Berklee Songwriter Punches up Charlie’s Angels Soundtrack

Nick Balkin
November 5, 2019

Jonathan Perkins, assistant chair of the Songwriting Department, cowrote and produced Danielle Bradbery's “Blackout” for the Ariana Grande–helmed soundtrack.

Album artwork for the Charlie's Angels soundtrack
Image courtesy of Universal Music

Ariana Grande's new Charlie’s Angels soundtrack boasts an all-star multigenerational lineup of female vocalists, from Donna Summer and Chaka Khan '04H to Lana Del Rey and Nicki Minaj. The album's star-studded track list includes Danielle Bradbery's “Blackout,” a piano-driven pop ballad cowritten and produced by Jonathan Perkins, assistant chair of Berklee's Songwriting Department.

Perkins, who graduated from Berklee in 2000, wrote the song with longtime collaborator Nikki Williams at Blackbird Studio in Nashville. "Nikki and I were inspired by Sia and her use of rich harmonies, and we wanted to write something to showcase that," said Perkins. "We originally wrote the song over a more fully produced track, but it wasn't fitting. Just before I'd given up all hope, I pulled up Nikki's vocal, got rid of all the production and started playing piano with it, and it clicked."

When "Blackout" was selected for the Charlie's Angels album, Perkins assumed that he or someone else would be asked to reproduce the track. Instead, the label chose the demo he and Williams had created, and Perkins recorded Bradbery's vocals over the original track at Sound Emporium Studios. "[Bradbery] has a great career ahead of her and I'm so happy to play a small part in it," Perkins said. "I hope that many people are inspired by this soundtrack. It was certainly inspiring to help create." Charlie's Angels hits theaters on November 15. 

Listen to Danielle Bradbery's “Blackout”:

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