Paula Abdul Recalls How 'Straight Up' Began in a Shower: 'It Changed My Life'

"I was obsessed with the song. Obsessed," Paula Abdul says on this week's episode of the PEOPLE in the '90s podcast of her breakout single "Straight Up" which she first recorded in a shower

Paula Abdul was one of the biggest names in the pop music scene of the '90s, but the musician came from humble beginnings.

The two-time Grammy Award winner, 58, appears on this week's episode of the PEOPLE in the '90s podcast, where she recounts how her hit 1988 single "Straight Up" was the song that "changed my life," after she first recorded it in a shower.

She recalls to PEOPLE in the '90s hosts Jason Sheeler and Andrea Lavinthal how her A&R rep Gemma Corfield first introduced her to songwriter Elliot Wolff. "And when I heard 'Straight Up,' I immediately... I was obsessed with the song. Obsessed," Abdul says. "And I couldn't wait to meet this guy."

Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul in 1990. Ron Galella/Getty

"So I go to this apartment building and I meet Elliot Wolff, and I expected this R&B dude. His sounds were so incredibly R&B and funky and different," she explains. "He opens the door and I see this slight framed guy with red frizzy hair, Coke bottle glasses and he's walking in socks around his apartment. And he's kind of quiet. And I go, 'Where are we going to be recording?' He said, 'In my shower here.'"

Paula Abdul attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean "Diddy" Combs at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 25, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.
Paula Abdul in 2020. Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

"I recorded 'Straight Up' in his little shower, and in the early masters that were released, you could actually hear someone banging from the next apartment, going, 'Shut up!'" Abdul says of the song that appeared on her debut studio album Forever Your Girl and earned her her first Grammy nomination.

Listen to the full episode below or click here. Paula talks about "Straight Up" at the 10:25 mark.

In this week's podcast, Abdul flips through the pages of PEOPLE's March 12, 1990 issue, which featured her as "Most Wanted Woman" on the cover. She also chats about Milli Vanilli, her relationships with Arsenio Hall and John Stamos, and the plane crash that sidelined her for seven years (the one people still don't believe happened).

Check out more from Abdul's interview on PEOPLE in the '90s, with new episodes dropping Thursday mornings on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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