"Boyfriend" is the lead single off Justin Bieber's chart-topping sophomore album Believe. The song debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It's hard to get a major single out these days if it's "different" – especially in the world of teen pop. There's the rare chart breakout like Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know," but the majority of contemporary radio sounds pretty similar at any given time. "Boyfriend" was a risk at a crucial point in Justin Bieber's career, but the team and I were confident that this song would surprise listeners in a good way.
A few months before the album released, I spent a couple days with Justin in Hollywood. He was interested in hip-hop and wanted to bring that sound to his new record. We even made a few beats together on my laptop. So I worked to direct and refine the sonics of his music, keeping in mind that this was to be new and surprising but not alienating. The other Believe song I produced, "Fall," was more reminiscent of classic acoustic-driven Bieber. But a project called Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" could have fared much differently if the production didn't make people take it seriously. It had to appeal to the drum-minded hip-hop listener and the young pop fan who just wanted to sing along. It's a relatively simple track, but one that was catching and different from everything else on the charts.
Pop star magic is rarely a one man job and we had a great group in the studio. Mike Posner was key in developing the songwriting with Justin, Mat Musto brought his rock sensibilities, and Kuk Harrell and Josh Gudwin helped capture the best possible vocal performance. When we finished a few days later, everyone knew this was bound to be the single. I don't even think the label expected that direction initially, but we did it and it worked.
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