Rick Nowels: working with Madonna was a career-changing experience for me
Dale Kawashima from Songwriter Universe conducted a long interview with songwriter and producer Rick Nowels about his career spanning three decades and the hits he created with an amazing variety of different artists.
Rick is best know to Madonna fans for his contribution to the Ray of Light album but due to the credits missing in Rebel Heart album booklet not as many know that he’s also one of the co-writers of Beautiful Scars together with Madonna, Dacoury Natche and Michael Tucker.
The Songwriter Universe chat focuses on Rick Nowels was it like working with Madonna on her 1998 album (and we wish this was a chance to know something more about when and how Beautiful Scars came to life, but this unfortunately didn’t happen).
I always wanted to work with Madonna. I loved her voice, her songwriting, and the great records she made with Pat Leonard, Stephen Bray and Nile Rodgers. In 1997 I was in New York for the Grammys. I was up for Album of the Year (as one of the producers) for Celine Dion’s Falling Into You. I was in Barney’s (store) getting a tie for the Grammys and I saw Madonna there. I introduced myself, and I told her that she didn’t get the credit she deserved as a songwriter. Which is true, but it’s also an awkward thing to tell a huge superstar! She was very cool and gracious. I ended up getting a meeting with her in L.A. a few weeks later.
We wrote nine songs together – three made the Ray of Light album: The Power of Goodbye, Little Star and To Have and Not To Hold. The Power of Goodbye was a number one song in U.K. and Europe. It was a career-changing experience for me. Before that I had always done my co-writing with friends. But working with Madonna… it was the first time I had ever written one-on-one with a great artist/writer. After that I changed gears a little, and now I mostly collaborate directly with artists.