Christopher "Tricky" Stewart has been crafting hit singles for top-tier acts for more than a decade now. Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Mariah are just a few of the megastars who have the ace producer to thank for some of their biggest cuts. Tomorrow (March 2) Tricky makes a splash in the film world as Executive Song Producer on Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, the animated 3-D movie starring Taylor Swift and Zac Efron based on the classic green-themed children's story.
Complex got in touch with Tricky at his Los Angeles office to talk about the concept behind the soundtrack and why he picked artist/songwriter Ester Dean to record The Lorax’s lead single, “Let It Grow.” He also took time out to discuss how budding R&B star Frank Ocean’s debut album is coming along, and shared the stories behind some of his biggest records.
Written by Brad Wete (@bradwete)
On The Lorax Soundtrack:
I’m the Executive Song Producer of the movie. The actual scoring throughout the film is done by John Powell. Ester Dean’s a fantastic songwriter and a friend of mine. But at the same time, I knew that from a subject matter standpoint it would be something that she would want to be involved with. Because of the message in The Loraxand the type of person that Ester is, those are the type of things that really mean something to her. So I thought it was a good fit.
Ester’s song 'Let It Grow' is a light-hearted version of what the film is about. But at the same time there’s a seriousness to the message.
Ester’s song “Let It Grow” is a light-hearted version of what the film is about. But at the same time there’s a seriousness to the message of the record. We take all those things into consideration: getting that message out there of what is going on in the environment, and not only what’s going on in the environment, but what’s going on with us as people. And I think that she was able to lyrically nail that soft spot in people, to tug on their heart strings a little bit, to make people walk out and maybe think about doing something nice, or think about doing something different than what they do on a daily basis. Just to do something good for the environment and good for your fellow person.
On His New Label:
I’m heading up Redzone Records, my new record label through Epic at Sony. I’m the President at Sony now, at Epic. So that’s something that’s been newly added. But yeah Redzone is alive and kicking, and coming out with artists and records in 2013.
On Signing Frank Ocean:
Frank is on is my label through Universal. I’ve had my own label where I do all my records for Universal. I was just with him last night. It’s incredible. Watching Frank make his record is nothing short of amazing. I really believe that he’s a rare talent. I think he’s on his way to a very special place as an artist and I’m really happy for him.
Watching Frank make his record is nothing short of amazing. I really believe that he’s a rare talent. I think he’s on his way to a very special place as an artist
My job is to just make sure that he’s happy, to facilitate his creativity. My philosophy in signing artists is that I like to sign artists and be involved with artists that don’t need me. So that’s kind of by design in a sense. I like artists that when they need a hit, they can sit down and write one themselves and don’t have to look around the industry to find one. Frank has definitely written and produced his record and it’s pretty amazing. I think it will be one of the biggest albums to come out in a while, which is very, very special.
He’s working very hard to finish this album for his fans, so I’m sure it will be soon. It’s very highly anticipated in the U.S. and overseas, so he’s working hard to get it done. But he’s a perfectionist and he’s trying to get it right for his fans and for his supporters.
I’d like to let Frank unveil his surprise. I don’t want to put all these topics out of what he’s putting out creatively in print. I’d rather let him get a chance to roll it out and say it the way he wants it to be heard.