Oscar Nominee and Songwriter Savan Kotecha Talks ‘Eurovision Song Contest,' Indian Roots
RollingStone India|May 2021
Working with artists such as The Weeknd, One Direction, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and more, the American producer currently lives in Sweden
ANURAG TAGAT

Although he was raised in Austin, Texas in a Gujarati household by Ugandan-born parents, Savan Kotecha did develop a liking for pop balladeers such as Bryan Adams and Richard Marx, much like a lot of Indians back home during the Nineties.

Kotecha, who is among the songwriters who work with chart-toppers such as Britney Spears, One Direction, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Maroon 5 and more, says over email, “I was a big fan of cheesy ballads! Always have been. So when I first started messing around on a piano, I would learn to play their big hits by ear, and then I started falling in love with Babyface and Boyz II Men’s music. I think a lot of my early Westlife songs were all trying to be Richard Marx or Bryan Adam’s songs.”

Also a vocal producer, Kotecha moved to Europe and began working with Swedish super-producer and songwriter Max Martin (being part of Spears’ 2009 hit “If U Seek Amy”) and also landed up working with contestants on U.K. show The X Factor in 2010. It made him among the key persons on the show amid Simon Cowell and future pop star group One Direction. In the last decade, Kotecha was part of the team that churned out hits such as “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding, “Side To Side” by Ariana Grande, “One More Night” by Maroon 5, “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd and several more.

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