the song!” he said. “Why does it always have to be like a crappy version of the song that has to leak out?”

In the instance of “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” the bootleg was one of the first working edits – usually Derulo will go in to the recording booth, freestyle lyrics, and work from there. A quick comparison of the demo to the final shows that in addition to some vocal and instrumental effects, there are actual differences in the words being sung as well.

“I would have no problem if (the leak) was like a copy that I was pleased with,” admitted Derulo. “It’s just the worst copy of the song you could hear.”

How bad was it? Personally speaking, I thought it was good enough to spin on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” Of course, I don’t have the ear of a musician. But, I think it speaks volumes to Derulo’s talent that one of his first edits is better than some of the final edits we receive from other singers.

By the way, unlike other artists (see: David Guetta), Derulo hasn’t hired an investigator to find the source of the leak. But Derulo offered a word of caution to other artists.

“You also have to be careful where you record material too because, I was in Miami when I recorded that version,” he said. “I think the studio may have… I shouldn’t guess like that, but I can’t think of any other way.”

Detective Derulo… forget “What If?” – who knew?

Most bands grow up attending Vans Warped Tour, continue to grow up while playing Warped Tour, and then hopefully graduate on to bigger and better things.

The Ready Set isn’t most acts. For starters, the band is comprised of one: 21 year-old Jordan Mark Witzigreuter. The last time Jordan attended Warped was seven years ago. This summer, he’ll play the tour for his first time. Coincidentally enough, Simple Plan headlined the summer-long festival when Witzigreuter was 14. The pop-rock band from Canada returns this year, but its The Ready Set that hits the stage backed by radio spins and a platinum-selling single in the J.R. Rotem-produced, “Love Like Woe.”


“I think it’s going to be fun. I know Warped Tour, for a lot of bands, it’s kind of that thing where you go on it and it’s a thing that can like make or break you,” said Jordan in-studio on “The Ralphie Radio Show. “I’m excited to go into it with sort of an established fan base and I’m just really looking forward to seeing the crowds and seeing how it goes.”

Vans Warped Tour isn’t the most easy-going of the summer festivals: “a grind” and “summer band camp” are terms commonly used by acts with Warped experience.

“Everyone I know says it’s the most fun but also the most difficult tour to do,” the Indiana-born musician shared. “We’ve done summer festival tours but I know this is the ultimate one.”

No, Jordan didn’t misspeak there. Although he’s the only official member of The Ready Set, Witzigreuter is supported by a live backing band on tour dates and radio stops.

“I wanted to do the band name thing to kind of give the whole project a theme,” revealed Jordan of why he went with The Ready Set as opposed to just shortening his last name. “It’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

Witzigreuter is no stranger to diversifying – after enlisted Rotem’s help for his first single, he turned to The Cataracs (“Like a G6”) for assistance on his second single, “Young Forever.”

“The thing for me is, I want to make sure that I never put out the same song twice,” said Jordan. “I don’t want to make anyone bored.”

Sure, her label may bill her that way. Yes, you may even think it after listening to “La La La.” But do not call Auburn the “female Jason Derulo.”

Matter of fact, don’t call her the female version of anything.

The MySpace sensation scored a record deal with J.R. Rotem’s Beluga Heights well before Derulo or Iyaz burst on to the scene. Now it’s her turn at stardom with her first single pushed to radio, the catchy “La La La”, which features her labelmate Iyaz.

Auburn checked in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” to shed some light on the track and the path she took to reach the current point of her career.

Part 1: “La La La”

Part 2: MySpace

I learned the difference first hand between the tabloids in the States and across the pond on Saturday. The British boy-band JLS joined “The Ralphie Radio Show” – and were quick to correct me when I cited a report that I read in The Mirror that the fellas hung out with Jay-Z and KanYe West in Los Angeles.

“It’s good that you ask, because we can squash (the rumors),” replied Marvin Humes, who called in to “The RRS” from the UK just a few months ago. “The Jay-Z connection has come from back home.”

