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Inside Track: Kylie Minogue 'Dancing'

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Sky Adams
Published July 2018
By Paul Tingen

Sky Adams in his London studio.Sky Adams in his London studio.Photo: Halo Jones

Successfully integrating dance and country music on Kylie Minogue’s latest album posed a new challenge to producer, songwriter and mix engineer Sky Adams.

When a veteran pop star intends to explore country music for the first time in her life, who is she going to call? In Kylie Minogue’s case, the answer was a producer of Nigerian‑German descent who lives in London and specialises in urban beats. The 20‑odd collaborators credited on Minogue’s new album Golden include high‑profile Nashville writers and producers Nathan Chapman, Liz Rose and Steve McEwan, along with well‑known names from the pop world such as Richard Stannard, Ash Howes, Eg White and Mark Taylor — but Sky Adams has more production and co‑writing credits than anyone else on the album. Given that he is, on the surface, as non‑country as it gets, it’s clear that something unusual was afoot during the making of Golden.

Golden Days

Inside TrackAccording to a press release, the country‑meets‑dance‑meets‑pop direction of Golden was the brainchild of Minogue’s long‑standing A&R manager Jamie Nelson. First contact between the Minogue camp and Adams was made by Nelson via Will Blake of Sound Collective, an artist, producer and writer management company in London, who have Adams under contract.

“A year ago Jamie was working with another artist called Earl,” recalls Adams, “and they were looking for singles. So he contacted Will, who suggested me. I did some work on that project and didn’t hear from Jamie for months, until November 2017, when I got a call saying they were looking for a single for an album by Kylie that had mostly been made in Nashville and that otherwise was pretty much wrapped up. I was supposed to do one or two sessions with Kylie at my studio, to see what we’d come up with.

“The day before the session Jamie sent me ‘Dancing’, saying: ‘Show us what you can do with this song!’ I listened to it, took off the entire production, which had been done in Nashville, kept Kylie’s vocals, sped them up a bit, created a new arrangement, and sent it back. They were like, ‘Oh, my God, this is amazing!’ When Kylie arrived in the studio the next day, she was very excited. So we did the two sessions, and then they booked another four sessions, and we just kept going. She ended up staying a whole month, and we did 11 or 12 songs! After that I spent several weeks mixing what we worked on.”

Keeping It Real

One of the things that differentiates Sky Adams from many producers working within the electronic and dance genres is his capacity to play ‘traditional’ instruments,...

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Published July 2018