New Blair Waldorf -- uh, Leighton Meester -- Single is By Miami-Based Producer/Songwriter Rico Love
The Miami-based, 26-year-old Rico Love is quietly becoming one of the industry's most sought-after R&B and pop arrangers and songwriters. Starting out in his early 20s as a rapper in Atlanta, he got his real boost when, as a performer, Usher signed him to his J Records imprint. And while working on his debut album, Rico penned a little tune for his mentor as an experiment. That song was Usher's "Throwback," one of the standout tunes on the singer's 2004 album Confessions .
After some time in Atlanta and L.A., Rico Love moved to Miami about a year and a half ago to work with locally born and bred hit-maker Jim Jonsin. And so I met him last night, at the studio he shares with Jonsin, to discuss the various projects he's got in the works. Rico Love is about to blow up -- last night he was awaiting the arrival of Kelly Rowland, so they could work on a number of vocals for her next solo album. Next week he'll be working on Nelly's comeback, he wrote about half of the next Usher album, and to name a random track, you can currently hear him on Fat Joe's "Aloha," which also features Pleasure P.
Check back on Crossfade over the next couple of weeks for a better introduction to Rico Love. But, OMG, what I want to talk about right now is that he's also responsible for the latest Leighton Meester single, "Somebody to Love," which features Robin Thicke, above. It's a sleazy-sexy, Madonna-style electro dance number.
"I was working with Mike Caren in L.A. We were just doing songs, listening to beats and writing lyrics. He actually had the concept; he said, 'Yo, I want to write a song called "Somebody to Love."' So I wrote the song, and two weeks later I got a call from my manager saying Leighton Meester wanted the song," Rico recalls. "But I was like, 'I don't know who that is, but let's do it!' Then I told my little sister, and she went nuts! So then I realized, apparently, this chick is big."
Sadly, though, there are no anecdotes about meeting with The Headbanded One -- the song was sent off and Meester recorded her vocals elsewhere.
Still, it's been a major career boost for Rico. "I thought the biggest thing I had done so far was [writing songs for Beyonce], but now the phone's been ringing off the hook," he says.
So, more on him later. As an extra, here's Fat Joe's "Aloha," featuring Rico Love and Pleasure P.
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