Powerhouse Producers: Linda Perry, DJ Khaled, Jean-Michel Jarre, and More

Powerhouse Producers: Linda Perry, DJ Khaled, Jean-Michel Jarre, and More

From inside their studios, these producers are making music history with some of the biggest names in the industry.

From inside their studios, these producers are making music history with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Photographed by Ivan Barrios.

DJ Khaled

Works with Future, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Rick Ross, Pitbull, Busta Rhymes, John Legend, T.I., Nas, Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Birdman, J. Cole, French Montana, Ludacris, Wale.

"I been following Khaled since day one—Florida been a very important state in my career. First time I met him was through my assistant Ebonie’s shoe store. We been brothers since. Khaled been the same guy since I met him. Any time we record, it’s always a positive conversation about winning and appreciating life. He’s never changed. I just love the amount of historic records we did. We probably forgot about better records than we actually put out. He helps me get in the zone just by his presence." —Future

Linda Perry

Works with Christina Aguilera, Céline Dion, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Courtney Love, P!Nk, Miley Cyrus.

"Linda finds a way to channel what’s best and different about an artist and I really enjoy her process as a producer. When working on “Beautiful,” she pushed me to find the raw and endearing qualities in my voice that relied more on emotion than perfection, and changed how I approached certain vocal recordings ever since. She works tirelessly to find and get down to the truth and honesty in an artist, nurturing their strengths and putting genuine heart and authenticity into all the music she puts forth in a most sincere and organic way." —Christina Aguilera

Photographed by Genevieve Tedder.

Ryan Tedder

Works with U2, Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Adele,  Ellie Goulding, The Wanted, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Hudson, Onerepublic, Ariana Grande, One Direction, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff.

"There are people who love music and there are people who music loves. Ryan is both. We’re very blessed to have him as a producer, he raises our game whenever he’s in the room." —U2

"The first time I worked with Ryan Tedder was like looking into a creativity mirror. We both had the same work speed: rapid, boundless, and all over the place. It was a perfect match. Like two songwriting rabbits." —Adam Levine

Photographed by Malay.

Malay

Works with Zayn Malik, Big Boi, Frank Ocean, Alicia Keys, Angel Haze, Alessia Cara, John Legend.

“Malay is a rare breed of producer. He loves music and is all about obtaining the true perspective of the artist. When we were recording [Mind of Mine], we went camping for a week in the forest. There was a tent, a generator, a gas grill, BB guns, bows and arrows—it was wild. We’re already on to writing the second album. Can’t wait for people to hear it.” —Zayn Malik

Photographed by Annie Powers.

Clams Casino

Works with Lil B, A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Blood Orange, Mac Miller, FKA Twigs, A$AP Ferg, Danny Brown, Vince Staples, Jhené Aiko, Schoolboy Q.

"Me and Clams have always kept it organic, the way we work. It’s just always the right time, it’s never no pressure. Clams has made history with this new album [32 Levels]." —Lil B

Photographed by Ian Tilgham.

Classixx

Work with Passion Pit, T-Pain, How To Dress Well, Holy Ghost!, LCD Soundsystem.

"I often like to write top lines alone when I’m collaborating with other producers, because, as a producer, it helps me do my job better, since most of my life has been dedicated to production. But Tyler [Blake] and Mike [David, together, Classixx] sent me [“Safe Inside”] and I took an iPhone video of some weird thing I came up with—I thought they’d hate it, but they didn’t. I was pretty surprised. I kept telling them I probably couldn’t finish it because I had been inundated with tour and other issues, but those guys flew out and were like, “We’re finishing this damn song.” I sat there on my couch and finished the lyrics and melody on the spot. It came quickly, and I didn’t mind a bit that I had an audience. To me, that’s what makes a great producer. If you can make other writers or producers feel comfortable that effortlessly, and get what you need for the record you’re cutting, you’re an amazing producer." —Michael Angelakos

"I wrote [“Just Let Go”] on piano. Initially, it felt like more recent Kate Bush, or something of that ilk. I sent it to Mike and Tyler and they just saw a whole different path and flipped it into a full diva banger." – Tom Krell

"Classixx have this little blue bungalow in Venice, California where they set up a small but really cool studio. It’s a very old school Venice vibe: bright colors, sun, palm trees, ocean air. So, it’s basically the opposite of being in NYC. We did the song “I Feel Numb” over the course of a few different sessions, using a mix of new and vintage gear, outboard and in the box. I also worked on it remotely from my studio and we passed files back and forth over the internets. It was an incredibly fun and easy experience." —Alex Frankel

Photographed by Chris Cuffaro.

Jean-Michel Jarre

Works with Pete Townshend, Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson, Gary Numan, John Carpenter, Pet Shop Boys, Tangerine Dream, Primal Scream, Moby, Air, M83, Armin Van Buuren, Gesaffelstein, Boys Noize, Peaches.

"Jean-Michel contacted me directly about this project [Electronica 1: The Time Machine, featuring the collaborative track “Travelator (Part 2)”]. We had never met, and never corresponded before. I knew his most famous music, but had mainly been interested in his studios, his old synthesizers, and his incredibly audacious audio-visual concerts to millions of people. He seems to me to be a kind of art installation in himself. When we met face-to-face we had so much in common, and such artistic empathy, that we immediately became great friends.

He had prepared three tracks, which were like rave music, extreme EDM. Super fast tempo. My job was to write lyrics. I was quickly inspired by an image of an extraordinary vehicle, steered by the Great Steersman Himself (God!) from this planet to another (God was abandoning the Earth to the Plague, but taking me with Him, of course). I did some vocal demos, then Jean-Michel came to my home studio and I did proper vocals, backing vocals, and some rhythm and lead guitar parts. He is very much the producer. He is tireless, and quite perfectionist, but also really supportive and inspiring.

Jean-Michel is a great raconteur, but also loves to talk about the evolution of technology in his own career. In other words, he talks a lot. This is not ego, simply enthusiasm. We both love talking about this stuff. When we went for dinner together, my partner Rachel said it was like listening to two self-obsessed nerdy schoolboys talking about their new studio toys. Of course we were also talking about our old studio toys as well, those old vintage machines that young keyboard guys want to try so badly, that we now consign to storage warehouses or museums. The new stuff is quite simply better in so many ways. There is an irony there. Both of us remember cutting up tape with razor blades to make our biggest hits." —Pete Townshend

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