Think of any current radio-friendly rock act and chances are, songwriter-for-hire Marti Frederiksen has helped score them a hit. Recently, Frederiksen hooked up his old pals in Aerosmith once again; their upcoming album, Music From Another Dimension!, features five Frederiksen co-written tracks, including a tune that had been on the drawing board for years, "What Could Have Been Love."
"It's been a good seven years," Frederiksen tells Rolling Stone about the track. "The song came about because Steven [Tyler] really liked it and we worked it up. Someone else would have done the song, but we held it and held it, hoping that it worked for Aerosmith. It's a power ballad-y kind of song, maybe the typical song for Aerosmith. But it just had a good message and Steven was feeling it. So we held on to it and finally, it's seen the light of day."
Frederiksen also earned a producer credit on three of the album's songs, next to other tracks helmed by Jack Douglas, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. "I think the ones that Jack produced are more 'band guy' songs.' I worked on a couple of other songs I didn't produce on the record, and one is a real rocker that came out of the same time as 'What Could Have Been Love' – [new single] 'Lover Alot.' I co-wrote that with the guys. A whole different beast, man – just rockin', loose and uptempo. That's the great thing about songwriting and being able to work with a band like this – you can do something old-school rock and then do a beautiful ballad. The good thing about all these songs is nothing is over-produced."
Music From Another Dimension! is not the only place where songs co-penned by Frederiksen and Tyler will turn up soon: the duo collaborated with Julian Lennon on a song titled "Someday." "It was kind of a last-minute thing," explains Frederiksen. "We were finishing up the Aerosmith stuff in L.A., and Steven was like, 'Julian's staying below where I'm staying, at the Sunset Marquis. We've got to go over and write a song with him – I've been telling him about you.'"
"Steven and I went over there, and Julian has a songwriting partner, Mark Spiro, and all four of us sat down and wrote a song. Literally, an hour and a half later, we had the song done – lyrics and everything. To be honest, it was the first time I'd written with Steven not for Aerosmith or himself," he adds. "It was like a different guy in the room for me, because he's so particular in what he would sing. He was still way into it, it was just a different guy." Frederiksen describes "Someday" as "midtempo. It's got really rhythmic beats in it. Different kind of grooves. It's not your typical production. Really India-kind of strings, and Steven did some backgrounds on it."
Frederiksen credits his own songwriting success to similar open-mindedness. "My big start was through Aerosmith, with [A&R executive] John Kalodner hooking me up with them. They started doing it back on their 'return' – writing with outside writers. They wanted to just get the best songs possible, and get different takes on ideas they may have, and go left instead of right," he says. "I feel like I'm more of a collaborator than a songwriter. I get in with an artist, and I really try to get what they want to get. I never try and steer them towards anything they don't want to do."
"I've been out in Nashville a little now and doing some writing out there, and there's so many great writers," he continues. "A lot of the country stuff, a lot of those guys aren't even concerned about writing the songs – they just want the best songs they can possibly sing, like the Elvis days. I look at it like that – artists would rather stay with their families rather than grind out songs and have to write 50 songs to find 10."