Rexha and Guetta have an intuitive bond as musicians, the sort of innate ebb and flow typically reserved for lifelong friends. That level of compatibility can cause friction, but the tension is eclipsed by cohesion. The pair have repeatedly churned out smash songs together: "Say My Name" (with J. Balvin), "Hey Mama" (with Nicki Minaj) and, most recently, "I'm Good (Blue)."
The chemistry between Rexha and Guetta is world-class, but their journey has been rocky at times.
Rexha's name was originally left off the marquee for "Hey Mama," a song that—unbeknownst to the general public—was one of the biggest hits of her career at the time. Lawyers were involved before Rexha was given due credit for her contributions. Fortunately, the two sides have since mended and redefined their friendship. That's evident in the success of their records.
"The music brings you together. I think [Guetta] and I have such incredible chemistry," Rexha tells EDM.com at JBL Fest in Las Vegas. "I was really upset and hurt at that time. It was weird. I feel like there have been multiple situations where I wasn't really protected. I guess also it came down to me being able to fight and the kind of team I had around me at the time."
"Also, I think, a lack of belief from other people," Rexha continues. "That's totally fine for me because I feel like my passion for music is always keeping me in the game. I always kind of prove people wrong and I'm just grateful to be doing what I do. There was a really long time that I was upset with him and angry with him and hurt, most importantly. But we're fine now. We still have our moments. We still have our moments. It's like a brother-sister relationship. It really is."
Much like her intangible connection with Guetta, Rexha's success has very much been a story of trusting her intuition. Her hit single "Meant to Be," a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, was the byproduct of a last-minute studio session invite.
Rexha's hit-making habit with Guetta followed a similar trajectory. An impromptu get-together between the now frequent collaborators resulted in "I'm Good" and "Hey Mama."
"It was a last-second session the day of," Rexha explains. "I hit up David randomly because I saw on social media that he was in London. I said, 'Hey, what are you doing?' He said, 'I'm actually recording and writing.' And I said, 'Well, can I just drop by?' And I had dropped by his session that he had that day. They had played me this remix of the Eiffel 65 song and we were just having fun. It was kind of just a fun moment of a remix. We didn't think anything of it. We didn't think it'd ever come out. It was just a fun moment."
"He ended up playing it at a festival," she continues. "Somebody took a video of it and posted it on YouTube, and then somebody took the YouTube clip and put it on TikTok, and then it just exploded. It's crazy to me how the song is literally five years old. I always just thought of it as a fun song. I never took it seriously. So to me, it's really funny. It's like always the songs I never expect."
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Rexha is very well-acquainted with the electronic dance music scene. She cooked up "In the Name of Love" with Martin Garrix, "Take Me Home" with Cash Cash and "Harder" with Jax Jones, among other high-profile collabs. Looking into her cauldron, Rexha sees an EDM takeover on the horizon of mainstream music.
"I'm also a nerd when it comes to trying to read the landscape of music and where it's going as a songwriter. We've seen hip-hop take over, really big on all the charts. Now what we're starting to see is a takeover of dance music," Rexha predicts. "Dance music is coming back and I think it's going to come back really, really big because we've been cooped up in our houses for so long and now it's like we finally want to be free."
Rexha is putting the finishing touches on her hotly anticipated third studio album. The two-time Grammy nominee is closing in on her most raw and cohesive project yet.
"My album is 80% done," Rexha says. "I've been working on it. It's a really cool sound and mix of all the genres that I've been kind of a part of. It's been the most, I think, consistent album that I've had. Usually, I put a whole bunch of totally different sounds, but this has been a really focused album. It's like a real artist project and I'm really excited to put it out and it's going to come sooner than later."
Rexha took a break from album-tinkering to visit Sin City, where the pop superstar performed at JBL Fest at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on September 27th. A brand ambassador for JBL, Rexha was amped for the week's festivities.
"I love working with JBL because I am truly a big fan of their product and I really believe in it," she says. "I mean, I have so many JBL speakers around my house. I'm constantly listening to my demos and listening to music. This fest is so fun. I think this year I'm excited to see Doja Cat and The Kid LAROI and Martin Garrix. It's an incredible lineup… I just feel good because it's a product that I really stand behind and that I really like. It's not like one of those false situations where you're just like, 'Yeah, buy this speaker.' I really, truly love the product."
Rexha appears to be firing on all cylinders between the global chart-topping success of her latest Guetta collaboration and a killer show at JBL Fest. She's doing good, but she has a couple of songs on reserve for if she is ever feeling blue.
"I feel like some, like, good Adele, you know? When I got my heart broken, I remember listening to Adele or even, No Doubt's 'Don't Speak.' When I listen to that, it hit a different way," Rexha says. "I was on the Nick Jonas tour. I was in a bar and I remember, No Doubt's 'Don't Speak' coming on. And I was just bawling my eyes out. That is definitely my blue song."