Poo Bear Talks ‘Bearthday Music,’ Timeless Tunes & Future Trends: Interview

Anitta & Poo Bear's 'Will I See You' Video
Anitta teams up with super-producer Poo Bear for sizzling bop ‘Will I See You.’

Poo Bear’s impact on pop culture is undeniable. Having crafted hits for artists as diverse as Sam Smith, DJ Khaled, Chris Brown and J Balvin (not to mention songwriting and production credits on the bulk of Justin Bieber’s chart-conquering Purpose album), it was only a matter of time before he launched an artist project. Poo Bear Presents: Bearthday Music drops on April 27 and it’s a genre-hopping collection of bops with a staggering lineup of featured artists including Justin, Jennifer Lopez, Anitta and Zara Larsson.

I recent spoke with Jason Boyd [his real name] about the ambitious endeavor, and he opened up about the album’s innovative, streaming-friendly format as well as the task of bringing together so many big names. Poo Bear also explained the long journey of lead single, “Hard 2 Face Reality,” and gave some insight into future collaborations including potential cuts with Mariah Carey, Jennifer and, you guessed it, Justin. Find out more about the man behind the music in our Q&A below.

Why did you decide to launch your artist project now?

I just feel like now is the right time. I feel like my name is a little bit more familiar than it was before. You know, my music won’t get lost as fast. I know that a lot of people still don’t know who I am, but I just feel like I’m in a better place right now to put out music. Not even as an artist trying to sing, I’m not doing this to become a singer. I just really want to put out records that I’ve written that I love. I plan to do it every year like a birthday.

It’s a vehicle for new artists and established artists that are in between their albums. I just feel like now is a great time. I feel like people are consuming music on a larger scale, more than they’ve ever have in the history of music. I feel like it’s a great time now to start my Bearthday Music saga. I’m not forcing it, it just feels right to me.

Is there a theme to the album or is it just a collection of your best songs?

I really want to put out music for every genre, you know? I didn’t want to be locked in to a certain category or have to be listed as urban music. I just wanted to put out music for all genres and for all races around the world. I just want it to be the best. Like if I’m gonna put out a reggaeton record, it’s gonna be the most amazing… it’s gonna be my favorite sounding reggaeton record, which I have coming out with J Balvin. I just wanted to do every genre and that was the theme.

The theme was, let’s attack different genres and just make the best music that we love in that genre. Then that way it’s not like you just turn on my album and you just have a bunch of down south rap music. My goal is to get on all these playlists. I want to get on the Latin playlist. I want to be on the Pop playlist. I want to be on the Rap Caviar. I did these songs to really spread out and just literally sink into these different genres. I just want to put out progressive music that people enjoy.

It’s clever given that the album is kind of defunct.

Exactly. So what I did was, I just created a playlist album, and that way it’s really scattered. I just wanted to put out great quality music. People’s attention span is short now. It’s just to be able to have these different genres. Even if they don’t consume it all at one time, I’m hoping that they will collectively hear it from different playlists and then be able to just put it all together and say, “Oh wow, this is Bearthday Music.” This is Poo Bear.

The tracklist is insane. Did you start with a wish list of people you wanted to collaborate with?

I didn’t really have a wish list, more so than I just had a couple records that I had started with my friends and then I was like, “Oh, it would be amazing if they would allow me to put this on my album.” That was a process within itself, you know, just going through that with the labels. Of course, the artists, they have big hearts, but they don’t understand the logistics behind it. So, thank god we got through it.

It didn’t start off with a list more so than it did with me writing down ideas of songs that I had already created with my friends and saying, “Okay, cool. Out of these two records that I did with this artist, I would love for this song to be on my album. I would love to finish it and polish it up.” That was the vision for it. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to pull it off. Thank God I was able to get all my friends on the album, but it was a work in progress thing.

Sometimes another person might pop in my mind. I’m like, “Oh, it’d be really cool, you know, if Skrillex could work on this.” So it wasn’t really a wish list more so than it was just people popping up in my mind and the records that I had already started with those artists.

“Hard 2 Face Reality” was one of those records you already started. I remember hearing the demo a couple of years ago.

Yeah. You probably heard a snippet of it three years ago. It was just a piece of Justin Bieber’s verse, and then a piece of my verse. We both, me and Justin, both felt like it was a timeless record and it did good on SoundCloud. It did like 20 million streams. It stuck out, out of all the songs…