The appearance of a D’Angelo track on the game surely surprised fans but it turns out that the Black Messiah artist is a big fan of the series, which is what led to him ultimately popping up on the game’s soundtrack.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, Ivan Pavlovich, Director of Music and Audio at Rockstar Games, detailed how D’Angelo testing the game out before its release turned into him contributing a song to it.
“D’Angelo’s actually a massive, massive, massive fan of the game — more than I ever knew,” Pavlovich said. “He would come in here [Rockstar’s New York city office] and just play the game. We weren’t even talking about doing music.”
“When D’Angelo comes through, he shows up at midnight, and he’s playing the game until four in the morning. Each time he was just like, ‘it’s incredible.’ It just blows his mind,” he added. “He’s such a fan. I have never seen someone that excited.”
Seeing how enthusiastic D’Angelo was about the game, Pavlovich decided to ask him if he wanted to contribute music to it, which the R&B singer agreed to. From there, Pavlovich recruited Daniel Lanois, a veteran artist, writer and producer who has worked with U2 and Bob Dylan.
“The invitation was, ‘would I write songs?'” Lanois said. “And then they said, ‘we might be able to hook you up with D’Angelo.’ That’s all it took. I love D’Angelo, and always appreciated those great R&B records he made.”
Lanois then reveals that “May I? Stand Unshaken” was the combination of two different songs.
“We had another song in mind, kind of a 6/8 rock track that D’Angelo loved,” Lanois said. “We went after that initially, and it didn’t pan out.”
So instead, Lanois worked with a “New Orleans groove” he had and incorporated the chorus from the original song D’Angelo and him were working on. The recording process only took a week and a half.
“I fished that out, tied the ‘Unshaken’ chorus on top of it, and then D’Angelo loved what he heard. He’s a great Fender Rhodes [electric piano] player. He played that, I did the guitar, we sang the chorus together as we played the instruments over that rhythm track.”
Earlier this year came news that the Brown Sugar singer was recording new music.
Source: Rolling Stone