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Interview: How Hayley Williams Hooked Up With Zedd For ‘Stay the Night’

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Shannon Carlin
Shannon Carlin Shannon is an associate music producer for Radio.com....
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(Jeremy D. Larson/Radio.com)

(Jeremy D. Larson/Radio.com)

“It just felt like a song I was supposed to sing,” Hayley Williams said of “Stay The Night,” her new track with Zedd.

Calling from a hotel room in Berlin where her band Paramore is currently on tour, Williams told Radio.com earlier today (September 12) that the song came out of the blue for her. “We were in the middle of touring,” she said about the email she got from Zedd asking if she wanted to sing on his song. “So it was a really random sort of thing.”

From the moment Williams heard it she knew she loved it, but she also wanted to make sure she was the right person to sing it. Williams hopped on the phone with Zedd (aka Anton Zaslavski) to discuss the vibe of the song, which is a bit sexier than anything we’ve heard her do with her own band. Williams said she wanted to make sure she did the track justice.

“I think honestly, I was just nervous, you know?” Williams admitted. “But once I was in the studio, I think the process of singing it over and over and over again and starting to feel that it was in my blood, I felt great about it.”

With the two unable to hit the studio together, Williams also wanted to make sure it didn’t end up sounding disjointed, as if she just added her vocals over an already existing beat. To make herself more comfortable with the song, Williams wrote the lyrics, finishing them the day before she recorded.

“I was actually getting into the shower and it just happened,” Williams explained. “The words just came to me and I got out immediately and wrote everything down.”

Within five days of receiving the offer to appear on the song, Williams was in a Paris studio laying down her vocals. “We took a cab to this random studio someone from our label found,” she explained. “We showed up and [the studio] had everything ready: the track up, hot tea and all that stuff.”

Right after she finished, she jumped in a cab with her bandmates and headed off to the Stade de France where they were playing a show with Muse. “It was a really bizarre thing for me,” she said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it, but it was so much fun.”

Related: Radio.com Essentials: Paramore Grows Up

Though her and Zedd make much different kinds of music, the singer said she felt a kinship with the DJ.

“He’s extremely musical and it’s so nice listening to his tracks,” Williams said. “I mean he’s a DJ and there’s a lot of DJs right now getting a lot of exposure, but I could really tell the first time I heard his track ‘Clarity’ there’s so much depth to him and there’s such, I don’t know, the tonalities that he picks out feel like something that’s in tune with my heart, you know what I’m saying?…Those sounds that you hear and you feel like you always knew them.”

Williams said she felt that same familiarity when she listened to “Stay The Night.”

“It just sounds like something that’s always been there in my bloodstream and in my heartbeat,” she explained. “So when I was singing it, it was really easy to put myself there.”

Williams hopes that her and Zedd will actually meet in person one day soon to perform the song. As for the DJ performing with her band Paramore, she says her bandmates–bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York–aren’t opposed to the idea.

“When I played Taylor and Jeremy ‘Stay The Night’ they were like, ‘You have to do this! You have to do this song!’” she said. “It was nice to have that support from my friends.”

“Stay The Night” is featured on the deluxe edition of the Zedd’s debut album Clarity, out September 24.

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