Los Angeles-based songwriter and producer Andrew Goldstein scored the biggest hit of his career this year via a co-write of Blackbear’s smash “Hot Girl Bummer,” which lit up radio in America for the first four months of 2020 (its spin count is north of 538,700, according to Mediabase). He also co-wrote two songs on Katy Perry’s recently released album “Smile.”
“It’s been a wild ride,” laughs the 34-year-old of the irreverent, internet-savvy tune he wrote with Blackbear in 2019. “The day it was at the top of ‘Today’s Top Hits’ on Spotify with Bear’s picture was a really great moment, and hearing it on KIIS-FM in L.A. was [also] really awesome,” he says of from his home in Studio City.
Goldstein has his roots in the Emo scene and began his love affair with music as a member of the band The Friday Night Boys, who were signed to Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic over a decade ago. He remembers thinking last year that he and Blackbear had captured something special in the zeitgeist that still resonates with music fans today. (“Hot Girl Bummer” is nearing 700 million streams on Spotify and is double platinum in the U.S.).
“We go into the session at his studio at his house, and I played him a voice note of something and I was like ‘I have this really dumb idea but you might be able to make it good,’” Goldstein recounts of the song’s main hook.
“Hot Girl Bummer” was far from finished on that first day, but by day two, Blackbear had the verses ready and by the third day, the pair had finished what they knew might light up the internet.
“It was over in three days and it came together quickly,” says Goldstein. “We didn’t really second-guess anything, we just rolled with it, which I loved. We decided to move the first part or the first verse to the end of the chorus, so and then we both jumped up, like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the thing!’ Then we sent the song in, and the label [Interscope] was, like, ‘We’re gonna go with this right now.’”
The pair got a further boost as Megan Thee Stallion’s similarly titled song “Hot Girl Summer” also dropped around the same time last year, but according to Goldstein, both songs found their own legs independently of each other in spite of it all.
“She [Megan Thee Stallion] wasn’t anywhere as close to as big as she is now, but at the time she was bubbling and we were, like, ‘I hope this doesn’t mess with our song’ — we just made our song because people were saying it [the phrase] at the time [on social media].”
Goldstein acknowledges that the fact the songs had similar titles may have helped the song’s visibility when it first debuted. “It drew eyes to the song initially, but after a while, people kind of understood that it wasn’t some sort of parody or whatever it was just like a different type of song with a different concept [despite the similar song title].”
Once “Hot Girl Bummer” proved itself as a bona-fide success, after Interscope took it to radio at the beginning of 2020, more opportunities opened up for Goldstein.
He co-wrote on All Time Low’s alternative rock hit “Monsters” and more recently, shares a credit on two songs from Katy Perry’s “Smile” album (“Teary Eyes” and “Not the End of the World”).
Says Goldstein: “[Producer] J-Kash [Jacob Kasher] is one of my buddies and he just called me up and was, like, ‘Hey do you wanna write with Katy?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ It was crazy because I have written with artists before and I’m a fan of Katy’s but there is always still that moment where you’re, like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Katy Perry’ in the studio.”
But being star-struck didn’t last long, he adds. “After two minutes, Katy makes you feel valuable and like a friend; she’s just such a chill person that you wouldn’t know she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world. … The thing about the best artists is, and this is especially true in the studio, that they make you feel like an equal contributor… When you’re in the room with them, the main goal is to make great music.”
So, what’s next for the Kobalt-signed songwriter/producer? He hopes to continue work on his electronic side artist project (simply called FRND) and a few big co-writes (“there’s a lot of stuff I’d love to talk about, but I can’t quite say it yet,” he teases). What he can say, is that more music is on the way from him and Blackbear. “We have a few exciting collaborations that he has coming out, as well as new material for him.”
And naturally, the songwriter will continue to do more sessions this fall and into 2021, though he predicts less Zoom sessions, and more in-person co-writes. Says Goldstein, who has already taken part in several mini-writing camps in California where all participants take a Covid test and if they test free of the virus, agree to lock themselves in Airbnb rentals for a few days to write together: “There’s something about talking over someone that works better in person for songwriting ideas… whereas on Zoom you have to wait for each person to speak and it sort of feels like work because you’re talking so much and you can get tired out. It’s definitely weird, but on Zoom I find it easier if someone first has some shell of an idea first, so you can at least have a starting point.”
As 2020 comes to a close, Goldstein remains optimistic about the state of the music industry in general, adding: “It’s an exciting time, because now, you don’t have to be a well-known or established artist necessarily to make music that reaches a lot of people.”