Since 2008, when Jeff Bhasker ’99 began working with Kanye West, his career has been in overdrive. Bhasker stepped into the spotlight as West’s touring keyboardist, then became his musical director, and then went into the studio with him as a cowriter and producer. In many ways, West served as a mentor for Bhasker, and Bhasker returned the favor by helping the rapper develop a melodic, keyboard-heavy pop sound on such songs as “Amazing” and “Love Lockdown” on his 808s & Heartbreak album. Bhasker snared the first of his first three Grammy Awards in 2009 for cowriting “Run This Town,” a hit collaboration for Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna. Two years later, he won again in the Best Rap Song category for West’s “All of the Lights.”
“It’s about what clicks. The guys in Fun. and I just clicked. I look for things that will ignite the best in both the artist and me.”
But his most significant project of 2012—producing, cowriting, and playing keyboards for the Some Nights album by Fun.—almost didn’t happen. The then-unknown band had to jump through hoops to recruit Bhasker (who at the time was busy with A-list artists) to produce the group’s sophomore outing. But for Bhasker, the gamble paid off big time. He applied his rap and hip-hop production sensibilities to the band’s pop, rock, alternative, and even theatrical leanings to create a blockbuster album.
This excerpt was taken from an interview by Mark Small. Read the full interview to learn more about Bhasker's career path.