Desmond Child

Songwriter / Producer / Hitmaker

“I think what drives me is wanting to be an active participant in life, in working with people, in building dreams. Every day I try to be's just naturally in me to want to bring new life into the world somehow.”

The Art As Air team recently had the unique opportunity to explore the creative genius that is Desmond Child. His success is massive; Grammy Awards, 70 Top 40 singles, songs that have sold over 300 million albums worldwide, and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. You may not realize it, but many of his collaborations have probably shown up in your personal soundtrack. Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” and "You Give Love a Bad Name," KiSS’ “I Was Made For Lovin’ You,” Aerosmith’s "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" and “Angel,” Ricky Martin’s "Livin' la Vida Loca," Katy Perry’s "Waking Up in Vegas," and the list goes on and on.

All of this is amazing in itself, but we wanted to tap into the force that drives Desmond’s passionate creativity. He gave us an intimate glimpse:

“I was poor and first generation; my family was from Cuba. When you have to fit in and prove yourself all the time, that builds in a kind of motivating factor. I was also born gay, so that added a different perspective. In many ways, I was trying to over achieve because I had a lot to prove.

I knew I wanted to be in the music business. So I got a scholarship at NYU and lived in a little apartment with my girlfriend at the time. We started a vocal group called Desmond Child and Rouge and we played every joint in NYC. The club owners were mad at us because they’d see we were appearing at every club, sometimes the same night. Eventually we made a name for ourselves. The first song of mine that I heard on the radio was 1979’s “Our Love Is Insane” with Desmond Child and Rouge, and that same year I had a hit with KISS with a song I co-wrote with Paul Stanley called “I was Made For Lovin’ You” which was number 1 in almost every country simultaneously. Suddenly I was this boy genius; I was 25 years old, and I had the world in my hand.

In the early 80s I was being mentored by the famous songwriter and producer Bob Crewe, who taught me the discipline of songwriting. We worked together for two years, five days a week, and completed 38 songs together. He was a master, and I owe everything to him.

I guess growing up poor, Latin and gay, which is a kind of lonely place to be, you have nothing but 'up' from there. You get to a place where, in order to grow, you have to have no pride. You have to be open to criticism and you have to be open to say ‘I know nothing.’ I think there is a point where what you know and all of your influences meet a wall inside, and on the other side of that wall is something infinite where there is something original and something new. When those two things collide, that’s creativity. That’s when something new is born. I’m always trying to live in between those two things in my heart and soul. I feel like I’m in that stage of my life where I actually do have wisdom, and I love sharing it. I’ll go and do a lot of talks to young songwriters. So many successful people walk up to me and tell me how they’ll never forget how I turned their head around. That’s really fulfilling.”

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