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Paul McCartney is revealing what it was really like working with Kanye West.
The Beatles legend, who has collaborated with the “Follow God” artist on several occasions over the years, is recalling one particular meeting that took place in a cottage at the Beverly Hills Hotel. In his cover story for Billboard‘s 125th Anniversary Issue, released Thursday, McCartney shares the story behind his 2014 song with West, called “Only One.”
“I had no idea what was going to happen,” McCartney tells the outlet. “I didn’t want it to be at his house or my house, because it could be awkward if one of us wanted to leave. So we met on neutral ground — a cottage at the Beverly Hills Hotel — and I showed up with a guitar and my roadie, and we had a keyboard and a bass.”
“I was sitting around, strumming the guitar — that’s normally how I start a song — and Kanye was looking at his iPad, basically scrolling through images of Kim [Kardashian],” the 77-year-old singer recalls. “So we were telling stories, and at one point I told him how ‘Let It Be’ came from a dream about my mother, who had died years before, where she said, ‘Don’t worry, just let it be.'”
“He said, ‘I’m going to write a song about my mother,’ so I sat down at this little Wurlitzer keyboard and started playing some chords, and he started singing. I thought, ‘Oh, are we going to finish this?’ but that was that,” McCartney continues. “And it became ‘Only One.'”
Shortly after the release of “Only One,” McCartney and West collaborated once again, this time on “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna.
Over the years, the song creation process has changed, but McCartney says that he’s happily adjusted with the times.
“It’s this modern process that I was happy to open myself up to — you’ve got loads of stuff, and the skill is to distill it,” he tells Billboard. “I was sitting around, just strumming a little groove (Strums his guitar.) and nobody said, ‘Let’s make a song of that.’ But months later I got a song with Rihanna on it and I said, “Where am I?” I didn’t recognize it because they changed the key [on the guitar riff]. I thought that record was great.”
McCartney also reveals in the interview that “every time we go to a club,” his wife Nancy Shevell “requests” the song.
To read more from McCartney’s cover story interview, head on over to Billboard.
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