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The Inside Story of How “Rain On Me” United Pop Powerhouses Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande

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2021 Billboard Music Awards: By the Numbers

Leave it to Lady Gaga to turn hard times into hardware. 

Nominated for Top Dance/Electronic Song at the May 23 Billboard Music Awards, “Rain On Me,” her Grammy-winning Chromatica collaboration with Ariana Grande, was born from the type of tough stretch that would topple lesser people. “One time I felt like I was crying so much it would never stop,” the pop phenom tweeted ahead of the single’s May 2020 release. “Instead of fighting it, I thought bring it on, I can do hard things.”

So she turned her pain into the world’s pleasure. With Chromatica, her sixth disc and sixth No. 1, “she was hoping to make a record that spread positivity and love,” BURNS, a co-producer on eight of the tracks, told E! News. “Something that would make people feel good, but she was at the same time trying to work through a lot of things that she’d written down, that she wanted to get out. It was like a release for her.” 

Among the most cleansing singles was “Rain On Me.” An analogy for the tears she was struggling to stop, she explained to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, it was also a metaphor for “the amount of drinking that I was doing to numb myself. I’d rather be dry. I’d rather not be drinking, but I haven’t died yet. I’m still alive. Rain on me. Okay, I’m going to keep on drinking. This song has many layers.”

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Hence its ability to connect, said BURNS. “It’s just super personal,” he shared, “but also can be a universal message. I think that’s why the record is so important. You know, people can apply that lyric to their own lives.” 

Throw in a synth-disco beat, a dash of funk guitars and you’ve got the oh-my-god-can’t-wait-’til-we-can-all-dance-together-to-this vibe that turned the track into last summer’s most globally streamed song by a female artist. 

By the time BURNS was pulled onto the team in early 2018 by producer BloodPop, “I think they had kinda gotten to the point in the writing process for what was going to be Chromatica where they’d collected a bunch of songs, but weren’t sure yet on the sonic landscape for the whole album,” he explained.

Their assortment of tracks included “a version of ‘Rain On Me’ that they were kind of living with for a while,” he said. “We all knew it was a really special song. Like we could all tell that it was going to be one of the sort of stand out records on the album.”

The only issue he shared, “in my personal opinion, it didn’t fit as much with everything else.” To the Scottish producer, songwriter and DJ it felt “maybe a little too clean, more on the EDM kind of side of things.” 

So he did a pass at it, he said, “falling on this bassline that became the core of the record. And then the whole thing kind of flipped around and turned into what it is now.”

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The final touch proved to be a killer collab. 

Swedish producer and songwriter Rami Yacoub had been brought in to provide an “outside opinion” in the finessing stage, Yacoub shared with E! News. “I’m really good at fixing songs, if that makes sense.” With “an ear for arranging” and an appreciation for each song “as a useful piece of art,” he explained, “I just kind of give my view of what we could do.”

By the time he joined the song’s team, “it was already in a pretty much amazing state,” he said. There was just one thing that could make it better. “It was Blood’s idea that we should do a feature on it,” he recalled. “I thought it was a great idea.” 

And having worked with Grande before, “I knew she loved Gaga,” he continued of the newlywed. “So I was like, maybe you might invite her out, make this song beautiful together.”

Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV

Which they did, naturally.

Recording with Gaga is already quite the treat (“A lot of time we’d go to the studio and not do music. Sometimes we would just all chat and talk about life and stuff,” revealed BURNS). But throwing the “7 Rings” chanteuse into the mix “was a match in heaven,” said Yacoub. “All of a sudden it clicked right away. It was fun to see them.” 

With Grande eager to do “an uplifting dance record again,” said BURNS, she happily came out to the studio “and I think she was just blown away. She was such a fan of the record from hearing it for the first time that she just instantly wanted to be a part of it.” 

Hundreds of millions of fans and 11 No. 1 albums between them, both Gaga and Grande belong in the pop superstar category. But it’s their differences that make the single, said BURNS. “If they were more of a similar sounding artist, it wouldn’t have worked as well,” he noted. “But the fact that they both contrast each other so well, they’ve got different styles of singing and vocal textures, it really elevates the song.” 

And though the germ of the idea came from Gaga’s own experiences, “I also think that Ari kind of related to the song as well,” he reasoned. “It was almost like it became both of their song, you know? They both were expressing their own feelings through the lyrics at the same time….They’ve both been through some stuff over the last years.” 

