Sam Smith and Demi Lovato’s grand new love manifestation anthem, “I’m Ready,” is finally here to brighten up our socially isolated days. Their new collaboration was recently described as “musical theater” by Smith because of its huge, over-the-top sound — and according to songwriter Savan Kotecha, that was exactly the point.
“We wanted to make something very dark that got bright and soulful, with aspects of gospel that also still has a bite,” Kotecha told MTV News over the phone from Sweden. “It’s very dynamic — very big and dope.”
Apart from Smith and Lovato, Kotecha is one of three credited co-writers on the track, along with guitarist Peter Svensson of Swedish rock band The Cardigans and producer Ilya Salmanzdeh, who recently helped pen Beyonce’s The Lion King: The Gift track “Spirit.” Kotecha, a songwriting veteran, has definitely written on a few of your favorite pop records; his fingerprints are on Ariana Grande's “God Is a Woman,” Katy Perry's “Rise,” The Weeknd's “Can’t Feel My Face,” and dozens more.
Over the course of his lengthy career, Kotecha has also snagged multiple BMI and ASCAP awards, not to mention 17 Grammy nominations. His history helped “I’m Ready” come together in the way it did, a stan story of Olympic-sized proportions. It all started with Kotecha’s long working relationship with Lovato; after they penned her 2014 song “Really Don’t Care,” the two paired up for five more songs in her repertoire, becoming good friends in the process.
Meanwhile, Kotecha also worked with Smith. “The first day that we met was when we recorded 'How Do You Sleep?,'” he said. “We created this great bond and friendship.” Sometime later, Kotecha was in a studio in Sweden with Smith, Ilya, and others, having a conversation about some of their favorite artists. Lovato’s name came up.
“I said how big of a fan that I am of Demi’s voice, and they said ‘Oh my god, I love her.’ I texted her because I knew that she was already a big fan of Sam, and she immediately agreed to do a song,” Kotecha says. “Months later, we were in Los Angeles together at a studio and got it done. It took a few days to get written and perfected, along with some weeks on the production side, but it was just really organic and out of two artists being fans.”
While recording “I’m Ready,” the booth was full of smiles, laughs, and good energy. “They got along so well,” Kotecha says. “They clearly had so much respect and love for each other.” He had a bit of a fanboy moment when he realized the scope of what was happening. “We were sitting there, and I was pinching myself because you rarely ever get two such great talents in a room together.”
You can hear all manner of high fives, chest bumps, and tight hugs on “I’m Ready,” just through the chemistry that manifests through the celebratory air. As their voices swell and soar with each other, you’re reminded of what the song is saying: The time for affection is now. Kotecha underscores this with more agency: “‘I’m Ready’ is about being open and living in a space where you want to be loved and accept love itself.”