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Songwriter, Producer, Engineer and Drummer Talks About Aerosmith, American Idol
Marti Frederiksen
Me and Steven Tyler this past year have been doing quite a bit of writing. Me and Steven wrote a song together for Julian Lennon and that was the first time we ever wrote a non-Aerosmith song together. - Marti Frederiksen
by Michael Shinafelt
Marti Frederiksen

Songwriter, producer, engineer and drummer Marti Frederiksen was a 10th grade choir boy; yep, that didn't take. Marti has had his a hand in some of the best hits of the last decade, co-writing “Jaded” by Aerosmith, “Undo It” by Carrie Underwood, “Sorry” by Buckcherry, and “Love Remains the Same” by Gavin Rossdale.

With his restless drive Marti could hear the big picture, pick out the possibilities, and create new harmonies. He started playing drums in a garage band and writing originals when he was only 15.

Three of Marti’s LA-area bands landed record deals, and that led Marti to producing. Soon he was with Virgin Records co-writing and producing for the Southern rock-tinged Brother Cane, including two songs that reached No. 1 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts. With his many hyphenates, look behind the control board; it's an engineer, it's a drummer, a songwriter... no, it's Super Marti!

MS: The big thing you have going right now is that you are working with Aerosmith on “Music From Another Dimension”.

MF: Well, the good thing is, I'm not working on it anymore. (laughs)

MS: You've worked with Areosmith for a decade.

MF: The album was long in the making and it finally came out. I like working with them. Me and Steven Tyler this past year have been doing quite a bit of writing. Me and Steven wrote a song together for Julian Lennon and that was the first time we ever wrote a non-Aerosmith song together.

MS: Really cool.

MF: Were writing for a different guy; that's pretty, man. When we were writing together for Julian, Steven wasn't thinking: could I sing this or would I sing this? It was pretty cool. Of course, he would think that if he was writing for himself. (laughs) I've never done that with him before. It was a pleasure.

MS: You are the ultimate one degree of “American Idol”. You have worked with everyone from Steven Tyler, Carrie Underwood, James Durbin and Daughtry, amongst others.

MF: I know, man. Every year I think “who is it going to be this time”? (laughs) I've worked with so many of them. There were a couple of songs I wrote for Lee Dewyze that didn't make his current album.

MS: That's too bad.

MF: Well, I'm actually kind of glad now. The album isn't doing much, and the songs are still great. Maybe they will be recorded by somebody else.

MS: Hopefully someone with a higher profile. (laughs)

MF: Who knows, I hope they get accepted, or maybe... I don't know.

MS: It's interesting you have only worked with one of the two successful "American Idol" winners, Carrie Underwood. You have also worked with two successful "AI" alums who didn't win, James Durbin and Chris Daughtry. Unless you are Carrie or Kelly Clarkson, it seems you are better off not winning if you want to become a music biz success.

MF: That pretty much where it stands right now but, who knows, let's wait and see what happens with Phillip Phillips.

MS: We'll see. You have a couple of singles out right now that you did with Aerosmith as well, "What Could Have Been Love” and “Love Her A Lot”.

MF: Yep!

MS: So what's with the word "love," you seem to use it a lot. (laughs)

MF: I don't know, no kidding. What's funny is, “What Could Have Been Love” was written seven years ago and “Love Her A Lot” was written a year ago, and they both ended up on the same album. That's one of the wonderful things about songwriting, you can write with Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) one day and The Backstreet Boys the next.

MS: Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?

MF: I kind of peaced out in Nashville, TN for the last year, and everyday out there songwriters grab a guitar and hook with someone else and they write, five days a week. That's something I really can't do, I really enjoy doing demos by myself. (laughs) So I've been getting away from actually trying to come up with a song and just trying to come up with the sound. This keeps it refreshing and fresh for me instead of just sitting and writing songs everyday. I don't know, man, that sounds like a burn out.

MS: A friend of mine went to Nashville to write a few years back.

MF: It's a great place to go and write, I admit, you can hook up with anybody there and write a song. That's the reason people do it, I guess.

MS: You are a musician in your own right. You've played drums, guitar, keyboard and what else?

MF: Since I do all my own demos I take on every instrument. I even do vocals.

MS: Do you prefer songwriting and producing or being artist?

MF: Songwriting and producing, it's more all over the place. Being an artist you have to kind of focus on the one sound and dream, ya know.

MS: Ok, Marti, if you were an instrument, which instrument would you want to be?

MF: Drums, man. That was always my thing. If it wasn't for drums I don't think I would be writing songs.

Sing, sing a song with Marti at www.martifrederiksen.com.

Michael Shinafelt
Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.
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