Producer Jim Beanz is one of the hottest knob twiddlers around at the moment thanks to his work with Timbaland. As a protégé of Timbo he’s assisted on loads of massive tracks.
And recently he produced If We Ever Meet Again for his mate and vocalist Katy Perry. In fact Jim is such a music industry mover-and-shaker that he even persuaded Britney Spears to say a rude word on record.
We caught up with him when he was on our shores…
MTV:Hi Jim, What are you over in the UK for?
Since the success of 'If We Ever Meet Again'- which is Timbaland featuring Katy Perry- I came over to do some press and meet up with a few different artists that I have worked with in the past and plan on working more on in the future.
I have worked with Lemar and Craig David, I have also started working with Jesse Jay who is signed to Universal and I’ve also met up with Alicia Dixon’s people.
Could you see yourself signing any UK acts? Have you heard anyone you like?
Definitely, If I meet the right one. Someone who is different, special, new and can bring something fresh to the music industry.
Do you find a big difference between music in the UK and US at the moment?
Nowadays I think music is definitely taking one trend. That’s why a lot more UK acts are coming over to the US and doing well at the moment. A good example of this is how JLS are doing really well in the States at the moment.
How did you get started and what would you credit as your big break?
I got started years ago in a group called Tresane, we were signed to Jaz from Dru Hill. When the group broke up I moved to the writing and production side of things. I met Timbaland about seven years back and the first project we worked on together was the Nelly Furtado Loose album, and that was my big break.
You wrote a Euro-vision winning song- how did that come about and what makes a good Eurovision track?
I was in Miami working on the Pussy Cat Dolls and Chris Cornell, I had double sessions each day. I had already worked with the winner, who is a Russian artist named Dima Bilan in the past. He called my management and really wanted to get in the studio with me. He really wanted to compete in the contest.
I went into the studio and wrote the song in an hour, honestly! and did the music within that hour! The crazy part about it was, as far as writing the song, the only thing I kept thinking was every word in this song has to be something that someone from another language or country has to be able to understand. The first song that popped into my head was I Believe I Can Fly. I think in general songs that people gravitate towards are the ones that are easiest to remember. I think that is the reason why 'If We Ever Meet Again' did so well on the radio over here.
Explain how you got Britney to utter the phrase ‘it’s Britney bitch!’ and tell us What was she like to work with at that time?
She was amazing to work with, she is a very hard worker. Just as hard as she works on her dance steps she is the exact same in the booth. She was basically open to any and everything that I mentioned. The phrase came last minute right at the end of the session. We recorded that while she was pregnant with her second child. It was really difficult to try to make her sound really sexy an at the same time she was pregnant. We knew that as soon as she had the baby she was the one to be able to push that song. We needed that one catch phrase to really bring her back and put her stamp on the industry and that stamp was 'It's Britney Bitch'
Why has Timbaland let other producers make his Shock Value 2 tracks?
Timbaland doesn't let other people make the tracks. Timbaland oversees everything, he will start the tracks off and other producers will come in and add instruments here or there, just like any other producer. A lot of people think that Timbaland lets other people make the music but that is not true, Timbaland oversees everything he does.
Is Timbo a fan of European sounding dance music?
He’s a fan of anything that is music, he is a genius. He always thinks outside the box, he has a way of taking sounds and making them work together.
Am I right in thinking you’ve been working on the new Katy Perry album?
Since 'If We Ever Meet Again' we were supposed to work together but I haven’t had a chance to as of yet.
How can Katy follow up such massive tracks from her last album?
Can she follow up her success? Hell Yeah, Katy Perry is an amazing artist and writer. She is so edgy and is not afraid to push the envelope. Artists like that are the ones are the ones that never lose their steam.
Who else have you been in the studio with?
Lately, JoJo, Timbaland for the Rihanna sessions, a few sessions with Danja Handz.
How are the Rhianna sessions for the new album going?
They are going amazingly. Her new album is going to be crazy. It could be one of the best things I have ever worked on. I always try to out do myself every time, I never try to go backwards. I will say though the tracks I have worked on with Timbaland for Rhianna have been amazing, Timbaland has always been the one to re-invent himself and at the moment he is really on some fast-forward sh*t, he is really going to kill the game with the stuff he is working on now
Are you going to release solo material like Timbaland?
Only God knows what the future holds. Artist wise I never wanted to really be an artist, I do sing on a lot of things everything from Britney Spears songs to Nelly Furtado songs to Diddy material.
By Tom Thorogood