Max Martin Collaborator Ali Payami Shares Stories of Writing Hits With Katy Perry & the Weeknd
publish date: 2017-03-24
On a quest for her next hit, Katy Perry knew she was in the right hands. By her side on one particular day in the studio was fellow pop star/songwriter Sia and Max Martin, one of the most successful people in music history. Also in the room? Ali Payami.
“I don’t know if I accidentally played a riff or if it were on purpose,” Payami recalls of this specific session. “But they liked it and we started writing on that. We spent a long time on the melody and lyrics and when that was done, we spent an even longer time on the production.” The fruits of their labor wound up being Perry’s latest smash “Chained to the Rhythm,” which broke the one-day streaming Spotify record for a female artist and wound up being her first Hot 100 top 10 single since 2013’s “Dark Horse.” For Payami, the success of “Rhythm” is just the latest coup for the Iran-born, Swedish producer who is enjoying a charmed career as Martin’s right-hand man with a litany of seismic hits under his belt.
It’s an ironic career for Payami, considering he enjoys keeping a low profile and shies away from the press. “It’s great, I love it,” he tells in a rare interview, referring to the fact many of his songs, from Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder” to The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” have gone on to become monster hits. “But when a song is released, I kind of release it also. I don’t follow up with these songs once I’m done with them. For me, when a song is out you can't really do anything about it having do well or not. You do your best and move on.”