While speaking with French house DJ David Guetta, it’s apparent that American lingo gets lost in his translation. From “swagger” (a term Fergie taught him in the studio) to “bitch,” he’s currently learning that their meanings switch as fast as he mixes records. “In the U.K., [bitch] is considered the most offensive word,” Guetta reveals. Leave it to Kelly Rowland, a collaborator on his new electro-hop infused album, One Love, to school him on the new definition. “[She] said that in America, a woman who takes care of her own business and runs her life can be called a ‘bitch’ because she is strong,” he explains with a hearty laugh.
“Sexy Bitch” featuring Akon, the DJ-producer’s second single, is at the top of the U.K. charts despite the “offensive” title. His frequent flyer miles have helped him secure the welcomed position, promoting at festivals in Cheshire, England, to hotspots in Ibiza, Spain. Minutes before boarding another plane, Guetta talks shop about his “hip-hop vs. electronic” label, Ne-Yo’s songwriting wizardry, and reveals the one item he never leaves home without.
1. Why did you choose to have Kelly Rowland sing the vocals on your first single, “When Love Takes Over”?
Well, actually she chose me. I didn’t really choose her. I would have been too shy to ask. I was playing the instrumentals of “When Love Takes Over” and, you know, it was just the perfect moment! I was playing in the South of France and she was there and she kinda fell in love with the track. She then proposed to come up with a song and she gave me that beautiful song.
2. You used to take your DJ equipment to the beach and throw parties when you were 14 years old. Describe that experience.
Yes. That is totally true! I have done a lot of different parties. Actually, before I was a house DJ, I was a hip-hop DJ. I’ve done parties in the projects. I used to play at very social places and I also used to do illegal raves and stuff like this. I’ve done it all! It is very funny that [When Love Takes Over] became so big. It has a long history behind it, but it is still true even if I do not perceive myself to be like this.
3. How would you get power to operate the turntables?
Well, we used to find places and we would come with something that creates electricity.
4. Since you’re also a hip-hop fan, are there any American rap songs that you know all the lyrics to?
You know I listen to a little bit of hip-hop, but not a lot. It’s just that I always get that connection because this is where I started and I always liked hip-hop. I’m not a specialist or anything. Also, artists on my album came into my world. It’s like the best of both worlds. Will.i.am and I call it “electro-hop.” I’m not saying, “OK, I’m a new producer,” because I am not. I’m doing my thing. It seems a lot of hip-hop artists are very excited about electronic sounds at the moment. A lot of them ask me to produce sounds for them. They bring so much to the table anyway that it is still going to sound urban regardless. I’m not saying “I’m hip-hop” because I’m not. I’m electronic.
5. Your second single is titled “Sexy Bitch” and features Akon. Can you name two celebrity females that fit that description?
Of course, there are a lot. But my wife is the sexiest. She is half African-American and half French, so she is my sexiest bitch on the planet! It’s funny because I was with my manager and she is British, so she had asked me if I thought the word “bitch” was offensive. When I played the song for my manager, she was very shocked.
6. As a DJ, what songs get the most requests?
Well, it would be more like my own songs. I create songs, so a lot of people that come to my gigs want to hear my songs. I really think “Love Is Gone” is my biggest record right now. Now the hip-hop [fans] have a huge [mash-up] between “When Love Takes Over” and Flo Rida and T-Pain. When I play it in America, it is really big. It’s crazy! Actually, I just got in touch with T-Pain’s manager, probably because of this [mash-up], of course!
7. Bob Marley’s song “One Love” is a celebration of unity. Your album is also titled One Love. Is your album a reflection of that?
Absolutely! I’m all about love. This album really shows that it’s all about the love of music. We all come from different backgrounds. There are hip-hop artists, electronic artists, R&B artists, and pop artists. We all love music, period. A lot of fans don’t understand that because they all want you to do one thing or sound. I think all artists just want to do something together that is new, exciting, and refreshing for us.
8. Which artists that you collaborated with were you a fan of before you worked together?
Well, you know, all the people that are on my album are amazing artists, so working with somebody like will.i.am is just crazy! This guy is crazy and very funny. We just had fun.
9. Do you have a memorable story from working with any of the artists?
I have a story when Ne-Yo had come to my studio in Paris and he wanted to hear “When Love Takes Over.” He was invited by Kelly and when he heard it, he freaked out. He was like, “Oh my God! Congratulations!” He asked me if I had another beat because the last was so good. It was only the beginning of my album, so I just had that one beat that I made on the plane on my laptop. I told him it wasn’t even finished and I didn’t have many tracks. He told me not to worry about it, so I played the DJ version of the track for him. I played the track and he takes out a pen and paper and after eight minutes, at the end of the track, Ne-Yo says, “Turn on the mic. I’m ready.” I was like, “What?” He wrote a song in eight minutes and it is a monster song [called Choose]!
10. Since you travel so much, what is the one item you take with you wherever you go?
I can’t be without my laptop. Everything is in there. My studio is my laptop. All my music is there and synthesizers. I never leave it anywhere. I never leave it in the car!
David Guetta’s fourth album One Love is available now featuring the hit singles “When Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland and “Sexy Bitch” with Akon.