Joe Solo Hits it “Big” with Macy Gray and Stylus RMX

The unique talent and voice of Grammy-winner Macy Gray rises again on her new release “Big” – with a host of collaborators including Joe Solo, who co-wrote the song “I’m So Glad You’re Here.” The song is produced by the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.Am and also features superstar vocalist Fergie. Solo also had a hit song with “Sweet Baby” on Gray’s 2001 record “The Id” and both songs featured Stylus RMX in their creative groove.Solo has a long history with the singer, as he tells it, “I’ve been working with Macy Gray since 1985. We met at a late night diner. She was the cashier, and asked me if I was a musician –I had the 1985 rock guitarist hairdo and all – and she asked if I wanted to work on some music together. The very next day we got together and started writing! When I first heard her voice I was down for the long term. Then years later, in 2001 we co-wrote a hit with ‘Sweet Baby’.”

Macy Gray said, “I love him… I love Joe. We’ve worked together over the years, on some great songs, including ‘Sweet Baby’ and ‘Glad You’re Here.’ He’s a great writer and an even greater person.”

Collaborating with artists is one of Joe’s specialties, and he uses Stylus RMX as a key ingredient in composing. When asked about the process of writing songs with Macy Gray, Solo explained, “Macy and I sit down in a room with one guitar and we work on a song for three or four hours. For “I’m So Glad You’re Here” she had a melody in mind. I had her air-drum the beat so I can see what she’s hearing when she sings because she places her accents a certain way. Then I’d have her play air-guitar so I can learn the chord changes timing in her head, and I would experiment with various chord combinations.”

At that point Spectrasonics comes into play. “Then we look for loops that might work in Stylus RMX. I combine and layer loops to make my own groove, I fuse them together to get a nice rhythmic tapestry. I do master-quality demos, especially if it’s for a funky artist like Macy Gray. You can have big drums with a full layer, then you can break it down for the second verse. Once we get the whole percussion track set, then we lay down the acoustic guitar. After that the vocals and then I fill it in with what other elements I think it needs to frame the vocal. It’s all about the vocal.”

In creating songs he feels Stylus RMX becomes a guiding point for the whole song. “The interesting thing is that the feel of the song all starts with the Stylus RMX loop, it’s the feel and the infrastructure of the song; every element is born out of that. Even if in the final mix the loop is taken out. It’s a very valuable tool, even if an artist doesn’t want ‘loops’ in their project,” said Solo.