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Highlights from “Hollywood at Home” featuring Grammy Award-winner and legendary music producer Damon Elliott –
On working with superstars like Beyonce: I just show up and just literally, be me. I mean, you know, I know these girls very well. So it’s not like, you know– to the world, it’s like, ‘Ooh, that’s Beyonce.’ To me, it’s like, ‘That’s little sis. That’s B.’ I mean, when we were working on “Austin Powers,” you know, I’ll never forget, one day we just decided we wanted to go. I was gonna go show her Carney’s. The little train on Sunset. And this is when she’s at, like, the height of her career. She had a big billboard. And we wanted to go see the billboard, they just put it up. It was right there at Sunset and like, La Cienega, you know, premiere spot for a billboard. And so we’re walking, and she jumps on my back and I’m giving her a piggyback ride and she got her hood on, you know, the little hoodie on and, and people of course, were recognizing her and they’re honking. And it’s funny because she’s looking at her billboard and I’ll never forget it. She had that, like– again, this is at the point where she’s still at the height of her career. Like, millions and millions of records. So, Destiny’s Child number one, everybody knew who she was. She’s working on this huge movie, “Austin Powers.” As he goes, she, like, kind of in my ear goes, ‘Wow, that’s me.’ And I went ‘Yeah!. And then the billboard down the street and the one on the next block and the next– they’re all you!’ And then the bus driving by with her on it. ‘That’s you too!’ You know, and she’s very, very– you know, I love that she never lost her little innocence.
On having a crush on Olivia Newton John and working with her in person: I had the biggest crush on Olivia Newton John. I was a wreck. When my mom said, ‘She’s going to sing “Wishing and Hoping,” and I said ‘What?’ And then Olivia called me. And I’m looking at the phone and she’s like, with her sweet little Australian accent. You know? ‘I’m gonna come over!’ I said, ‘You coming to my place?’ because I had the studio at that time at the beach, at a beach house. So, oh my God. I remember I cleaned up everything and I probably, like, bought some candles or something… And so I had it all set up because I just knew that I was gonna romance Olivia Newton John and at least she’s gonna know that I had the biggest crush on her. And she walked in and of course, I froze. I didn’t say much.
On encouraging Mike Tyson to rap: “Mike Tyson? I turned him into a rapper. That’s what I did. You know, Mike’s one of my best friends. We’ve been best friends since I was 14 years old. And, and Mike– I said, Mike, I said, ‘Mike?’ ‘Yeah, what do you wanna do?’ I said, ‘I wanna make you a wapper.’ He goes ‘I’m not a wapper!’ I said ‘You are a wapper!’ And so what happened was, Mike calls me one day and he’s like, ‘I’m training Chris Brown.’ I said ‘What the hell you training Chris Brown for? He’s not a fighter. What are you talking about?’ ‘A celebrity boxing match. He’s gonna fight this guy.’ And I said, ‘Oh, my God, Soulja Boy. So he’s gonna kill Soulja Boy.’ And so Mike started training Chris Brown and Floyd Mayweather started training Soulja Boy, and then it became this thing. So I said, ‘Well, why don’t we do a song? You know, and I’ll write it for you real quick, I’ll fly up to Vegas.’ I flew up to Vegas, I wrote the song, “If You Show Up,” demoed it for Mike and he went in and did his parts. And it was so much fun watching him. And he goes, ‘I am a rapper!’ That day I created a beast. That night, like, ‘I’m a rapper!’ I said ‘Oh, God.’”
On growing up in a musical family: “I knew from day one that this was exactly what I wanted to do from a very young age. I grew up in a very musical family. My mom is Dionne Warwick, and she’s the best. And my late cousin is Whitney Houston. So my family, my grandmother, my aunt, sister, everybody sings. And so I grew up knowing that in some form or fashion, I’d be doing music.”
On having Quincy Jones as his mentor: “I was mentored by Quincy Jones, grew up in the studio with Burt Bacharach. Just being around him and some of the most amazing memories I have just being a kid, just around greatness. When I say mentored, I mean kind of more like in a way that it was not like, on purpose. It was just being around the situation, you know what I mean? Being around my mom, I’ve been able to be around some of the greatest musicians, songwriters, composers, engineers, producers.”
