Oak Felder and his team, Trevor Brown and Ziare Koalo (The Orphanage) are the brilliant minds behind countless multiplatinum records. We had the pleasure of talking to them about one record in particular, “Sorry Not Sorry,” by Demi Lovato. And in our interview, Oak, Trevor, and Zaire shared their expertise and experiences from songwriting and music production.
One of the things the team emphasized most was the importance of collaboration in songwriting and producing music. “Something you can bring to collaboration is enough knowledge to know what you lack–so that you can identify other people’s strengths,” Oak says before he goes on to praise his producing partners. He emphasizes that each of them has their area of expertise, and when they work in harmony, the end result is incredible.
Another important element of collaboration is the relationship between the songwriters and the artist. “You really have to befriend these people,” Zaire says. “You can be off one day, but because you were cool, that person might come back just off the basis that you were a really cool person,” he continues. Oak expands on his thought by talking about the table they have in the upper floor of their building.
“The table is the heartbeat of the building,” Oak explains. It’s where the team congregates and “breaks bread” with the artists that come in to record. “There have been times when I’ve had an artist walk through the door, and it’s cool. Then we order food; we break, we go upstairs and talk for an hour. Then you walk downstairs, and the energy is totally different.” Trevor points out that they only had five hours with Demi when she came in, and they spend two of those hours talking and getting to know her. That’s how meaningful building relationships is for the songwriting process!
Check out our full Song Spotlight with Oak Felder and The Orphanage below for even more insight. Plus, find out why Demi didn’t like the song at first!
Get the sheet music for “Sorry Not Sorry” here.
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