Q&A: Saweetie on success and working with Dr. Luke (sort of)

LOS ANGELES — Platinum-selling rapper Saweetie has incorporated choreography in her live performances, but ask her about working with controversial music producer Dr. Luke and she dances around the question like a principal ballerina.

Dr. Luke, who has been embattled in a lawsuit with artist Kesha since 2014, has produced Saweetie’s latest hits — the bops “Tap In” and “Best Friend.” The songs have reached the Top 10 and Top 20 on rap and pop charts, respectively, and the success helped Saweetie score a top female rap artist nomination at Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards, pitting her against Grammy-winners Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion.

Dr. Luke marked a major comeback last year, scoring his first No. 1 hit since 2014 with “Say So” by Doja Cat, who is signed to his label and is featured on Saweetie’s “Best Friend.” Once ousted from the industry, Dr. Luke has resurged on the charts in a big way, also producing and writing for acts like Juice WRLD, DaBaby, Lil Wayne, Kygo, The Kid Laroi and Tay Money. This year he even earned his first Grammy nomination in seven years and he’s up for producer of the year at next week’s iHeartRadio Music Awards.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Saweetie talks about her success, her debut album and, reluctantly, Dr. Luke.

Remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.

AP: Congratulations on your Billboard nomination. How does it feel?

Saweetie: It feels great. But when it’s you, you don’t feel or you don’t see the impact that you’re creating. So sometimes I see stuff and I’m like, “Wow, that’s what I’m doing right now.” But it feels amazing.

AP: Are you nervous about the awards show?

Saweetie: Honestly, I’m not nervous. I’m just grateful. I mean, the fact that I’m nominated with no album out, I think that speaks volumes. And it just makes me super-excited for my album release because, it’s like, I have a lot more where that came from.

AP: “Tap In” and “Best Friend” have been huge hits for you, and both were produced by Dr. Luke. What was it like working with him?

Saweetie: It was good. I did a boot camp and knocked out several songs.

AP: What was it like working with Dr. Luke?

Saweetie: Well, when I work with any producer, I’m always, like, asking (questions). I’m a college girl, so I always have in my mind if I need to ask as much questions as possible. I love suggestions, opinions, because there’s just so much room for improvement and growth. So I love collaborating with other creatives because it keeps my mind flowing.

AP: Since Dr. Luke produced your two biggest records, did you feel like you learned anything from him?

Saweetie: It was a while ago, so I’d have to think for a while and don’t want to take up too much of your time.

AP: Were you hesitant at all about working with him because of the controversy surrounding him?

Saweetie: That’s a really good question, but I feel like this is turning into an interview that is taking the focus and the light off of such an amazing night. So if we can, I’d like to focus on that.

AP: When do you plan on releasing your debut album?

Saweetie: My first album will be out this summer.

AP: Has your success sunk in at all?

Saweetie: I think when I’m placed in rooms like this where I’m celebrated, appreciated and I’m outside of my house, and I come from underneath my rock because I feel like I work so much that I tend to not really know what’s going on as far as my progression to the outside world, I feel like in moments like this, I do feel like it’s sinking in. So I’m just really grateful to be here because me and my team have worked so hard and I feel like my goals are slowly being checked off.

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