Jack Antonoff is the producer that you just can't seem to escape from if pop or indie music is your forte. However, Antonoff's career is way more extensive in the music industry than you may realise, so here's a rundown of how the Grammy-winning producer made his way to the top.
For starters, who is Jack Antonoff?
Jack Antonoff is a multi-Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and producer. Although he has had several of his own musical projects, he’s most well known for producing with several huge music artists (who we’ll go into later).
Antonoff specialises in synthy-poppy music, but his CV goes across a wide variety of genres and sounds including acoustic, indie, and rock.
The beginning of his career
Although he’s most well-known for his production work, Jack Antonoff started his career as a musician in his own right from a very young age. He was involved in multiple bands, as a singer, and as an instrumentalist, from the age of 14.
He released music with school friends under the band Outline, who also managed to tour across the country with their own planning.
However, it wasn’t until forming the band Steel Train that he got signed to an independent label, and joined the festival circuit.
Remember We Are Young, the song that was absolutely everywhere in 2012? Well, Antonoff was one of the men behind the song, aka he was a member of indie-rock band fun.
Fronted up by Nate Ruess, fun. were the band of the moment in 2012. They released their first album in 2009, but it wasn't until Some Nights that the band really found international success.
The album was Grammy-nominated, and the band was the Grammys best new artist and won song of the year for We Are Young. On top of this, the song went to number one on the Billboard chart for 6 weeks.
However, it wasn't long before the band went their separate ways and opened the door for Antonoff to pursue other avenues.
Bleachers is Antonoff’s own project which he started in 2014, and continues to release music under up until this year.
It was through Bleachers that Antonoff really came into his own and developed his signature retro synthy beats, with surprisingly deep and thoughtful lyrics on top. than his previous bands, and it's where he really came into his own with his signature synthy 80s style beats underneath deep and thoughtful lyricism.
Although this project wasn’t as successful as fun., it was well-loved by critics and was important to Antonoff’s musical development.
Queen of the music industry Taylor Swift was the first person to hire Antonoff as a producer, so Antonoff managed to make his debut in music production with one of the world’s biggest musicians, which of course shot him to fame.
Their first track together was Sweeter than Fiction from the One Chance soundtrack in 2013, but they’re probably most well known for working together for the Grammy-winning 1989 which has been dubbed pop-perfection by critics and fans alike (including myself).
The pair have literally not stopped working together since then, and every single album Swift has released since has Antonoff’s signature all over it. From the lockdown albums of folklore and evermore, to her new-old re-recordings that are coming out in a steady stream over the next couple of years, Antonoff is on the credits.
Lorde was the next music star to hire Antonoff as a co-writer and co-producer for her album 2017 album Melodrama. Whereas with Swift Antonoff had a focus on the production of a few songs on 1989, on Melodrama Antonoff was heavily involved in pretty much every track on the album.
The album is still, despite the recent release of Solar Power (which Antonoff worked on too) considered Lorde's magnum opus. If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it's that you should listen to this damn album.
Lana Del Rey
2017 was a busy year for Antonoff, as it was also the year of Norman F**king Rockwell by Lana Del Rey. this was the first of a couple albums Del Rey and Antonoff have worked together on.
Norman Fucking Rockwell is still considered one of Del Rey's albums, and at the time earned her
Controversy on Twitter about similar-sounding songs
It's not all easy being the producer that everyone seems to want to work with, as Antonoff came under fire after the release of Chemtrails Over the Country Club and Solar Power when Twitter users were comparing songs from the two albums, thinking they sounded similar and putting Antonoff to blame. Elite Daily's article discusses this in greater detail.
I'll be the first to admit there are of course similarities across the tracks specifically mentioned, and perhaps Antonoff should have been more careful to make the songs sound more distinct. However, most artists would hire Antonoff specifically for his style - they know the music he creates, and that's the energy they want to be combined with their own sound. Of course, the music is going to sound a little similar sometimes, because it wouldn't be his signature if it wasn't.
Finally, why is Antonoff so popular now?
Two main reasons:
His sound is trending
His sound is where it's at in the music industry right now. With music feeding off retro influences more so than ever, Jack Antonoff's synth-driven 80s inspired signature production thrives.
Antonoff is a male producer who works with a lot of female artists, clearly because they feel comfortable working with him. A lot of people do not understand how very rare this is in the music industry, and women need to be so careful with the people they work with otherwise they end up in horrific situations like the Dr Luke abuse of Kesha.
Once a female artist finds this level of trust, specifically in male producers, it would be difficult to let them go in a hurry.