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A STAR WAS BORN, BUT SO WERE THE SONGS

Interscope’s A Star Is Born soundtrack, which debuted on top of last week’s HITS Top 50 Chart with 220k+, holds at #1 on the iTunes chart nearly two weeks after its release. Lead single “Shallow” also remains #1 on the songs side. The film, meanwhile, is approaching $100m at the domestic box office as it continues to garner rave reviews and Best Picture buzz. And it’s the dynamic music, driven by top-notch songwriting, that’s elevating this thing from a movie to a moment.

“Shallow” was produced by Lady Gaga and Benjamin Rice, whose time with Gaga stems back to 2013 album ARTPOP. More recently, Rice was brought in as a Vocal Producer for Selena Gomez’s “Wolves” and “Back to You”—now Top 5 at Pop radio. As for the Star soundtrack, his handiwork can be found on a total of four tracks. “Shallow” was written by Gaga, renowned hitmaker Mark Ronson, rocker and previous Ronson collaborator Anthony Rossomando (Dirty Pretty Things, The Libertines, Klaxons) and Miike Snow vocalist Andrew Wyatt—another known Ronson collaborator, whose also credited on Bruno Mars’ “Grenade,” as well as songs for Lorde, Dua Lipa, Liam Gallagher, et al.

Well-liked country musician Lukas Nelson—son of Willie—lent his talents to eight tracks, co-penning “Look What I Found” and producing “Diggin’ My Grave” while doing double-duty on “Black Eyes,” “Out of Time,” “Alibi,” “Music to My Eyes,” “I Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “Too Far Gone.” Nelson's band, Promise of the Real, also performs as Bradley Cooper character Jackson Maine's band in the movie.

The soundtrack features Nashville writers Natalie Hemby (Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic”) and Hillary Lindsey (Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”), who both collaborated on two Ally (aka Gaga) songs: “Always Remember Us This Way” and heartbreaking closer “I’ll Never Love Again.” Lori McKenna’s help was also enlisted for the Dave Cobb-produced “Always.” McKenna is a writer on the aforementioned LBT hit, “Girl Crush,” which won the 2016 Grammy for Country Song—and was nominated in the all-genre Song of the Year category. McKenna went on to win Best Country Song for a second year in a row with Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” in 2017. Cobb, on the other hand, has produced all of Chris Stapleton’s albums so far, including the career-launching Traveller.

Jason Isbell, who won Best Americana Album at the 2018 Grammys, is the sole writer behind Maine’s “Maybe It’s Time”—a pivotal song fans may recognize from the film’s trailer.

Paul Blair, also known in a professional capacity as DJ White Shadow or DJWS, was a driving force behind many of the cuts that represent the character Ally’s pop career. Blair first came aboard the Gaga train in 2011, co-writing and/or producing eight of Born This Way’s 14 tracks.

The redoubtable Diane Warren, whose songwriting treasure trove includes "If I Could Turn Back Time," "Unbreak My Heart" and "How Do I Live," was the brain behind Ally song "Why Did You Do That?," which the character performs on a fictitious episode of SNL.

And there’s Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter—the modern pop hitmakers who’ve worked extensively with the likes of Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber and Hailee Steinfeld. The pair contributed to Ally’s “Heal Me.”

The Star Is Born story is of course about one new artist’s journey into the stratosphere, but as is evidenced by the names above, it takes a village.

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