Oak Felder — the man behind hits ranging from The Chainsmokers, Miguel, Kelly Clarkson, Snakehips, Jeremih, Tori Kelly, Mo, Ella Henderson, Rachel Platten, Aloe Blacc, Andy Grammer, Jordan Fisher, Khalid, Grace, Haley Kyioko, ZZ Ward, Bea Miller, Alex Aiono, Betty Who, Skip Marley and Alessia Cara — welcomed On Air With Ryan Seacrest inside his Los Angeles studio and opened up to Tanya Rad about working with Demi Lovato and more.
The two-time Grammy-winning writer/producer has worked with Lovato on a bevy of hits, including “Sorry Not Sorry,” and shared that their creative process stems from a close-knit relationship.
“With Demi, yes, we’ve had conversations about a lot of private things that have happened in her life and said 'Let’s figure out how to convert this and put this into music,'” he shared of the songstress, who is currently seeking treatment in rehab after suffering a relapse and overdose this past July. “That’s why I love ‘Only Forever’ so much — because it is like ‘This is what’s happening in my life, how do I convey this without actually giving the details?’ We do that a lot. I do that a lot with Demi which I’m very fortunate to have that relationship with her because she’s an amazing person.”
In fact, Lovato’s “Only Forever” off 2017 album Tell Me You Love Me is one of Oak’s favorite memories. Oak recalled to Tanya that they wrote the song just the two of them in a room after an emotional conversation.
“She tells me about this specific situation she was really dealing with and it was just me and her in a room with my piano and it was an honest conversation in song form and I felt like the energy really transferred itself into the record,” he shared. “Music is a way for me to transfer emotions.”
Oak added that although they can tell if a record is going to be a hit or not, they sometimes don’t get the green light for awhile. For example, he shared, they surprisingly didn’t hear back on hit track “Sorry Not Sorry” for a while.
"That song, [‘Sorry Not Sorry’], to me, is the reason why — this is going to sound weird — but that song is the reason why you don’t get your hopes up,” he explained to Tanya. “We did the record and you sort of know … ‘Holy crap this is gonna be huge’ … and then you finish the song … and you send it to the label … and I didn’t hear anything from them for like a month … and it crushed me because I just knew … and then we didn’t hear anything … and I happened to be working with Demi here and she tells me ‘I played the record for Jay-Z last night and he thinks this is a smash and should be my next record,’” he continued. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah! Hell yeah! You didn’t need to ask Jay-Z that, I could have told you that.”
Watch back the videos above to catch the full interview and to find out more, including which artist Oak has to sometimes reel in!