Missy Elliott on Writing Songs for Aaliyah and Others: 'I'm Very Much a Feeling Person'


Rap icon Missy Elliott is making historical past as soon as once more—this time as the primary feminine MC nominated for entry into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Winners will likely be inducted on the 50th annual ceremony in New York on June 13, 2019.

“If you had requested me 10 years in the past if I assumed this is able to occur, I wouldn’t have recognized,” says Elliott. “But wow, that is such a blessing. I’m so humbly grateful.”

Known for a string of top-charting singles that features “Hot Boyz”, “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It” and “Gossip Folks,” Elliott has been simply as profitable writing songs for others. Among these credit: Aaliyah (“One in a Million”), Monica (“So Gone”), 702 (“Where My Girls At”), Destiny’s Child (“Confessions”) and Whitney Houston (“In My Business”).

“Lots of people simply thought I used to be an artist,” Elliott notes with fun. “They’re like, ‘I had no clue.’”

In the next interview, Elliott clues folks in about her inventive course of, the one music followers are stunned she wrote and what’s up together with her long-anticipated subsequent album.

Billboard: What does your nomination imply for the present and subsequent era of girls songwriters and producers? 

Missy Elliott: I hope it opens the door so folks will have the ability to see that they [female songwriters and producers] do exist on the market. I used to be speaking to Queen Latifah the opposite day, saying it’s so loopy how folks don’t know that there was a Patrice Rushen, who did quite a lot of her personal stuff; an Angela Winbush … so many earlier than me that folks aren’t conscious of. If I [win], I’ll have the largest occasion. And if I don’t, I’ll nonetheless have a giant occasion as a result of I’m simply grateful, and it sparks the dialog for somebody that comes after me. There hasn’t been a feminine MC inducted, and we have now to take a look at that. 

What one music are followers most stunned to be taught you wrote? 

There are so many. Aaliyah songs have by no means been a shock as a result of folks have all the time related us. But I believe Fantasia’s “Free Yourself” is one. People from the period earlier than find out about Monica and “So Gone.” But the brand new era don’t know. 

Because Fantasia’s such a robust singer, I wished to verify the music was dwell and never create a beat on a machine. I wished to have bridges as effectively as a result of songs don’t have bridges anymore. Then, in fact, I’m well-known for writing “look in case you do me fallacious, I’m about to go away” type of data [laughs]. And Fantasia was going via some issues on the time. After Jazmine Sullivan, then 16 years previous, demoed the music, Fantasia went in there and made it her personal. She gave it that Fantasia church feeling blended with some hood.

Is songwriting a each day course of for you?

It comforts me to write down day by day. I all the time say my associates dwell vicariously via me as a result of I’ll hearken to them after which put their tales into music type. Monica’s “So Gone” got here like that. She was within the studio fussing about one thing. I overheard her and instantly wrote the music primarily based on what she was arguing about.

It’s been 13 years since your final album. What have you ever discovered about your self creatively in that point?

That I’ve been very onerous on myself. Since I report on a regular basis, I play stuff for my associates once they come over. They’re like, “You’re sitting on this nice physique of labor.” And I’m like no, that’s not scorching. I’m by no means totally snug with issues. I’m very a lot a sense individual. Fifty folks can inform me, “Hey, that is scorching.” But if I don’t really feel it then no person else will ever hear it apart from these 50 folks at my home. If I get goosebumps, then I really feel just like the world will really feel that approach once they hear it.

You’re removed from finished however how would you outline your musical legacy thus far?

I prefer to let different folks say what it's. I’m blessed for positive to have reached so many individuals. I noticed quite a lot of children dressed up like “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” for Halloween. They have been all of 5 and 6 years previous, strolling round singing “The Rain.” When I noticed Mary [Halsey, whose cover of “Work It” recently went viral], I used to be like wait, she is aware of the phrases higher than me. I pray that so long as I’m respiration that I proceed to create music that may transcend to different generations.

What’s subsequent?

I don’t like to speak about that as a result of my followers are so loopy. What I really like about them is that they experience for me via thick and skinny. But in case you inform them a date, you higher follow it. If you inform them you’re doing one thing with someone, you higher do it. So, I don’t need to say who I’m working with. For this album, I’m simply attempting to be sure that I give the very best me that I can probably give.