Michael Goldwasser, producer of Easy Star All-Stars best selling & critically acclaimed records with Dub Side of the Moon and Radiodread, has been working with Atlantic Records on a slew of Reggae remixes. What started with Jason Mraz’s “Have It All,” led to Janelle Monae’s “I Like That” and now a remix of Kelly Clarkson’s “Heat.”
Kelly Clarkson has been a household name since she rose to fame in 2002 from her TV performances on American Idol, winning the competition in the shows inaugural season. She has since won 3 Grammy’s, sold over 25 million albums and 45 million singles worldwide. Her latest album, Meaning of Life, dropped in 2017 and the label had an idea to give the current single “Heat,” a reggae make-over… Enter Michael Goldwasser.
“It’s really great that such a big and historic label like Atlantic is down for some classic roots reggae vibes,” Goldwasser tells The Pier. “The first thing that hit me when I heard the original song was that Kelly can sing, man!”
Goldwasser is no stranger to remixes with his reggae production tributes to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon which would later catch the attention of Radiohead and a tribute to OK Computer ensued with the release of Radiodread. The list continues with a reggae production of the Beatles with Lonely Hearts Dub Band in 2009 in addition to Thrillah, from Michael Jackson’s Thriller which dropped in 2012.
For Clarkson’s single, “Heat,” Goldwasser tells The Pier: “As with all of the Easy Star All-Stars tribute albums, I try to envision the original as if it was recorded in Jamaica in the late 70’s, early 80’s, with a room full of great musicians. So I knew right from the start that the first step would be to create a drum part that would really drive the song, and the obvious choice was to employ a steppers beat–four on the floor with the kick drum. I wanted a live feel but in the interest of time, I created the drum part by chopping up and editing together some live drums from the vaults instead of going into the studio with a drummer.”
Goldwasser would go on to create a slightly simplified chord progression, laying down piano, organ & rhythm guitar. He allowed the harmony to guide him in creating the bass part that resulted in slight changes as the song moves along, adding to the live sound feel he was aiming for with the track.
“I decided to double the live bass with a subby part played on a synth,” Goldwasser explains. “I had to learn all of the changes that I had improvised in order to double it properly. After that, I laid down a pick guitar part to complement the bass, then a few percussion parts and some sound effects from a synare. Finally, I wrote a horn arrangement, and I decided to feature the baritone sax and give the song a kind of 50’s r&b/rock’n’roll influence.”
The song was mixed with Scott Jacoby at Eusonia Studios in New York City, NY. Goldwasser went on to tell The Pier that he wanted to give the song an upful vibe, explaining that: “Kelly is singing about wanting more heat in her relationship so I wanted to keep it uptempo and hot. Pop-oriented but with a hot, booming bass.”
There’s no question Michael achieved that as it’s great to see more reggae influence and cross-over into the pop mainstream market. Goldwasser and Easy Star Records have been a growing bridge in that gap since they first released Dub Side of the Moon in 2002 and the influence from their records continue to find its way into the studios of major labels, leading to the latest remix we’re celebrating with Kelly Clarkson’s “Heat.”
Could this POSSIBLY lead to Michael G. producing an original song for Clarkson? “I would love that,” Goldwasser replied. “Her talent is undeniable and I get the feeling that she’s a really cool, down-to-earth person. So hopefully this remix will do well and one thing will lead to another.”
You can stream Michael Goldwasser’s Remix of Kelly Clarkson’s “Heat” on all streaming platforms by clicking HERE!
Listen: Jason Mraz – “Have It All”
Listen: Janell Monae – “I Like That”