Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Lana Del Rey, Ozzy Osbourne, Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa: all of these bold-faced names have 30-year-old Andrew Watt in common and two — Lipa and Malone — are up for album of the year for projects he worked on. No wonder Watt himself is a Grammy contender for producer of the year. The L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist, who’s releasing a solo album in 2021, spoke to Variety about his journey so far.
How did you react when you heard about your Grammy nomination for producer non-classical?
I got up, flipped my phone over, and saw the most messages I’ve ever had in my life. I’m like, “What the hell is this about?” When I saw what it was, I was shocked. I yelled out loud, “Oh my god!” It wasn’t something that we were trying for or attempting to do, it just was really natural and I was so honored. I guess that’s when those types of things happen, when you’re not trying.
You’ve worked with rock greats like Mick Jagger and pop stars like Dua Lipa; what do you bring from your rock production into the pop world and vice-versa?
It all starts with a guitar or bass for me. A song like “Break My Heart” that we did on Dua’s album, it started with a bass line that was INXS-esque. Then we took it in her direction. With Ozzy, he has such a legacy, so I can say to myself: “Okay, Andrew, step out of this. Be the 12-year-old fan that grew up on this music. What do you want to hear from Ozzy? The guys from Guns N’ Roses and the Red Hot Chili Peppers collaborating with him?” I can put the picture together of how I want it to sound and bring in different things from his past.
Collaborations like Ozzy and Post, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, and Miley with Dua seem to have you as a common thread.
It’s my favorite thing to do. I dream up these situations, and then get to see it happen. The Miley-Dua song was all Miley’s idea; we just made it happen pretty seamlessly. A song like “Señorita,” Shawn and Camila already had a history and a strong friendship. I started with the idea and Shawn helped me finish it. Then I was, like, “You should do this with Camila,” and he was like, “That’s the only person I could hear on it.” They made the song together and fell in love during the song, which was a really powerful experience and something that will live forever.
You’re releasing your debut solo record next year. What can listeners expect?
I wanted to make an album of collaborations where I put people together who don’t belong together, or someone that I’m collaborating with where they come into a different sound with me. There’s going to be different musicians on every song, the band is going to be comprised of all different people from all walks of life and each song is going to be its own special musical journey.