Major Lazer recruited Justin Bieber and Danish singer MØ for its dancehall-flavored single “Cold Water,” on Lazer’s forthcoming LP, Music Is the Weapon. The Caribbean-tinged track picks up where Bieber’s “Where Are Ü Now,” also produced by Major Lazer’s Diplo, left off in summer 2015.
“It was spontaneous, no one thought it would work,” Diplo tells Rolling Stone about bringing the track to Bieber. The song, written by Diplo, Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco, has the pop star harmonizing with MØ over a smooth African guitar and reggaeton drum wave. “Take a deep breath and let it go/ You shouldn’t be drowning on your own,” Bieber intones in “Sorry” mode.
Diplo says that Major Lazer songs like “Cold Water,” full of diverse acoustic and Eastern flourishes, are embraced because pop is in a time of experimentation. “On the radio, we went through a bland period for a while, but now there is just some awesome music,” Diplo says, citing Drake’s “One Dance” and Rihanna’s “Work” as two songs that are pushing commercial limits.
“You can tell if something’s authentic or not,” he says. The producer found originality in the young singer, MØ. The pair met haphazardly in Amsterdam when MØ rented out an AirBnB for a day in order to stay and meet him, he says. “I felt like she was so ambiguous, having grown up singing pop and punk … Her word choice and her metaphors are just so foreign from American songwriters who tend to overuse the same phrases.”
MØ leant her vocals to Major Lazer’s Number One hit “Lean On” with DJ Snake, which Diplo says is his favorite song of his own. “MØ gave it a bit more edge.”
Last month, Major Lazer released a fire-filled video for Peace Is the Mission single “Night Riders,” featuring Pusha T, 2 Chainz and Travis Scott. Catch Major Lazer playing new cuts like “Cold Water” and “Night Riders” this summer at Panorama Festival and Lollapalooza.