When pop producer Nadir “RedOne” Khayat made Jennifer Lopez the first new signing for his 2101 Records imprint (or as he calls it, “my little baby label”) weeks after signing a partnership deal with UMG’s Capitol Records Group, it represented the repayment of a old favor, even if he was the only one aware of it.
Back before his all-conquering hits with Lady Gaga, Khayat was an aspiring producer who’d recently left Europe to try and make it in the States, with little to show for his efforts.
“I was at a very low point in my career, broke, negative cash, newly married, sleeping on an air mattress in a bare apartment in New Jersey, and I was offered a spec remix on a Jennifer Lopez song,” he recalls. “I didn’t get the job, so I wasn’t paid cash, but I was given hope. The work I did opened the door for me at her label, Epic Records, and led to more work, which became the beginning of my career in the U.S.”
Since then, Khayat and Lopez have forged an intuitive partnership, one that many credit for bringing her out of a mid-career morass. After a multiyear stretch of underperforming output — particularly the disastrous 2007 LP “Brave” — Lopez left Epic and set up shop at Island, where “On the Floor,” her first RedOne production, registered as her first Top 10 single since 2003, with “Papi” and “Live It Up” following close behind.
In addition to shepherding Lopez’s upcoming record on the label end of things, Khayat will also produce from top to bottom.
“Our working process is simple,” he says. “We try to create great music that makes people dance, and has a point of view that reflects Jennifer’s personality.”