Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

My luxury life: super pop music producer RedOne tells us his favourite memories, dream ocean home and how his fashion style reflects his music

From crafting hits for Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga to Enrique Iglesisas, the Moroccan songwriter knows how to spread joy on the dance floor

Swedish Moroccan music producer Nadir Khayat, aka RedOne, wrote hits for the likes of pop-stars Lady Gaga and Enrique Iglesisas. Courtesy: Ibrahim Zoubir
Swedish Moroccan music producer Nadir Khayat, aka RedOne, wrote hits for the likes of pop-stars Lady Gaga and Enrique Iglesisas. Courtesy: Ibrahim Zoubir

If you are looking to create a chart-topping musical anthem then you call Nadir Khayat, aka RedOne. Over the last decade, the Swedish-Moroccan songwriter, who lives in Miami, has produced more than 30 hits for a range of top tier pop-stars. That list includes Lady Gaga’s career-defining tracks Poker Face, Just Dance and Bad Romance. He was also instrumental behind Enrique Iglesias's move from balladeer to dance floor king with the hits Like How It Feels and Dirty Dancer. RedOne recently also stepped out as a solo artist, with the successful single We Love Africa.

If you could wake up anywhere else in the world tomorrow, where would it be?

I would like to go back in time. But not to a particular period, but a moment. And that’s back to when I was a kid in our family home in Tetouan, Morocco, and dad would come to my room and wake me up to go school. My father passed away, so for me to experience that feeling of waking up and having a family breakfast, which my dad would make, would be amazing.

You're sitting down to the perfect dinner. What are you eating, where are you dining and who is with you?

I come from a family of nine and I am the youngest. So I grew up understanding that family is love. So a perfect dinner or location is anywhere I am with the family. I have a pretty big house in Tetouan, where we would occasionally gather and have an incredible meal. It is a love fest. We would have La Paella or couscous and many other things, of course.

If you were building your dream home, where would it be and what would it look like?

I think I am blessed to already have that dream home and that’s my place in Cabo Negro. I had it for nearly 5 years. It is on a hill overlooking the beach and you can also see Spain from there. My brother is an architect and he helped me do exactly what I wanted. It has a Moroccan hamam, a gym and three music studios - Daddy Yankee and Enrique Iglesias recorded there with me. But the real reason it is dream home is because when I was young I dreamt that I would win Grammys and take over the world and will have a big place where everyone can gather together. This summer, for example, I spent the three months there and my mum and all her sisters stayed with me.

Are you a collector? If so, what do you collect?

I am collector of football shirts. I have the shirts of many great players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Zinedine Zidane. I don’t view these shirts as an investment because there are so much more to them: they have emotions, victories and fights. These players are the gladiators of today and they do it with billions of people watching them around the world.

Are your fashion choices linked to the style of music you create?

One hundred per cent. I would describe my fashion style as casual chic. I like to wear jeans with a nice jacket as opposed to being suited up. My clothes do reflect whom I am as an artist, which comes out in my songs. And my songs try to makes you feel good, it is rather sporty but at the same time it has knowledge behind it and is tailored for people to love.

What was your first luxury purchase?

It was a Porsche Panamera Turbo about 11 years ago when I was founding big success with my work with Lady Gaga and others. I bought is as soon as it came out. What I remember about it is that in America, when you lease something, you need to have credit and you need time to build that. Now I didn’t have enough credit, so I just brought the car in cash. This was the first time I felt: ‘wow, I really bought something.’ I felt grateful. Alhamdulillah, I thanked God for blessing me with the talent and giving me the patience and hard work to make thing happen.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family and friends. Really, that’s it. I am not attached to material things. I love to enjoy them, but I lost so many of them over the years; I was even robbed big time. My wife buys me a lot of expensive watches, and I lost a lot of them in restaurants because I like to take them off while I am eating. Now, as you can see, I wear no watch.

As a producer, who are your biggest influences?

It would be the producers Quincy Jones, Bob Rock and Mutt Lange. With Quincy, it is because of his sheer musicality. I worked with him on a couple of occasions and this man is real professor. His knowledge, from the choice of sounds, instruments and songs, is just incredible. With Rock, he was a producer that understood how to make rock and roll sound accessible. He would take such a powerful band like Metallica and make them sound commercial without losing their soul. Which brings me to Mutt Lang; he also made so many powerful records. When I was researching him I would realise he would record every guitar string separately. He made everything sound perfect. He is an architect of sound.

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