Mark Ronson Interview: ‘A Star Is Born’ songwriter
When Mark Ronson saw an early cut of “A Star Is Born” at Bradley Cooper‘s house he admits that he was surprised by how “Shallow,” an original song he composed with Lady Gaga, was used. He wasn’t expecting “to see it suddenly involved in the whole plot, and the parking lot scene, and at the Greek [Theater] when he pulls her on stage.” Rather than just playing during the end credits, the tune became an “emotional moment” in the film. Watch our exclusive video interview with Ronson above.
Cooper directs and stars in this Warner Bros. release as Jackson Maine, a fading musician who helps propel a young singer, Ally (Gaga), to stardom. But his drug and alcohol addictions worsen after he begins dating his protege.
“Shallow” serves as a crucial turning point in the narrative: an original tune written by Ally, it’s the first song she performs in front of a large crowd, and proof she has what it takes. Ronson recently worked with Gaga on her album “Joanne,” so he was “fully aware of what a giant pop star” she is. But when she takes the stage that first time as Ally even he admits to “believing this was her first performance.” He “forgot she’s already famous” and that “she was somebody I kinda know and worked with.”
Writing “Shallow” was “like anytime I work with Gaga: 80% of it’s coming from her.” When collaborating with an artist, Ronson views his job as being a sounding board for ideas. “We had a bit of a bond at that point from working on ‘Joanne,’ so I could help her finish certain sentences. But the main thing is she’s driving the ship. You’re just there to give some moral support, throw a word at her every now and then.”
Ronson has five Grammys on his mantel: Producer of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album for producing Amy Winehouse‘s “Back to Black,” and Record of the Year for Winehouse’s “Rehab” in 2008, then Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars in 2016. He could very well add an Oscar to that list of plaudits as “Shallow” is being campaigned for Best Original Song.