David Guetta wasn't chasing a monster hit when he crafted songs like the Kelly Rowland-assisted "When Love Takes Over" and the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." The French DJ-producer was relatively unknown to most Americans, and he didn't feel much pressure to make the tracks Grammy-winning, international smashes — though that's what the songs went on to become.
And that's where the high expectations came in. Guetta says that when he began recording his latest album, he felt a bit pressured to recreate his success, but managed to block it out.
"(I had to get) in the mindset of before, when we were just partying, without thinking, 'Is this going to be a hit?' (I was) trying to just have a good time," he said. "It worked (and) I think this album is better than the previous one."
Guetta's double album "Nothing But the Beat," his fifth release and the follow-up to the multi-hit "One Love," debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard charts earlier this month. One album is instrumental; the other has collaborations with top acts like Nicki Minaj, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, will.i.am, Sia and more.
The Associated Press: Was it hard to not feel the pressure while creating this new album?
Guetta: It's just that now it's different because I have a name, so when an artist comes to work with me, maybe they're thinking, "This will be big." But even with Usher, for example, we've been trying to work together for a long time. ...We had one or two sessions, and it was good, but not "Wow. Amazing." And we said, "Let's wait till we have that 'wow' record." And now we have this huge record ("Without You") that everyone thinks is one of the biggest records of my life and Usher was really excited about it.
AP: You have a lot of top performers on this album.
Guetta: There are no fillers. Everything is pretty huge. It's kind of funny because lots of radio stations in America are starting to play a bunch of different records (from the album) ... I see them all as singles.
AP: Nicki Minaj appears on two songs. What was it like working with her?
Guetta: Oh listen, I am so proud of her on "Turn Me On." She's huge here and known for her rapping, but I don't think people thought she could deliver in terms of singing like on "Turn Me On." It's crazy. She sounds amazing. This is like top, top level singing. ...And when I worked with Jennifer Hudson, I was also taking her out of her box because it was like a very different style for her, but everybody knows that she has that huge voice. But I think for Nicki Minaj to show this — it's really big.
AP: Did you work with her twice because the first session went so well?
Guetta: Exactly. That's what happened: it went so well I was like, "Wow." I wanna work more with her, too, producing for her album. I think she's really amazing.
AP: Was there anyone you didn't get a chance to work with?
Guetta: Not really to be honest. I feel very lucky.
AP: How does it feel to see a lot of American producers taking on the dance sound?
Guetta: I think because we're all going in the same direction it makes us all way stronger. ...The more people, the better. Because sometimes a lot of people ask me, "Do you feel like people are taking your sound?" No. I think that's great because I've been inspired by lots of DJs (and) producers, and if I inspire some other artists, that's beautiful.
AP: Do you sing or rap?
Guetta: No (laughs). I'm really, really terrible. I don't have enough ears to be the perfect singer, but I have enough ears to know that I'm not good.
Mesfin Fekadu covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him at http://twitter.com/musicmesfin