Calvin Harris had to go Jason Bourne to get Rihanna’s ‘This Is What You Came For’ vocal

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Getting Rihanna to sing a hook pretty much guarantees you a chart-topping banger and Calvin Harris knows this.

He was so desperate to get her on his ‘This Is What You Came For’ track in fact, that he travelled the breadth of America and raced to an airport in a helicopter with the recording eventually secured in a briefcase.

It was like a pop version of 24, and he outlined the day to Zane Lowe on his Apple Music Beats 1 show this week: 

"In the end she recorded the vocals in New York. She was gonna do it in LA. She didn't, she couldn't. She had to finish her album.

"So it got pushed back a couple months and then there was a day in New York, or like some hours in New York that she had free because she was on tour at the time as well.

"I said, 'Well OK we didn't get the vocal last time, I'm gonna fly over to New York and just make sure that I get it because I really want it today.

"'This is the only day she has on tour, if it's not today it's another two months, so can I come over?'

"So I checked into the Mercer and I waited for her engineer to call me. Her engineer didn't call me [laughs] and then I was texting him and I was like, 'Is she there yet?' she wasn't there yet.

"In the end it was 4am I fell asleep. I woke up at like 8 to three texts from him and he was like, 'We got it. It's great, let me get everything together for you. And you can come pick it up tomorrow'.

"So he finished at 2, my flight was at 4. We left the hotel, I had this brown bag with a hard drive in it.

"We drove to the studio, we heard the vocal once. I'm like 'that's great', they put it on the hard drive, I put it in my bag, we drive around the corner to the helipad, we take off in the helicopter to the airport and I have this priceless vocal in my brown bag.

"Get on the plane, I sat it there opposite me in the seat, I looked at it and I was just like that was like a bank heist.

"That felt incredible, knowing that I had the most important vocals that I've ever got and it felt amazing. I would've waited six months for it."

The ridiculous journey turned out to be worth it, as 'This Is What You Came For' became one of the songs of the summer (currently at 676,189,932 YouTube views)

Frank Ocean is expected to be one of Zane Lowe’s next interviewees, after he tracked the elusive musician down in Tokyo recently