The Writer Behind Justin Bieber And Usher’s Biggest Hits Contemplates ‘Forever’ In A Red Bull Documentary

Hip-Hop Editor
05.10.17

When I asked the platinum-hit songwriter Poo Bear (Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber, “Where Are Ü Now,” 112, “Peaches And Cream”) to tell me something the average person wouldn’t know about songwriting, he told told me something that felt (at least to me) like it would be pretty common knowledge: “Just because we see an artist singing all these songs doesn’t mean that the song necessarily came from that artist. Most of the time there’s a great team of people behind the artist that are working really hard, and lot of people wouldn’t know that. They just automatically assume that those words and melodies are coming from the artist. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they don’t.”

It stuck with me for the next couple of days; having spent so much time around the music business, I realized I had a perspective a lot of people don’t. Of course something that seems like common sense to me would be mind-blowing to someone who sings along to “P.Y.D.” by Justin Bieber at the top of their lungs.

Poo Bear, born Jason Boyd, recently became the subject of Red Bull TV’s documentary, Afraid Of Forever, a film that seeks to shed light on the glamorous, yet seemingly underexposed world of professional songwriting through the eyes of one of the most accomplished hit-writers in the entertainment industry. It follows the tribulations of Poo as he seeks that ever elusive “placement” on a popular artist’s album after an extended period of time away from the top radio charts, coinciding with his impending marriage to longtime sweetheart, Ashley Joi.

The music business is a competitive game; too much time between hits could mean fewer placements for Poo, which means fewer checks at exactly the worst time for him. Despite having written huge smashes for everyone from Usher and 112, to Pink and Justin Bieber, in the industry, you’re only as good as your last hot single. The behind-the-scenes film will be compelling for music lovers seeking to understand the business more thoroughly, and it won’t take too long to teach you the ins-and-outs, either. Afraid Of Forever clocks in just under 60 minutes, covering topics as wide ranging as Poo’s writing process, his difficult upbringing, how publishing works, and Poo Bear’s apprehension over his upcoming nuptials. I sat down with him to talk about how the film came about, how he came up with some of his biggest hits, and how he feels about being a married man.

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