Blake Slatkin’s Interview with Lizzo and More: Behind the Scenes

Behind the Boards is a series where some of the biggest producers in the industry dig into their favorite projects. Here, we sit down with Blake Slatkin to unpack his recent Grammy win with Lizzo, working with SZA, and more.

When talking to songwriter and producer Blake Slatkin, two things quickly become clear: He cares deeply about what he does and spends months of long nights in the studio; and he manages to maintain a sense of wonder and excitement about the music-making process, still having those “pinch me” moments when he collaborates with someone whose repertoire he admires.

Slatkin led the writing and production duties Lizzoof smash hit “About Damn Time,” later brought home to Grammy for Record of the Year with the superstar. It may come as a surprise to some that a song that has remained on repeat for most of the past year wasn’t always part of the vision for Lizzo’s second full-length studio album, special; In fact, Slatkin shared, it was the last track added to the album.

Below, the producer shares behind-the-scenes stories for “About Damn Time,” memories of working on the accompanying Grammy history-making track “Unholy,” reflections from working with SZA , and so on.

Lizzo — “About Damn Time”

I feel like I say this about every song I work on, but this is one of the craziest processes. I’ve been working with Lizzo for a while — I’m already her biggest fan — and we’ve got a lot of songs that we love. I got a call from the label saying we need one more song. I’m very proud of everything we’ve accomplished, and Lizzo believes we have it. We have a big push to get back into the studio one more time.

I’ve never worked with Ricky Reed before, who is incredible, and I’m his biggest fan. We went into the studio and were just jamming, and I didn’t think about it and hit some chords on the piano; I don’t even know how to play the piano. I don’t like to master every instrument because happy accidents happen that way.

I was confused and Ricky said, “That’s it!” I thought he was joking. 45 minutes later we have most of what you hear on the record. We FaceTimed Lizzo, who wasn’t going to the studio at first, and said, “If you make something like a hit, I’m going to the studio.” I watched him hear the bassline and it was over. He said, “I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

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