Timbaland on Madonna
Timbaland, the genre-crushing producer revolutionized pop and hip-hop in the aughts by teaming up with some of the genre’s biggest icons and who is now a mentor and executive producer on Lifetime’s talent competition show The Pop Game, spilled his secrets of minting musical gold with Missy Elliott, Nelly Furtado, the Duran Duran, Madonna, and more.
Here is what he had to say about working with the Queen of Pop in a story that originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly’s Untold Stories issue, available to buy right here.
Madonna, “4 Minutes”
The Queen of Pop brought the heat when she teamed up with Timbaland and co-producer Pharrell Williams for her Hard Candy LP — and not just metaphorically. Madonna has been known to turn down the air-conditioning at concerts and during recording sessions over concerns that colder, drier air could affect her voice. “The studio was hot,” Timbaland remembers. But apart from her high-temp preferences, there was no diva behavior in the booth. “She was down-to-earth Madonna,” he says. “She’s just brutally honest about a lot of stuff: ‘I’m doing this, I’m not going to sing that.’ She’s very matter-of-fact but still very fun and loving and into her craft.”