Both Jay and JLS performed and won at The Brit Awards, which is similar to the Grammys. After the show, the “Empire State of Mind” emcee congratulated the boys at an after party by sending a bottle of champagne over to their table… of course, each person received their own bottle.

As for Mr. West, JB Gill revealed JLS has yet to rub elbows or receive gifts from him. The initial report also claimed the boys were introduced to both rappers by former Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan, also incorrect.

Download the interview

While we were speaking about what they did not do – Humes noted that they have yet to meet with J.R. Rotem, the man who produced “Everybody In Love” (along with half of everything else you hear on the radio these days). Yes, Aston Merrygold was photographed at Burger King but no, he never made it to In-N-Out Burger.

The guys did try Pinkberry for their first time – Oritsé Williams insisted he is addicted. Also while in L.A., the band wrote some new material for a forthcoming LP. Humes said that they worked with some big producers, including Toby Gad (Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy”).

JLS has also now encountered both the paparazzi in the UK and in the US. So, who’s more aggressive?

“We’re cool with both,” insisted Gill. “I’d say probably a bit more aggressive in the UK, obviously because we’re more known. But you know what, the paparazzi, they do their job and they help us – yunno, they give us press and they let people out there know what we’re doing.”

In an interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show,” Iyaz revealed that he recently collaborated with Miley Cyrus in-studio.

“No, that was for her’s,” replied the singer, real name Keidran Jones, when asked if the track would be featured on his forthcoming album. Reprise Records’ Tommy Page confirmed that Iyaz’s debut LP, My Life, will hit stores April 27. The first single, “Replay” – not only topped the charts, but scored the Virgin Islands pop star some free product from Apple.

“They gave me some small little Shuffles that said, ‘Stuck On Replay’ on the back,” Iyaz divulged. On the hook of “Replay”, the crooner likens his unwavering love for a girl to his iPod being stuck on replay. “‘Replay’… all of my songs, if not most of ‘em, are based on true stories.”

Download the mp3

This also holds true with Iyaz’s latest single, “Solo,” – yes, he’s an eligible bachelor. The song samples Janet Jackson’s 1993 smash, “Again.” In a prior interview on “The RRS”, producer J.R. Rotem remarked that he breathed a sigh of relief when the sample cleared, as the song leaked on to YouTube before clearance. Although Iyaz eventually sent the link out to his followers on Twitter, he denies actually posting the track.

“I was in Vegas… I went on my Twitter, and somebody posted, “Man, I just heard ‘Solo’ on the radio,” recalled Iyaz. “So, you know me. I went straight to YouTube, and there it is. I was like, ‘Wow!’ And I didn’t have it (yet).”

The singer said that a similar situation occurred with “Replay.” Surely Iyaz hopes the entire situation will rewind and playback – producing yet another number one hit for the twenty-one year old artist.

Download the mp3

It won’t be released until this Tuesday, but Jason Derulo and Warner Brothers Records were kind enough to advance “The Ralphie Radio Show” and A.J. In The Afternoon copies of the Beluga Heights singer’s debut album. The nine track LP includes the number one hit, “Whatcha Say”, as well as “In My Head” and a few others that are sure to be instant classics. J.R. Rotem is the Executuve Producer of the project.

An iTunes Deluxe Version will include the acoustic remix of “Whatcha Say” along with a remix of “In My Head” and the music videos for both singles.

Marvin Humes, a member of JLS, called in to “The Ralphie Radio Show” from across the pond to chat about the UK boy band’s single, “Everybody In Love”, produced by J.R. Rotem.

JLS placed second in the 2008 season of “The X-Factor,” Simon Cowell’s version of “American Idol” in the UK.

Part 1: “Everybody In Love”, working with J.R. Rotem

Part 2: Success in the UK, coming to the States, working with Simon Cowell

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.