Paul Blair is one of the key producers and songwriters behind the smash soundtrack to A Star Is Born. He previously collaborated with Lady Gaga on her Born This Way and Artpop albums and has toured with her, too.
But before all that, he was also DJ White Shadow, a “hip-hop and techno kid from Detroit” who transcends genres behind the decks. Now he’s focused on being a DJ again, working on his debut full-length album, playing his second gig at On the Record at Park MGM this weekend and talking about all this musical stuff with us.
What do you think of On the Record? It’s dope. It reminds me of some of my favorite clubs when I first started DJing, when clubs were a lot different, or like going to a house party and there’s all kinds of sh*t going on. There’s all the little sneaky doors with cool stuff going on to keep your mind going. And people were actually dancing.
Did you see Gaga’s Vegas show? I’m gonna go this time. I haven’t had a chance yet. I was DJing in Cabo over New Year’s Eve.
You’ve said it was challenging to write songs for her character in A Star Is Born because you can’t get feedback from a fictional character. The cool thing about it is every artist is a character. It was a challenge like, I want to run a marathon so I’m going to wake up every day and train. Overall it was really gratifying, and I learned a lot. It would have been really hard for someone who had never done anything with Gaga to walk in and write for someone else she’s playing. There were a lot of genius people working on this, and I’m not talking about me. Everybody I saw was operating on such a level of care and concern and awesomeness, so it’s really cool to see that hard work paying off for everyone now.
What is your album going to sound like? I never intended to go out and start writing pop music, but I think it’s cool how that worked, and [this album] is a piece of that puzzle that’s been missing. For the last five years I’ve really struggled with identifying myself as an artist. I know who I am as a person, but I’m a very strange dude when it comes to music. At this point, it’s the sum of all parts, so I want to be able to represent that and be able to explore. And I have older stuff, I have collaborations with people who are current and past pop stars and upcoming rap stars and veterans in hip-hop. It’s all over the board.
DJ WHITE SHADOW February 1, 10 p.m., $30-$40. On the Record, 702-730-6773.