“Hold Me Closer” producer recalls Elton John’s instructions to him: “Dude, it’s not that serious”

Elton John and Britney Spears‘ collaboration “Hold Me Closer” — a remix that combines his classic song “Tiny Dancer” and his 1992 hit “The One” — returned Britney to the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 for the first time since 2012. The song’s producer, Andrew Watt, says Elton knew right away how much everyone would love it.

“Besides being one of the greatest artists, songwriters, musicians of all time, Elton’s got his finger on the pulse of people, and [a] connection to people, and his fans, and the people that listen to his music,” Watt tells ABC Audio. “The way it was received is exactly how he said it would be received, which people [aren’t] always able to do. That’s a skill in itself!”

But Watt says before he could start working on the track, he had to get over his fear of messing around with one of Elton’s most iconic tunes.

“I was kind of really timid about it because I didn’t want to touch a song as classic as ”Tiny Dancer,"” Watt admits. “And he said, ‘Dude, it’s not that serious. ‘Tiny Dancer’ is what I’m going to play in every set I play for the rest of my life. This is a fun summer remix of the song that you’re supposed party to and have a good time to.”

Once Elton made it clear to Watt that “Hold Me Closer” was simply “a fun version” of “Tiny Dancer,” and “a celebration of the song,” he says, “We didn’t take it so seriously. And that’s how song sounds, and that is what the intention was…and that’s how it was received.”

“It was absolute honor to do, but I think it’s just a fun version that goes along with the song,” he points out. “It doesn’t replace it.”

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