Archives For j.r. rotem

J.R. Rotem breathed a sign of relief when he found out that Janet Jackson cleared the use of a sample from her 1993 number one hit, “Again” for the latest single from Iyaz, “Solo.”

“Unfortunately that song leaked before we ever solidified anything,” said Rotem. “In a way it was amazing; people really seemed to be loving the record, but yunno on another way, it’s not like we officially had mixed it or mastered it or gone for sample clearance or anything like that.”

Although it may be unclear as to who actually posted the track on YouTube, this much is known: Iyaz himself, as well as Sean Kingston, “tweeted” out the link to their followers, thus beginning the buzz on the song. Jackson did not speak with Rotem directly, but did offer a compliment on the final piece, in addition to clearing the sample.




Sample clearance is not a given – and like “Solo” – sometimes a track is produced but not commercially distributed before the okay is handed down. Case in point: a track off of Jason Derulo’s self-titled debut, due out March 2, called “Ridin’ Solo.” The version on YouTube contains portions of The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Rotem did not receive sample clearance from the band to use the track. Although disappointed, the song will still appear on the LP, with a different beat. It is not the first time the producer ran in to such an issue, and probably will not be the last.

“When you get creative, and you sample stuff, you don’t first get clearance,” explained Rotem. “There are certain cases, where people just aren’t interested… I actually can respect when they don’t want people to sample it… I can’t go in to it expecting that they are going to give me something that’s theirs.”

Rotem named Prince and The Rolling Stones in a list of different artists who are known not to offer sample clearance.

Sean Kingston is in the studio now, working on his third LP. But in an exclusive interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show” – producer J.R. Rotem reveals that he doesn’t know if he’ll be in the studio with Kingston this time around.

“I honestly don’t have any information on Sean in particular,” responded Rotem when I inquired about Kingston’s new project. “He’s still signed to Beluga Heights/Epic, but I haven’t worked with him in a while.”

The “Fire Burnin” singer confirmed on “The RRS” in November that he is working on new stuff, and even said at the time that he was working with Rotem – who originally discovered Kingston on MySpace. But since Kingston’s 2007 self-titled debut, it seems the chemistry between the producer and artist has faded.




“Truthfully, I don’t know if I’m gonna be, from a producer standpoint, working on the next album that he’s going to be doing,” said Rotem. “Me and Sean had a chemistry, a very strong chemistry on the first album. I ended up producing the entire album. On the second album, it was kind of a different vibe. I probably did about half that album. And I would say that at this point, he’s kind of doing his own thing on his third album.”

Rotem reiterated during our conversation that Kingston is still signed to his label, a dual venture with Epic, and that will not be changing in the immediate future.

It’s a cool sound effect – and J.R. Rotem created it, and places it on some of the songs he produces, simply as a way to promote himself.

“These days, as you know, people are buying physical CDs less,” said Rotem in the first of an exclusive four-part interview on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” They buy iTunes stuff; they listen to things on YouTube. The days of people looking at liner notes on albums is kind of a thing of the past.”

So the stuttering “J.R.” sound effect was born. Although it graces some of his work, Rotem doesn’t use it on everything – citing Leona Lewis’s “Better In Time” as one track he felt it didn’t fit with. Radio stations also feel this way about some of his songs, creating custom edits for use on-air without the signature. But Rotem is just fine with that.




“I don’t look at it as like a prerequisite, like you have to put that in there,” explained Rotem. “In the cases where they edit it out, that’s definitely something I understand and am cool with.”

Program directors of stations across the country have had many tracks gracing their desks and desktops with the “J.R.” audio signature – from Sean Kingston to Jason Derulo to Iyaz. As of late, Rotem and his Beluga Heights label have seen a great amount of success with the later two artists – as each have spawned a number one hit with “Whatcha Say” and “Replay” respecitively.