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Gwen Stefani: ‘Not a lot of people are making albums these days’

Written by on 16/03/2021

Gwen Stefani joined Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 to discuss her new single “Slow Clap”.

She tells Zane about the song’s origins, working with songwriters Ross Golan and Luke Nikolai, the status of her forthcoming album and what she has learned from Jimmy Iovine. She also reflects on the forthcoming 30th anniversary of No Doubt.

Gwen Stefani Tells Apple Music About How “Slow Clap” Came To Be and Working With Songwriter Ross Golan…
It’s kind of this place of, you always go through different phases in your life where you question yourself and you question like, “What am I supposed to be doing? Who am I? Do I mean anything? Why am I?” You know what I mean? I’m in the super in-between place again. I don’t know how you are, but I feel super in this in-between place, like where am I supposed to be right now?

Gwen Stefani Tells Apple Music About How “Slow Clap” Came From A Feeling of Being an ‘Underdog’ and Working With Songwriter Ross Golan…
So the story of the song is so crazy, because I had just had a meeting with Interscope, which when you go and you kind of have this hustle meeting with your label, you kind of feel like this underdog and you’re kind of coming in and going like, “Oh, they have to deal with me, and what are they going to think of the songs?” They were so loving and so kind to me in the meeting, where I felt really good and I literally left that meeting, and I was in Oklahoma at the ranch, and walked into a little cabin that we live in there and opened my computer to Ross and Luke and I wanted to write this sad love song. And he was like, “No, you don’t need to go back and talk about that anymore. Nobody wants to hear about that anymore.”

So he was like, “I woke up at 5:44 AM and I had this crazy weird idea, and I sang it into my phone and went back asleep, and it was this idea of the title, ‘Slow Clap.'” And I was like, “You’re the weirdest guy ever.” And he was like, “It’s kind of like all those movies from the eighties where you get clapped back to life. Like yes, you’re not the underdog. You’re an awesome person.” And I feel like it’s that thing that happens to us through our life. It starts in high school where you feel like you don’t fit in, and then sometimes your weirdness actually is what makes you so special, and so the song is kind of about that. And it’s also about wanting to just, even though I know I’ve had my 15 minutes of my time wanting to kind of double dip and just get a little bit more, why not? If they’re going to let me, I’m going to take it.

Gwen Stefani Tells Apple Music About The Status of Her Forthcoming Album and What She Learned From Jimmy Iovine…
It’s weird because I was really aiming, I thought I was done. And then as I started listening through, I was like, “You know what?” Jimmy always taught me, it’s not done til you’re done, til it comes out. Just keep, Jimmy Iovine was the guy that did all my music with me. And so I kind of was like, “What am I chasing? If I get to put singles out, why am I rushing to be done?” And I’m just going to keep going in and see who will work with me more. Because every time I go in, it’s like I get to see somebody else that’s so talented, like a Ryan Tedder, just last week I worked with some incredible guys and it’s just so fun. So I do have an idea what the title is and I did actually shoot the artwork for it, and so I guess I can’t change it now, but I don’t know. I’m not really going to really reveal it, but it’s basically off of a song that I had already written that for me was the one peaking moment of like, “Okay, this is what defines this phase of my life. What I’m trying to do.” Another song that I actually wrote with Ross and Luke. So we had this thing where it was like we were in a band together where we wrote nine songs in a row.

Gwen Stefani Tells Apple Music About The 30th Anniversary of No Doubt…
It is a really big deal. And I do, I’m reflecting so much on all the music. When you’re writing new music, reflect on everything that you’ve done. For sure, surreal to think that that happened so long ago. I have no idea what the future holds with that. You know what I mean? It’s impossible.

Gwen Stefani Tells Apple Music About Writing on Zoom and Working with Ryan Tedder…
All of a sudden, I didn’t know you could write a song on Zoom, you know what I mean? And that was what kind of made it all happen. But lately, I’ve been taking more in sessions. I was in with Ryan Tedder the other day, and I mean, just every single person that I… I mean this guy, he’s so talented and so smart, and it’s rare that you meet someone that’s actually talented and creative, but also super smart with the world, you know what I mean? So I could talk to him all day long.

You know what’s so crazy is that, so the way that we write together, and this is the first time we’ve ever written together. But normally I would write it down or put it on my computer, the lyrics or whatever. He’ll sing each line that we get into the song. So it’s like he’s making the demo as we go, and then I’ll drive home with his voice. And even when he pitches it down to make it sound weird or whatever, I’m like, I get so addicted to his demo voice that I’m like, “How am I ever going to top this when I sing it?”

Gwen Stefani on Writing An Album Rather Than Singles…
It’s interesting because every song that you write, it affects the whole overall album. And not a lot of people are making albums these days, because people are just putting songs out, I think this is going to be, it’s fun to get to this place where you’re like, you have all these songs and now you’re just trying to beat them, maybe? Or finish them off, the emotional part of it, like what’s missing emotionally?

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