- Jack Antonoff produced and co-wrote Lana Del Rey’s album Norman F**king Rockwell!
- He’s also helped Lorde, Taylor Swift, and St. Vincent make great albums of their own.
- Antonoff is nominated for three Grammys—two alongside Lana, and one on his own.
Thinking about what’s going on behind the scenes isn’t always the first reaction when someone gets really into a new album. For example, when listening to Lana Del Rey’s amazing Norman F**king Rockwell! (up for two Grammys this year), you’re definitely hearing her voice, thinking about her lyrics, and most likely have an ideanof what she looks like. But when you see her surrounded at her Grammy seat you might not know who these people sitting around her are. Word to the wise: these are the people who helped Lana make that album that you can’t stop thinking about. In this case, that someone, sitting right next to her, is Jack Antonoff, and Ms. Del Rey is far from the first pop artist he’s helped make a great album.
Antonoff himself is nominated for three Grammys; two alongside Del Rey, for Norman F**cking Rockwell (Album of the Year and Song of the Year), and also the Producer of the Year honor, by himself. In addition to Lana, he also worked with Taylor Swift, Kevin Abstract (of Brockhampton), and his own group, Red Hearse this year.
Even prior to this year, Antonoff has become one of the most popular producers in the industry. He’s co-written and produced incredible albums for artists like Lorde (Melodrama), Taylor Swift (Lover), and St. Vincent (Masseduction), giving their music a distinct pop sound that makes songs feel fully fleshed out but with a quality that makes listeners almost always want to sing along.
At first, Del Rey was skeptical about working with Antonoff because of the reason we just outlined above: he had achieved so much success with other artists in a similar genre. “I wasn’t in the mood to write,” Del Rey said in an interview with Billboard. “[Antonoff] wanted me to meet him in some random diner, and I was like, ‘You already worked with everyone else; I don’t know where there’s room for me.’”
Eventually, though, he played her something different enough that she was able to move forward and make Norman F**cking Rockwell!, what she described as “10 minutes of weird, atmospheric riffs.”
Where some producers have a very specific sound—for example, the legendary Rick Rubin brings out the same harsh, rock sound with everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers to the Beastie Boys to Kanye West—Antonoff’s goal is to work with artists to create an album that represents the very best version of them.
In addition to his work as a producer, Antonoff has also spent time as a member in a number of different groups. He leads his own project, called Bleachers, and also has a side group called Red Hearse. From 2008-2015, he played guitar and a number of other instruments in the band fun., which had hits like “Some Nights” and “We Are Young.” When Antonoff was dating actress and writer Lena Dunham, he debuted a fun. song called “Sight of the Sun” during the credits of her HBO show, Girls.
Antonoff’s idiosyncrasies as a producer and songwriter have helped to make him one of the more interesting figures in the entire music industry, and he’s been a staple at the last few Grammy ceremonies. Del Rey’s thinking before working with him was a fair line of thinking: with so many great pop albums already in the can, how can there be anything left? But with each succeeding album he continues to prove that line of thinking wrong. This year, it was Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift, and one logical question remains: who could be next?