Singled Out: JRandall's 'Oo La La' Featuring Akon (A Top Story)
I was told the week before by my manager, Adam Kluger, that Akon would be in town next week and there would be a possibility that we'd work together. He said to be on my toes because Kon works odd hours, so I sat by the phone at all times awaiting the call. When my phone rang on a Sunday afternoon around 4pm I was told to meet him at the Hit Factory down in Miami Beach and thought one thing...what would I wear? I remember putting on my gold sneakers for good luck, I mean who wouldn't take an artist serious with gold sneakers!
I arrived promptly at 8pm and walked right inside the studio where Akon was preoccupied in a session with Kelly Rowland. I was a little caught off guard, and felt slightly embarrassed for walking right in. I then sat in the lounge where two (what appeared to be) bodyguards watched "American Gangster" on the TV screen. Eric "E-Class" Prince the CEO of Poe Boy Music Group walked in and escorted me to studio A in the other room. He said Akon would be 30 minutes or so, and to warm my voice up because tonight was the most important session of my life...NO PRESSURE. I ran up and down the piano singing some arpeggio scales, and brainstormed a game plan for song ideas. I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't sure if we'd start from scratch or not.
One hour passed, then two and my anxiety for the night intensified. I started at 10 pm, wrote a hook and recorded it, I think it was called "Roll The Dice" very up-tempo "take a chance with me girl" type song. At 1:20 am Akon walked in the room with excitement and positive energy. He looks at E-Class and says, "I got the perfect record for this kid, if he doesn't like it I'll give it to Beiber." The version he played was not the final record you hear now, its tempo was slower and had a more laid back vibe. The demo is referenced by Akon, and sounds distinctly unique, as all of his records do. The obvious selling point was the post chorus preformed laid back and sweet "Oo La La We We"... I energetically asked, "Can I add harmonies?" He said, "Do you man, everyone has there sound make it you."
At 2am I recorded my version of the first verse very quickly and moved onto the hook which I recorded once and then scrapped after I felt my energy wasn't up to par. I attacked the hook the second go around at 2:30 am, more aggressive and staccato. I was in the zone and added some backgrounds that we just tucked in the back for ambience. I finished around 4 am, and E-Class swore up and down we had a hit. We played it about three times over and over again smiling like kids. I didn't get a CD to take home, so for the next two days I would explain to friends and family how I recorded a song with Akon. E-Class called me two days later to redo some vocals because I recorded so late he felt I could get them "more in the pocket" per say. This time listening to it I guess I listened more honestly. It felt a little slow and R & B for where I knew I was going as an artist. I asked E if I could take the vocals to my studio in Boca Raton, and work on it with Vinny "Batman" Venditto. Quick back story- I've grown up doing music with Vinny, and he produces a lot of my music still…We loosely refer to ourselves as Batman and Robin. I told Vinny we should flip it and make it an up-tempo dance record but still keep it mainstream. I remember we set the fluorescent lights in the studio to feel like a club. I relayed the first verse to compliment the character and energy of the new music, and we kept a previous sound from the old production so we wouldn't scare anyone away. The first version had the drums drop out like in Taio Cruz's "Dynamite"... it just felt right, but my manager and E-Class said the production wasn't big enough that it needed to be beefed up, but this was the right direction. We sat on it for a day because Vin explained that the beat is huge but needs a mix. I said to put the drums in the hook, and add a sound effect so it sounds like a new beat. Once we did that we knew we had it. I think the most exciting thing about this song is that I get to share it with someone I started this journey with, and of course that Akon is on it! Thank you Akon, you truly are the real deal.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and get the free download link - right here!