Mark Ronson may have scored an Oscar for “Shallow” in A Star Is Born, but he revealed that it wasn’t Bradley Cooper’s first choice for the movie’s hit song.
In an interview with NME, published online Thursday, the Barbie music composer said he was working on Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album at the same time that Cooper was in the planning process for the movie.
“We were working on Gaga’s album Joanne and Bradley Cooper stopped by the studio one afternoon. I like his films. He showed up looking like a movie star. So we hung out,” Ronson recalled. “He was really sweet, talking about this new script that they were both doing. I played him the song called ‘Joanne’ and he’s like, ‘That’s great, can I have it?’”
The music producer said he knew Cooper was a “big star and everything,” but he didn’t want to give up the title track because he liked it so much. Ronson added, “I kind of needed it for Gaga’s record.”
Lady Gaga released the album Joanne in 2016, which scored the singer her fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Although Cooper didn’t get to use the title track for his 2018 movie, which he directed and starred in, alongside Gaga, Ronson said he agreed to find time in his schedule to work on a new song for the film with the Grammy-winning singer. He even remembers the exact moment that he knew he had a smash hit on his hands with “Shallow.”
“We were working in this incredible studio in Malibu, [Los Angeles] – Rick Rubin’s studio, Shangri La – and it had this really long echoey hallway,” he said. “I have this very distinct memory of Gaga’s voice coming from 30 feet away, sounding so excited about something as she came in. She sat down at the piano and started singing ‘I’m off the deep end…’”
In 2018, during The Hollywood Reporter‘s Songwriter Roundtable, Ronson shared some insight into his approach to songwriting, particularly with Lady Gaga for A Star Is Born. “For better or for worse, the best songs come when you’re going through a trying time, really,” he told the roundtable at the time. “That’s what I find. And luckily, life will always find a way to deal you a shit hand every now and then. So I feel like, that’s the good thing about it — the well won’t run dry, because I feel like, you’ll always have those kind of life experiences.”
“And in that place, whether it’s an Amy Winehouse or whoever it is, I get to sort of tap into their well of giant emotion for a little while,” Ronson continued. “And sometimes it’s not even fair because I’m going along for the ride on their horrible, tragic life experiences.”
But he noted that “every new project just rejuvenates” him as he’s “always getting into someone else’s life experience and seeing how that matches up with my own.”
A Star Is Born went on to win the Academy Award for best original song, as well as earning seven other Oscar nominations, including for best picture of the year.