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David Guetta: Nicki Minaj Has ‘Different Talents’ — Exclusive

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If by chance you suddenly get violently ill while listening to a David Guetta production then it may be best to avoid the radio all together. Actually you should also trash your flat screen TV, take a self-imposed hiatus from all dance clubs and sequester yourself from all pop culture obsessed Internet sites. Indeed, the omnipresent French dance music producer has been virtually unavoidable on all media formats over the past three years. Guetta has been both celebrated and blamed for ushering in the Euro-pop sound, bolstered by his chart-topping work with the Black Eyed Peas (2009′s ‘I Gotta Feeling’), Akon (2009′s ‘Sexy Bitch’), Kid Cudi (2010′s ‘Memories’) and Usher (2011′s ‘Without You’). Yet Guetta reminds you that beyond his mammoth synth-heavy international hits and work with rap’s biggest stars, he’s really just a local house music DJ at heart.

“I’ve been a DJ all my life producing club beats that have been more underground,” Guetta tells The BoomBox of his days in the mid ’90s playing at such French clubs as Le Centrale, the Rex, Le Boy and Folies Pigalle. “But I’m also known now for combining that with an urban music sound. Whether it’s pop or R&B, to me it’s all dance music.” For Guetta, who is responsible for dance pop’s current music takeover, he is anything but contrite when it comes to fighting for the, at times, maligned music genre. In fact, he’s proud of the entire scene.

The BoomBox caught up with Guetta to discuss his re-shaping of America’s dance music scene, his much debated collaborations with R&B and hip-hop artists, his artistic crush on Nicki Minaj and why he just may be the most influential producer today.

Let’s start with the enormous impact you have had on pop dance music, which has had a huge influence on R&B and hip-hop artists like Usher, who you featured on your own hit ‘Without You,’ as well as Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Akon. Have you been shocked at the sheer volume of acts that have gone the Euro-club pop route?

It’s been great. I always wanted to create that bridge between the European electronic music culture and American urban culture.

Watch David Guetta’s ‘Turn Me On’ Lyric Video Feat. Nicki Minaj


Was there one particular song that you credit with opening up the floodgates for that sound in America?

I credit that to three records I produced: ‘When Love Takes Over,’ which featured Kelly Rowland, the Black Eyed Peas‘ ‘I Gotta Feeling’ and with ‘Sexy Bitch,’ which I did with Akon. Even though ‘I Gotta Feeling’ was one of the biggest successes of the last 10 years, ‘Sexy Bitch’ has been just as influential because that sound really changed American pop music. That opened up a lot for me in America.

In a past interview, you have given your take on hip-hop, talking about its evolution from the Sugarhill Gang to producers using soul samples. What’s your take on the hip-hop artform today and its continued growth in Europe?

Hip-hop is not as big in Europe as it is in America, but it’s becoming very popular. I think artists like Nicki Minaj, who is experimenting with their sound, is a big part of that.

You mentioned Minaj. You have worked with her on your radio hit ‘Where Them Girls At’ as well as your recent track ‘Turn Me On,’ which garnered a lot of attention because Minaj sings on the majority of the track. Are you surprised how well she has come off on those dance pop songs given her rap background?

I’m not surprised at all. At the time I started to be interested in working with Nicki she was not that known [beyond us artists] in Europe and she was just starting in the U.S. But then I went on the Internet and I saw one of Nicki’s video and I was like, “Wow…” I usually never call artists because I would rather have them call me if they want to work with me. But I changed that for Nicki because I really wanted to work with her.

Glowing words, huh?

Well, Nicki is very well-rounded. But it was hard to get to her because I really didn’t know her. But then we recorded ‘Where Them Girls At’ and then it went so well that I decided to go another direction with her with ‘Turn Me On,’ which took her in a totally different direction. She has many different talents.

You started out your career as an underground house music DJ in France. But your sound has gone way beyond that in the last decade. Can you talk about some of your influences beyond American dance music?

I have been influenced by everything from really underground to electronic beats. But my sound has also been influenced by the bigness of the rock chord progressions.

So you are a rock head?

I love rock. What I’m trying to do is use the base of the hugeness of that sound into electronic music. Because when it comes to sound and energy, nothing can beat us. Nothing can beat dance music. I’m trying to incorporate the bigness of rock to give that stadium feeling and bring that soul element into electronic music as well with these incredible artists.

Those are pretty lofty goals aren’t they?

Well, I love bringing people together. I will always do that with my music.

Would you say that you are the most influential producer on the scene today?

That’s for others to say. But it’s great for people to look at you in that way. I am humbled.

Watch ‘David Guetta on Usher, Nicki Minaj’

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Guetta on Usher, Minaj

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