On being a producer on ‘Lady Marmalade’ and being on set: “Oh, my God, you took the words out of my mouth – magical is a great way to describe it. I mean, imagine being on set with, let’s see, five of the well, four, right? Pink, Christina, Maya, Kim, four of the hottest artists at the time. Yeah, and I’m like, I’m the producer. I’m sitting there on set walking around, and these girls are first of all, they’re dressed like the sexiest lingerie. And I’m just like, oh, my God, I’m standing next to Christina and she’s like, half naked. This is cool. It’s funny because I became really close with all of them and I got put in the Big Brother zone real fast by choice as well, because I wasn’t trying to cross any boundaries.”
On meeting with Pink on ‘Lady Marmalade’ and working with her: “I was on set, and me and Pink, after working with her on vocals and stuff, we kind of fell in love as a producer and artist relationship and spent every breathing moment together. And we created that album ‘Misunderstood’ because she was working with Linda Perry at the time.”
More about “Hollywood at Home”
Hosted by The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, “Hollywood at Home” brings listeners intimate portraits, key moments of discovery, and “art and soul” conversations with iconic entertainment industry personalities from the big screen to the boardroom, from L.A. to D.C. Listen now at http://thecreativecoalition.org/podcast.
Previous guests include Jason Alexander (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Shiri Appleby (“UnREAL”), Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon”), Justin Bartha (“The Hangover,” “National Treasure”), David Alan Basche (“The Exes”), Asante Blackk (“This Is Us”), Carly Chaikin (“Mr. Robot”), Aaron Cooley (“The First Lady”), Wilson Cruz (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Alan Cumming (“Schmigadoon!, “The Good Wife”), Ethan Cutkosky (“Shameless”), The Creative Coalition President and actor Tim Daly (“Madam Secretary”), Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”), Colman Domingo (“Euphoria”), Griffin Dunne (“This Is Us”), Kerry Ehrin (“The Morning Show”), Wayne Federman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Frances Fisher (“Titanic,” “Unforgiven”), Michael Fishman (“Roseanne,” “The Conners”), Jim Gaffigan (“The Jim Gaffigan Show”), LaMonica Garrett (“1883,” “Sons of Anarchy”) Willie Garson (“And Just Like That…”), Judy Gold (“The Other F Word”), Nicholas Gonzalez (“The Good Doctor”), Clark Gregg (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”), Evan Handler (“And Just Like That…,” “Californication”), Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “The Middle”), Jon Huertas (“This Is Us”), Jason Isaacs (“Star Trek: Discovery,” “Harry Potter”), Susan Isaacs (“Compromising Positions”), Richard Kind (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Nathan Kress (“iCarly”), Jaren Lewison (“Never Have I Ever”), Chad Lowe (“Supergirl”), Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Rachel Mason (“Circus of Books”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), AnnaLynne McCord (“Let’s Get Physical”), Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Katherine McNamara (“Shadowhunters”), Melissa Manchester (“Don’t Cry Out Loud”), Molly Smith Metzler (“Maid,” “Shameless”), Marta Milans (“Shazam!”), Rob Morrow (“Billions”), Kathy Najimy (“Younger”), Ken Olin (“This is Us,” “Thirtysomething”), Haley Joel Osment (“Future Man,” “Entourage”), Joey and Daniella Pantoliano (“The Matrix,” “Memento”), Ross Patterson (“Range 15”), Bill Prady (“The Big Bang Theory”), Kyla Pratt (“The Proud Family”), Jessica Queller (“Supergirl”), Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”), Anthony Rapp (“Star Trek: Discovery”), Yolonda Ross (“The Chi”), Reid Scott (“Veep”), Paul Scheer (“The League,” “Veep”), Mona Scott-Young (“Love & Hip Hop”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), Julie Taymor (“The Lion King”), Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”), Tramell Tillman (“Severance”), Krista Vernoff (“Grey’s Anatomy”), KT Tunstall (“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” “Suddenly I See”), Matt Walsh (“Veep”), Alfre Woodard (“Clemency,” “Luke Cage”), Constance Zimmer (“Good Trouble”), and David Zucker (“Airplane!,” “Scary Movie”).
More about The Creative Coalition
The Creative Coalition is the premier nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) social and public advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment community. Founded in 1989 by prominent members of the creative community, The Creative Coalition is dedicated to educating its members on issues of public importance. The Creative Coalition also creates award-winning public service campaigns including #RightToBearArts to promote the efficacy of the arts. Actor Tim Daly serves as the organization’s President. For more information, visit https://thecreativecoalition.org.