Songwriter Justin Tranter on Working with Britney Spears: She Is an 'Amazing, Complex Woman'
In a new Beats 1 interview on Apple Music with Zane Lowe, the hitmaker, 38, dished on his time in the studio with the pop icon, 36.
“The first time we worked with her she was just cutting a song — and just hearing her vocal tone in real life, it’s so … that magical sound just comes out of her face, like, that’s what happens,” Tranter told Lowe. “And then she giggles and tells a joke on the mic, and then your whole body gets chills, and I literally fell to the ground. There’s something about her that’s not of this world.”
Tranter and his songwriting “wife,” “Issues” singer Julia Michaels,” met Spears during her Piece of Me residency in Las Vegas and worked on her 2016 album Glory, cowriting five songs: “Invitation,” “Do You Wanna Come Over?,” “Slumber Party,” “Just Like Me” and bonus track “Better.”
During their sessions, Tranter said, Spears proved she can “write her ass off.”
“All of a sudden she suggests this concept we have a song called ‘Just Like Me’ on Glory, which is about her walking in on someone cheating on her with someone who looks just like her,” Tranter recalled. “And she didn’t go into whether it was a true story or not, but that was just the idea that she brought to us. Wow! We were like, ‘Oh my God, Britney Spears is coming in here swinging for the rafters!'”
Tranter went on to explain why he believes Spears is such an enduring staple in mainstream music.
“Britney is a three-dimensional, amazing, complex woman,” Tranter said. “As a writer, she blew our minds.”
Tranter added: “People can have one hit on accident; you can’t have this whole insane career [by] accident. … When you witness the talent face-to-face, it’s so beautiful and humbling and shocking.”
Tranter would know. The lyricist — who previously fronted the glam-rock band Semiprecious Weapons — has cowritten his fair share of smash hits, from “Sorry” (Justin Bieber) and “Centuries” (Fall Out Boy) to “Hands to Myself” (Selena Gomez).
Listen to Zane Lowe’s full interview with Justin Tranter Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on Beats 1.