Meet the Men Behind "Leggo" Songwriters Chris "CJ" Jackson and Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:25:04
B. Smyth Videos
B. Smyth's "Leggo" featuring 2 Chainz is one of the hottest R&B tracks out there right now. Let us introduce you to the two men who added a whole lot of that heat—songwriters Chris "CJ" Jackson and Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini. Both of them have their own inimitable styles. At the same time, they both possess that knack for penning a bona fide hit. They immerse themselves in the process and come out on the other side with pure gold. The two of them have very bright futures ahead, and we can't wait to hear more of their work.
ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino spoke to Chris "CJ" Jackson and Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini about "Leggo" and so much more in this exclusive interview.
What's the story behind "Leggo"? How did the song come together?
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: Chris and I were in Los Angeles writing with the producer Harmony. We wanted to write something simple people could identify with immediately taking terms like "Leggo". It's a popular phrase in rap music, but it hadn't been used in R&B. Turning it into an R&B record had been an idea we tossed around for a minute. It just happened to come together that day. Chris and I wrote the pre-chorus, hook, and post-hook.
Chris "CJ" Jackson: Harmony began to play a couple tracks in the studio session and all of them were incredible. When he played the particular track for "Leggo", myself and Joe both jumped and said "That's the one". Each track I hear tells a different story. As crazy as it sounds, when I hear a track, I'll not only hear melodies, but the music will speak to me and tell me, "This is the direction we need to go". That particular track just screamed, "This is a party. Everyone needs to feel good on this song no matter what is on it". The music is very urgent. "Leggo" (shortened for "let's go") is a term used when people are ready and amped, and also can be used as a challenge of some sorts. So we decided to take that and write a song around it about a dude who sees a girl that he likes and is telling her "Hey, I like what i see, and from the looks of it, you do too, what are we going do about this? Leggo!" After our session, changes were made to the record as far as adding new verses to it by Eric Bellinger and J-Doe, two amazing writers as well. Those verses added an amazing energy to the record! That's how this particular song came together.
What do you feel like B. Smyth and 2 Chainz brought to the song?
Chris "CJ" Jackson: B. Smyth is an incredible vocalist! Not only that, but from the videos I've seen of his, he's an incredible dancer and artist as well! All of these attributes add to his star power and definitely makes him one of the new artists to watch for 2013 and beyond. With that being said, his approach and delivery on the record were perfect in my opinion. One of the things that many writers and record execs face is when they may receive a stellar demo and the artist doesn't necessarily match the energy of the reference. In this case, however, upon first listen, B. Smyth delivered! And 2 Chainz is one of the hottest rappers out right now. I'm definitely a fan of his. Having him on the record was kind of a no-brainer as far as features go man. I'm glad they chose to go with him!
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: They killed it! B. Smyth did a great job singing the record and making it his own, and 2 Chainz took it over the top.
How do you approach a songwriting session?
Chris "CJ" Jackson: Well, I'm a little weird [Laughs]. I'm very quiet on the outside, but on the inside, there's a party going on. I'm going to react to a track when I first heart it and express how dope it is, or if I'm not necessarily feeling anything at that moment to the track, I'll move on to the next. The wheels are definitely turning in my head upon first listen of a track. Instantly, melodies pop up in my head. Then, that's when i get real quiet and start writing. As I said earlier, the track will speak to me and tell me what should be on there. Music is all about feelings man, and I want to make sure that the proper feelings are being conveyed on each song, no matter what it is. That's another thing, I also like to write from a lot of personal experiences, or maybe "create" a few of my own that i may not have experienced, yet.
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: I just try my best to write the best song I can and be as creative as possible with the constraints of what the label, artist, or producer is looking for specifically.
Is it a balancing act between infusing your own style and preserving the respective artist's style?
Chris "CJ" Jackson: Definitely, some artists may not want to break out of their comfort zones, and some do. You've got to kind of remember, some artists may not want to talk about certain things, or some may not sing like you do, so you have to keep in mind who they are and what they can and can't/won't do. Also you've got to remind yourself that the beauty of artistry is the creative freedom that you can possess which allows you to break out of your comfort zone, and many artists want just that—a way out of their comfort zone.
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: It's not too much of a balancing act, but you definitely want to make a song that embodies what you feel the artist is, or where the artist is going in theit career. The good thing about superstars like B. Smyth is they can take any song and make it seem like it was written just for them!
What's your favorite part of the writing and producing process?
Chris "CJ" Jackson: I have two actually. The first one is the recording process-playing with the melodies while recording especially. What may have been in my head doesn't necessarily come out on record, because i may play around with the melody while recording and do something that may come out as a "mistake" and then a light bulb goes off and you're like, "We're going to keep that." Also, creating the backgrounds on the fly is a very fun process for me. The Second favorite part of the process is listening back to the finished product and seeing the genuine reaction to the record from others especially when they are going crazy about it. That's when the weight gets lifted off.
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: My favorite part is when we're done writing and you know you've done something special, and everyone is in the room having a concert! That's the best feeling!
What's next for you?
Chris "CJ" Jackson: Next for me? More writing! More Singing! Every day that i wake up is a new story that's to be lived, and to be told. I don't like to put it out there as far as what's "coming out" and then it may not happen, but I will say that you will definitely see my name in a lot more credits this year, as well as my own music coming out which I'm extremely excited about! It's been a long time coming for both, and I'm excited for what the future holds!
Joe "Joe Boom" Pellegrini: I'm just continuing to work hard and have fun. I look forward to seeing how some of the other records I have come out do.
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