Now that we’ve all been through some stuff over the last 12 months, the track hits on a different level, BURNS noted. “I’ve been thinking of this song. It’s like, God, I’ve survived the last year. You know, at least I’m alive.” 

Though the writing process began well before the pandemic, “It was perfect timing,” he continued. “People need that. That’s why that’s what dance music really is. To me, it’s something that people need because it’s something that can uplift you.”

Which is why Yacoub predicts the Grammy winner will be blaring when bars open up across America. “I don’t go to clubs anymore,” he said. “I’m a father, I’m 46, I’ve done my share of clubs.” And yet now, he continued, “since I can’t do anything, I just want to get a table and go, man.” 

Sing it with us now, “At least I’m aliiiiiiive! Rain on me, rain, rain. Rain on me, rain, rain.” 

(This story was originally published on Sunday, Mar. 13, 2021 at 5 p.m. PT.)

Watch E!’s red carpet coverage of the 2021 Billboard Music Awards this Sunday, May 23 starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT followed by the BBMA show at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC.

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Kevin Hart Reveals How His Teenage Daughter Reacted to His Cheating Scandal

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Kevin Hart Admits to Telling Kids About His Cheating Scandal

Kevin Hart is getting honest about the tough conversations he’s had with his teenage daughter following his cheating scandal. 

The 41-year-old Fatherhood star visited Red Table Talk to speak with guest host Will Smith in a Father’s Day edition of the podcast that posted on Sunday, June 20. The project is typically hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

During the sit-down, Kevin opened up about dealing with his 2017 cheating controversy and how he explained the situation to daughter Heaven, who is now 16. The father of four, who married Eniko Parrish in August 2016, shares Heaven and 13-year-old son Hendrix with ex-wife Torrei Hart.

“You know, when me and my wife [Eniko] went through what we went through and the whole cheating display, my talk with Heaven—goddamn,” Kevin said. “That was one like no other.” 

He continued, “Getting my daughter back, getting my daughter to understand that I was sorry, that I made a mistake—that was real. To understand, like, I’m still Dad. You’re reading stuff. This is a child, right? Every child has the Internet. There’s nothing that you’re gonna come across that you’re gonna read that isn’t gonna have an impression. A child? Everything has a meaning.”

The comedian added, “My daughter was tough on me! Until this day, my daughter is tough on me. My daughter don’t play no games with her father, man.” 

In September 2017, Kevin posted a public apology on Instagram to then-pregnant wife Eniko for his “bad error in judgment” and added, “Sending so many apologies to my wife & kids. I gotta do better and I will.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

For her part, the 36-year-old model, who shares 3-year-old son Kenzo and 8-month-old daughter Kaori with the star, revealed last year during the documentary series Kevin Hart: Don’t F–k This Up that she still gets “sensitive every time I talk about” the cheating scandal.

On Red Table Talk, Kevin also recalled the discussion he had with Heaven about the situation surrounding his resurfaced homophobic tweets, which led to him stepping down as host of the 2019 Oscars ceremony.  

“When the whole thing started to happen with the LGBTQ+ community and the misconception of me, and what I was, and what I am, and what I feel, my daughter was so upset because she couldn’t process how people could think this about her father,” the Ride Along performer explained. “And it was so tough because this is when I started to realize how my fame has an impact on my household, right? There’s a certain level of obliviousness.” 

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.

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Kylie Jenner & Khloe Kardashian Reveal Where They Stand With Jordyn Woods Today

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Kardashians Reunion Recap Pt. 2: “KUWTK” Katch-Up (S20, EP14)

Jordyn Woods was once Kylie Jenner‘s closest confidant, but after a cheating scandal involving Khloe Kardashian‘s beau Tristan Thompson, the model found herself on the outs with the Kardashian-Jenners. So, where does she stand with the famous family today?

Thankfully, this question was answered during part two of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians reunion, which aired tonight, June 20 on E!. As Khloe shared with reunion host Andy Cohen, she doesn’t currently speak to the 23-year-old influencer.

