Peter Wade Keusch and Michelle Lynn Bell make up the production team/artist group called Lynn & Wade LLP. They have just written and produced five songs on Jennifer's new album.
How did you end up working with Jennifer?
Peter Wade: I started out as an engineer, and recorded all of her albums since "J.Lo," so over the years I've gotten to know her pretty well. Michelle and I were writing and producing songs together while I was working with Jennifer on "Como Ama Una Mujer." I played her some of our Lynn & Wade songs and she fell in love with our sound!
How many songs did you guys do together, besides the 5 that ended up on the album?
Michelle Bell: We actually recorded 10 songs with Jennifer over the past 2 years, and she chose the 5 from those.
PW: That's not counting the song we did for Lynda's [Lopez] birthday!
MB: Oh, yeah! And we did a little joke song called "Goody Bag" that Jennifer sang about an assistant who misplaced the goody bag she got at the Oscars. It was pretty silly!
PW: So I guess you could say 12, but it was really ten.
What was it like working with Jennifer? How was the atmosphere in the studio?
MB: She's really fun to be around and hard working. She knows what she wants, which makes things easy.
PW: Yeah, the atmosphere was laid back, and we always had time to relax and hang out. We would play new songs for her and she would show us stuff she was working on, like footage from "El Cantante," and her new clothing line, JustSweet.
What's her writing style like? Does she come in with a bunch of stuff already or a specific sound she wants, or does she try a million different things?
MB: Jennifer really connected to the songs Pete and I were writing for our own album, which led us to write some songs exclusively for her. We would go over to her house and write with her and Marc in the basement, talk about life, love, and what was going on in our heads, and a lot of those feelings and ideas informed the direction for the songs we wrote.
What's your favorite song on the album?
PW: My favorite is "Never Gonna Give Up." It was the first Lynn & Wade song she recorded, and I think it embodies her desire to innovate musically. I was kind of depressed when I made the track, and when I played it for Michelle she wrote the most amazing melody -- sad but uplifting, and the lyrics are incredible. It was a real moment.
MB: When Jennifer heard it, she nearly cried. She learned the song on the spot and sang her heart out.
PW: ... And I think you can hear that on the record... I wanted to produce it like "Elenore Rigby," just Jennifer and a string quartet. Julio Reyes, who I met at Jennifer's place, arranged the quartet. The mixture of organic strings and big RnB drums is a really modern way to use a classic sound. The song is particularly special because Michelle and I went down to Orlando to mix it with the legendary Engineer Bruce Swedien.
MB: He recorded "Thriller"! We hung out with him and his wife on their ranch and met their horse, Bucky, and their 50 cats. It was truly amazing. I wrote a poem about it.
PW: ...I also love the song "Frozen Moments" but you can only get that on iTunes!
What's one thing you got to experience by working with Jennifer that her fans would be surprised to know (remember we know most everything!)?
MB: She has a great sense of humor and is always ready to laugh. She's very down to earth. She and Marc also love Kentucky Fried Chicken and they eat chocolate cookies, which is really the forbidden fruit for the Hollywood lifestyle.
PW: Jennifer is also an amazing cook. She makes the best chicken with rice and beans, and she and Marc taught me all about sofrito.
Changing gears, you guys have your debut album, "The Mystery LLP," coming out soon. How long did you work on that?
PW: It's been in the works for a "minute."
MB: Yeah, if by a minute you mean, like, two years!
PW: We were constantly in the studio writing for Jennifer, so we had to create a new space to work on our own sound and songs for the album.
MB: We made a conscious decision to really dig in and figure out what we wanted to say. We were very set on making real songs, with real substance. It was very important to us that we do things our way.
PW: And evidently our way is slow and steady. We still have to pick the final sequence, mix the whole album and tweak a couple things, but it's coming. And it's definitely worth the wait.
What can fans of your music expect to hear?
PW: Our album, "The Mystery LLP" sounds new, intelligent, futuristic, organic and sexy cool, something for everyone. It's challenging but poppy, eclectic but cohesive -- we really wanted to offer something you can dig your teeth into and discover for yourself. It's very personal, but it's also pop music to dance and sing along with.
MB: It's really easy to get into. We have a song called, "Feelin' It Here" which is indirectly about our experience in the music business. That theme is interwoven with lyrics that could also be about a romantic relationship. The track actually travels with us into the future and the sounds modernize and change as it progresses. It's definitely my favorite song.
When will "The Mystery LLP" be in stores?
PW: We hope to have it out around Summer '08. You can stay up-to-date and hear some of the music back at the Lynn & Wade LLP MySpace page.
Thanks to Michelle & Peter!!
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