This week, The Source Magazine sat down with producer Benny Blanco where he told us the story behind Rihanna’s latest smash ‘Diamonds.’
Benny has production credits on “Work Hard, Play Hard” by Wiz Khalifa, “Heart Attack” by Trey Songz, “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa, “Stereo Hearts,” and “Ass Back Home” by Gym Class Heroes, “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, “Eenie Meenie” for Sean Kingston, “Masquerade” for Nicki Minaj, “She Doesn’t Mind” for Sean Paul and many more hits. He also also worked with PitBull, Flo Rida and Lil Mama.
Q: How did you come to produce Diamonds for Rihanna?
Benny Blanco: Me and Stargate – Stargate brought me in – and we’ve been making tracks for a little bit, you know we did ‘Work Hard’ together, the Wiz Khalifa record, we were just making a bunch of different records and we’ve been making stuff for Rihanna and then it was dope and then one day we went in and we were like, “Oh, let’s make something like, as if Kanye can rap on it.” We weren’t thinking of Rihanna at all and then it’s the one that we weren’t thinking Rihanna, is the one that turned into the Rihanna record…But that’s how it always happens like with me, when I’m really thinking, “Yo, you got to make this hit right now, we got to make the first single right now.” It never works that way…You know…music’s not a pressure-based thing…It just kind of happens, so whenever I’m…just not thinking about it, just freeing my mind, just trying to make music that I want to hear…those are the ones that usually go somewhere.
So we made the record first and then made the beat. And the beat was just chilling for a little while. We didn’t really think of it and then, Stargate was in with Sia and she wrote a song to it and then…they were like, “We got this dope song.” I went in, I heard it and then they were like, “We want to play it to Rihanna.” And I was like, “Okay.” And I was like, “Really, this song?” Cause it was…a slower record…you know we have a bunch of up-tempo records and they were like, “Yeah, man. She really wants it.”
So then they went in, they played it for her. They called me from London, they were like, you know, “She’s flippin’ out. She played it like seven times in a row. It’s her favorite song.” And I was like, “Wow, okay.” So then they were like, “She’s recording it.” And I was like, “Okay.” You know, ’cause…usually I record my own stuff. But…she’s on the road, we’re in New York. She recorded it…and I’m like, “Wow, she’s really recording this record! This is crazy.”
I still don’t even believe it, yet. And then they’re like, “Yo, it’s going to be the first single.” And then I’m like, “Okay.” And then just like, more and more things started happening they were like, “Yo, we got to get it finished, they’re releasing it tomorrow.” We had one day to finish it. We didn’t even have her vocals, yet. We had to finish all the music around it without even having her vocals and I was like, “There’s no way this is happening. Then we get the song the next day we had to mix this song the same day and master it and then it was out a few days later. It was crazy and I can’t believe how well it’s doing. It’s amazing.
Q: Have you spoken with Rihanna about how well the song is doing?
Benny Blanco: I have never even met her! It’s so weird how music works right now…I don’t even know if we’ve ever been in the same room as each other. So, Hi Rihanna!