However, the Good American mogul made it clear that she doesn’t wish Jordyn any ill will. In fact, Khloe confirmed that she’s forgiven Jordyn. “I think that’s a huge misconception,” she shared. “That’s also the thing where some narratives aren’t as fun to pass around and spread like wildfire. I’ve actually tweeted, I’ve actually done Insta-stories, I don’t have any grudge against Jordyn. I think people make mistakes. People live and they learn. And I forgive both parties.”

According to Khloe, she couldn’t have forgiven Tristan without forgiving Jordyn too. As E! News readers well know, in February 2019, Khloe and Tristan, who share daughter True Thompson, split after reports claimed that the NBA player had gotten a little too close with Kylie’s BFF.

Jordyn later confirmed the indiscretion on Red Table Talk, where she admitted to sharing a kiss with Tristan. She denied ever sleeping with the professional athlete.

In the years following the drama, Khloe and Tristan have rebuilt their relationship, which includes co-parenting 3-year-old True. And it seems that the Revenge Body host has moved on with her life.

“I forgive Jordyn, or else I would be a prisoner in my life,” she said at the reunion. “I have to forgive these people for me. And it’s up to them to forgive themselves and to be accountable and learn.”

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Yet, despite Jordyn’s previous claim that she’s apologized to Khloe, the KUWTK star maintained she never received a personal apology. Apparently, she never received the promised letter either.

Of course, this drama didn’t just affect Khloe as Jordyn was once Kylie’s closest friend. On the aftermath of it all, Kylie noted, “Jordyn and I did have a talk after that. When we were friends, we never thought that we wouldn’t be friends. It was kind of an overnight thing, and, you know, when she did something to my family, it felt like she did something to me.”

Kylie Jenner Says Jordyn Woods Scandal Needed to Happen

As to whether Jordyn will ever be welcomed back into the fold, Khloe said that’s a decision for Kylie to make. “I have told Kylie intimately that I would genuinely not care whatsoever if Kylie wants to be her friend again,” she concluded. “My sisters matter way more to me than any grudge or issue that I would have with another individual. And if I can allow Tristan back into my life, I need to allow the same forgiveness and acceptance of other people.”

Catch the family’s best KUWTK episodes on Peacock.

(E! and Peacock are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)

Peacock is live now! Check out NBCU’s new streaming service here.

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Why John Cena’s F9 Casting Was Unlike Any Other Audition Process

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John Cena Recalls Vin Diesel Meetup That Led to “F9” Role

John Cena tells E! News’ Daily Pop why his journey to play the brother of Vin Diesel‘s character in F9 was a unique experience for him. 

The 44-year-old WWE star explains he was initially told that Vin, who portrays Dominic Toretto in the popular Fast & Furious franchise, wanted to speak with him. But John had no idea he was being considered to play Dom’s long-lost brother, Jacob Toretto. 

“I wasn’t just offered the role,” John shares in an exclusive clip from the interview. “It was actually, ‘Hey, Vin Diesel would like to talk to you,’ and I had no idea what it was about. And I met Vin at his training center, which was staggering to say the least, and we just spoke. We spoke as two humans for a little under two hours. And then at the end, he took a small social media video.”

John explains that, rather than Vin telling him what he would need to know before joining such a massive franchise, Vin was assessing his passion for what the projects represent. 

“He was sizing up my character and interviewing the individual as to like, ‘Hey, does he even like this stuff? Would he even be interested in something like this—like, genuinely interested?'” the Bumblebee star continues. “And then thereafter, I was offered a part, and I didn’t know what I was doing, and then when I read the script, I was like, ‘I’m Jacob Toretto? Wow.'”

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For his part, Vin tells Daily Pop that he immediately picked up on John’s “earnest eagerness” to join the franchise. Additionally, Vin explains that when he shared the footage to social media of himself spending time with John, he chose a caption that referenced his late co-star and dear friend, Paul Walker

“I didn’t give it much thought because if you go back to that day—and it’s all on Instagram—you’ll see what I captioned, which was, ‘Thank you, Pablo,'” the Bloodshot performer continued, using his affectionate name for the actor who played Brian O’Conner. “Because I felt like, like always, Pablo came through and helped me with the casting of Jacob, and he became Jacob.”

F9 hits theaters on Friday, June 25, and more coverage of the film will be featured on Daily Pop leading up to the release. 

(E! and Universal Pictures are both part of the NBCUniversal family.) 

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.

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