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‘Uptown Funk’ Producer Jeff Bhasker Traces the Hit’s Long Road to the Grammy Awards

Just when we thought “Uptown Funk” had retired to the suburbs, Bruno
Mars stormed the Super Bowl with a floating cloud of backup singers (and
low-key support from Mark Ronson) to remind us why the tune became the
soundtrack to 2015 and a leading contender for Record of the Year at
Monday’s Grammy Awards.

Producer Jeff Bhasker wasn’t shimmying or singing on stage during halftime,
but he shares sweat equity (and windfall songwriting royalties) with
the stars of the hit single. It took nearly a year and about 100
different versions before “Uptown Funk” reached its full potential in
the studio
, says Bhasker, who produced the song with Ronson, Mars and
the singer’s longtime songwriting partner Philip Lawrence.

“If you work a lot, and generate a lot of material, you’re going to
find a home for it,” Bhasker says with some understatement.
His three Grammy wins span tracks by fun. (“We are Young”), Kanye West
(“All of the Lights”), and Jay Z and Rihanna (“Run This Town”).

“Uptown Funk” didn’t transpire so swiftly. “It took five minutes to
come up with the first 16 or 24 bars, then 9 months to get the rest of
the song
,” Bhasker says. “The biggest problem was that the [intro] was
so great. How do you deliver a song that keeps getting better one or two
minutes in or at the chorus?

He compared the trial-and-error process to solving a Rubik’s Cube.
After trying many musical combinations (and occasionally walking away
from the track to get a fresh perspective) the songwriters went back to
basics.

I think it was Bruno who suggested we just get on the instruments
and play the song as if we were a band, and that way we’d really see
what the essential parts were
,” says Bhasker, noting that he was on
keyboard and “yelling a lot.”

It was another group effort for the producers and musicians who had
also created Mars’s hit album “Unorthodox Jukebox.” Bhasker says, “We
got the camaraderie and team spirit without the inevitability of hating
each and breaking up, which bands tend to do. As a producer, you don’t
always get to have that feeling of being in a band.”

Source: WSJ

Source: Bruno News

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‘Uptown Funk’ Producer Jeff Bhasker Traces the Hit’s Long Road to the Grammy Awards

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