Once you leave the United States, you truly begin to understand how more influential Bollywood is on the global community than Hollywood; the population of non-resident Indians (NRIs) has boomed in recent years, with more than 30 million Indians living outside of the Indian subcontinent. Of that, about 3.2 million NRIs live in the United States, another million in Canada, and another 1.5 million in the United Kingdom. This means that Bollywood A-listers, like Priyanka Chopra, for example, enjoy a level of stardom internationally that big-in-the-West actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, and Halle Berry may not — simply because the cultural barriers inherent in most other parts of the world are at times so impenetrable.
It’s probably also why when news broke that Chopra would be embarking on a global bid at pop super-stardom, some of the West’s most notable pop impresarios immediately took note. It was the perfect storm of opportunity: Big-in-the-West superstars who’ve had a tough time breaking into non-English-speaking markets found their ideal ambassadress and Chopra found the red carpet to the American A-list. It was win-win.
Like her acting chops, Chopra’s singing chops are nothing to write home about. Here she is singing a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Genie In A Bottle”:
As we all know well, the last thing any would-be pop star needs to know how to do is to sing properly. In revving up her pop career, Chopra was a readily-assembled package that just needed an extra lift to reach a new audience. That extra lift would have to be a cocktail of industry hot-shots who could, in essence, make her other-ness palpable to Western audiences whose exposure to South Asia could be as minimal as ordering chicken makhani off a carry-out menu.
That’s where producers like RedOne come in; having shaped his reputation on slapping together stompy dance-floor romps to pop stars yearning to become divas, he was the perfect fit.
Here’s one song he produced for Jennifer Lopez:
Here’s another he produced for Nicole Scherzinger:
And of course, here’s that one that he produced for Lady Gaga that we’ll never be able to unhear:
The beats are bombastic, the rhythm’s undeniable. Try as hard as you might to hate them, upon listening to a RedOne production, your body will invariably start grooving and shaking. No one operates under the delusion that RedOne will ever achieve Chopin-levels of musical greatness, but his punchy anthems are wonderful. If ever anyone needed a radio-friendly sound to break a difficult market, Chopra would be that person.