One of Dev Hynes’ early demos for Sky Ferreira’s “Everything Is Embarrassing” leaked earlier today, along with two rejected Britney Spears demos. It’s always interesting to see how pop songs transform from demo to final product: here, some of the lyrics are different and Hynes works his way around the beat different from Ferreira does, but it seems to have arrived in the studio pretty fully formed. Hynes never had outright beef with Ferreira over song ownership like he did with Solange, but they did exchange a back-and-forth in their respective FADER profiles from last year.
When talking about the relationship between singer and producer, Ferreira said that it “mystifies and frustrates” her that the current perception places the majority of the credit for the execution of the song onto the producer. She went on to say that it “bothered” her that Hynes sings “Everything Is Embarrassing” live and introduces it as a song he wrote for her. “My music is precious to me even though I don’t completely do it myself,” she told the magazine, who described her role as co-writer as such: “Ferreira often rewrites lyrics to suit her and otherwise shapes the song so that it becomes her own; she’s an interpreter of the emotional undercurrent of words and sounds initially scripted by someone else.”
In his profile later that year, Hynes addressed those comments and says that he was “annoyed.” The piece goes on: “Hynes says that Sky made some structural changes in the vocals that made the song even better, but he’s proud of the core he wrote and loves to perform it.”
Based on the leaked demo, it seems like what they said happened is exactly what happened: it’s not dramatically different, but it’s different enough that you can see where Sky put her own spin on it, which seems ideal for a producer/singer relationship. The issue of producer input came up again recently with the Robin Thicke and Pharrell vs. Marvin Gaye estate scandal when Thicke admitted he had pretty much nothing to do with the song and even Pharrell acted dodgy and refused to read music during his deposition for the trial. Obviously, Thicke and Ferreira don’t come from the same pop sphere, but being able to hear the demo is a revealing look into what happens behind closed doors in the studio.
Listen to the demo here and compare it to the final version:
How do things even leak?? Oh well! Enjoy
— Devonté Hynes (@devhynes) September 22, 2014
[Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty.]