Sarah Aarons interview: ‘Trolls World Tour’ songwriter
Even though Sarah Aarons had already signed to help write songs for “Trolls World Tour,” it was a chance meeting with Ludwig Göransson at a café that led to the session where “The Other Side” was composed. “He said, ‘We’re trying to write the end song with Justin. Do you want to come?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, I can make time for that,'” she tells us in our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above). As she was in the studio with Ludwig, Justin Timberlake and Max Martin the song came together through synthesizers, chords and bass lines. When Aarons did the demo vocals with Timberlake, he realized that the song should be a duet. “Justin said, ‘Someone else needs to be on this with me.’ I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be sick if it was SZA,’ and left it and then a few weeks later, he said, ‘Yeah, SZA came around and was doing stuff on it. It sounds amazing.’ It was kind of this perfect situation.”
“Trolls World Tour” is the sequel to the 2016 film, “Trolls.” In this installment, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom) of the Rock tribe tries to conquer all the different troll kingdoms by stealing the magical strings from each tribe that brings their specific kind of music to life. Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick), along with Branch (Timberlake), tries to prevent Queen Barb from doing this by uniting all the other troll kingdoms into realizing that they’re all the same. Along her journey, Poppy comes to realize that while they aren’t all the same, the shared love of music that they all have can be a uniting force even as it highlights their differences.
Songwriting was always something that had interested Aarons, but it was never something that she thought she could make a living off of. “I was in my bedroom and I wanted to try this thing. I always wrote songs. I didn’t know it was a job. I thought all the artists just kind of did it.” Soon after, she became aware of people like Diane Warren and that’s when everything started coming together for her. “I was just at a point where I was going to try this and if the doors don’t open, then I’m not good enough and if the doors open, I am. I just loved it more than I even knew I did. I didn’t know anyone, I was 18 and I was just going to go as hard as I can.”
Aarons is also no stranger to the awards game as she received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year in 2018 for “The Middle,” performed by Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey. Aarons remembers being in a very unique situation when she found out she was nominated. “I actually had my leg amputated three weeks before the nominations came out. I was back in Australia, I was recovering and I get a call from my manager in the middle of the night and she’s doing Facetime and she’s crying.” The news was perfect for Aarons as she knew she had to be able to walk again in time for the ceremony. “I walked all the way to the fourth row and I sat there the whole night. I didn’t take a pee break or snack break. Every time people were like, ‘Do you want to come get a drink,’ I was like, ‘No. I’m at the Grammys, I’m in the fourth row, get away from me.’ J-Lo’s dancing in front of me and I’m just thinking, come on guys, this is it!”