“Shallow,” the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper hit that still sends shivers up my spine when I hear it, is at the top of everyone’s list for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards this year; it’s also up for four awards at Sunday’s Grammy Awards (Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media).
No one’s surprised -- “A Star Is Born” wormed its way into everyone’s hearts this past fall, giving us the acting mastery that is Lady Gaga and proving that Bradley Cooper is a director to be revered (even if he was snubbed). And in case anyone was still skeptical about the success of “A Star Is Born” and “Shallow,” consider the reaction when it was announced that Cooper and Gaga would be performing the song at the Oscars.
The song is raw, emotional and speaks to a relatable vulnerability, so there’s plenty of reason that it’s so popular. It didn’t just happen though; co-writer Anthony Rossomando shared with Boston.com how his deep, personal connections with Gaga and the rest of the writers for the track added something special -- not that they knew how it was going to blow up.
“It was a movie with a pretty small budget,” Rossomando said. “[Gaga’s] first time acting, [Cooper’s] first movie directing and some pretty serious subject matter. We didn’t know how big it would get.”
Rossomando, former member of the Boston-based band The Damn Personals, said he first met Lady Gaga when musician Mark Ronson, a friend he made while living in London, brought her over for a jam session just weeks after her first single (“Just Dance”) came out.
Ronson, who’ll be performing with Gaga at the Grammys and who most recently came out with “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” with Miley Cyrus, knew that the two would hit it off.
“Mark said, ‘You gotta meet this girl. I know you’ll get along. You’re both Italian. You’re from the tri-state area,’” Rossomando said. “She kept trying to snap me back in time because I was on drums. She was like, ‘Keep it in time, brown eyes!’ And I was like, ‘Who the hell is this woman drinking my whiskey and talking sh*t to me about my sh*tty drumming?’ I was blown away by her openness, her bundle of personality and her absolutely undeniable talent.”
Turns out, it was a destined match. The foursome credited on “Shallow” was completed by Andrew Wyatt, who Rossomondo and Ronson knew from Ronson’s single “Somebody to Love Me.” The group’s friendship, according to Rossomando, is what made the track so personal.
“There wasn’t a lot of over-intellectualization of the process. It was very primal, and immediate, and trusting. When you’re this close to people and you’re sitting in a circle a couple feet away from each other, you feel very safe,” he said.
And for Rossomando himself, he told Boston.com that “Shallow” marked a highlight in his life; he’d battled with his mental health and substance abuse in the past, and being sober for the production of “Shallow” was a bright spot. He credits these hardships for the organic emotion and complexity that is so prevalent in the song.
“Thank God I was recently sober when I got the call, because I might have missed it,” he said. “When [Gaga] is singing it in the parking lot, our jaws just dropped. We were trying not to show each other we were crying at the end, but it got us all.”
So, when you tune in to these awards shows over the next few weeks, know that great songs like “Shallow” aren’t just happy accidents.