2022 Producer of the Year Andrew Watt Became the Go-To Collaborator for Rock Legends

The superproducer is behind hits from Miley Cyrus, Ozzy Osbourne, and Post Malone

Andrew Watt Producer Of The Year
Andrew Watt, photo by Danny Clinch

    Our 2022 Annual Report continues with the announcement of Andrew Watt as our Producer of the Year. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.

    Though just 32 years old, Andrew Watt has the experience of a 60-year-old industry vet. He began playing guitar for Justin Bieber in 2015, and since then, he’s been at the helm of some of the biggest records in the pop and rock worlds. In addition to writing and producing standout Bieber cuts like 2021’s “Peaches,” Watt worked on multiple hit albums and singles from Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Camila Cabello, Lana Del Rey, Ozzy Osbourne, and many more. He also won a 2021 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.

    A notable guitar player who possesses an unmatched rolodex of high profile talent, Watt is best friends with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and is a member of Eddie Vedder’s band, The Earthlings. He made 2022 his biggest year yet producing all of Vedder’s Earthlings album, helming Ozzy Osbourne’s fall effort Patient Number 9, and lending a hand to Elton John’s collaboration with Britney Spears, “Hold Me Closer.”


    Not only that, Watt continued his pop music legacy by teaming up with regular collaborator Post Malone for “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” and extended his resume through work with The Kid LAROI and Ed Sheeran. Watt’s versatility between styles and impressive rise makes him a serious player in today’s genre-less landscape, and his work in 2022 alone is well deserving of our Producer of the Year.

    When he connects with Consequence over Zoom just days after Thanksgiving, Watt is already headed to the studio. “You give a lot of yourself, you give a lot of your life to do this… for instance, it’s a Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and I’m driving to the studio,” Watt says. “I can’t believe this is real life,” he adds, acknowledging the wonder and novelty of regularly working with his biggest heroes.


    He’s continuing his busy year by wrapping up work on Iggy Pop’s new album, Every Loser, which is due in January 2023. The project marks not just an exciting collaboration, but the first official release on Watt’s new label, Gold Tooth Records“It was this ‘luck of the draw’ thing,” Watt says of signing Iggy Pop, another one of his childhood heroes. “We were making this album with Iggy, and he didn’t have a label, he wasn’t signed, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we just do it on my label?’… It’s been great getting to design all the merch with him and help him with all this stuff. I’m having a blast.”

    Watt has also recently finished a new album with none other than Morrissey. Bonfire of Teenagers, which is due out in February of 2023, is the British songwriter’s fourteenth album, and his first with Watt behind the boards. “He’s a very, very, very special singer, one of the greatest singers of all time,” says Watt of working with Morrissey. “Everyone was firing on all cylinders… his vocals were done in one or two takes per song. It was an unbelievable experience for many different reasons.”

    Whether it’s working with ’80s legends or present-day pop royalty, a Watt production always has one thing in common: an apparent, undeniable adoration of music. His joy is teeming, his respect admirable, and his abilities top-notch. As Watt continues to build out Gold Tooth and nab successive high profile collaborations, the question becomes clear: Who else can do it but Andrew Watt?


    Below, Watt discusses his busy 2022, his thoughts on TikTok and the changing music industry, the music he grew up on, and what we can expect from one of the biggest producers in the business in 2023.

    Congrats on another big year, which included founding your own record label, Gold Tooth Records. Iggy Pop’s upcoming album Every Loser will be the first release on Gold Tooth. What was it like working with Iggy Pop, and what do you hope to achieve with Gold Tooth?

    I started Gold Tooth as a way for me to be able to work with artists do more than just produce. Because I really enjoy all the aspects of working with artists, helping the vision come to life, doing creative, and doing all that stuff, I enjoy it so much. I’m standing in my closet right now, you’ve never seen more band T-shirts in your entire life. Anyone ever, probably. So it’s something that I really, really love doing.

    And I have this label, and it was this “luck of the draw” thing. We were making this album with Iggy, and he didn’t have a label, he wasn’t signed, so we thought, “Why don’t we just do it on my label?” It doesn’t really cost much, and we just do it for the love of the music and to make it fun. It’s been great getting to design all the merch with him and help him with all this stuff. I’m having a blast.


    You’ve definitely gained experience working with more established artists like Iggy Pop and Eddie Vedder, but what’s your attitude around signing newer artists and emerging talent?

    That’s the reason the label was invented — to work with new artists and just have an outlet, have an option, like, “I can do this if I want to, it’s there.” Also, the team at Atlantic are unbelievable. It’s the same attitude as when I choose to work with an artist just to produce for, just someone that I’m so inspired by, and is inspired by me, and that we want to make records together.

    You’ve worked with so many big artists in the rock lane, and particularly with legacy rock acts like Ozzy Osbourne. Has your relationship to the genre of rock changed over the years?


    Honestly, nothing has changed for me. But I think I’m the bad example for that, because I’ve gotten to work with so many of my heroes, the people from the posters on my bedroom walls, and gotten to then make stuff with them. Like, that feels like I’m producing from the front row. And so my love for that music and the artists of that world, that hasn’t changed. It’s intact, big time.

    But I do separately believe that we are in a time of genre-less music. And an artist like Post Malone is probably the greatest example of that. He could do a song that breaks your heart, just on an acoustic guitar, and be totally Bob Dylan-ish. Or he could do a fucking heavy metal song with Ozzy Osbourne, or he can do “Sunflower” with Swae Lee and lead one of the biggest pop songs ever in radio history, he can do anything. And that’s because of the way he grew up, and the music that was put around him, the things that he loved and his influences, the internet, all that stuff.

    Go to a music festival today and you can see Calvin Harris, Post Malone, the Rolling Stones, and Jay-Z on the same stage, right? You don’t have to move as a concert viewer, you just sit right in your seat, and all those different acts are gonna come on the stage. That’s the way we are consuming music today. So because of that, we got a little bit of a different thing going on.


    You have many regular collaborators, and it’s a testament to the fact that the best music is made with friends. Do you feel that’s true?

    Yeah, I mean, that’s definitely true. One million percent true. And it really comes down to being able to surround yourself with the kinds of people that you want to create with, it’s not always the reason why you bond with a friend. But the best example I can give of that is Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he and I met over 10 years ago. And we’re just like, “Oh, you like this and I like this,” we had a lot in common, and the Chili Peppers are one of my top five favorite bands of all time. So his music is in my DNA, we liked all the same things, and when we started playing together, we instantly had a bond, it was born from how we played together.

    So he’s become probably my best friend, we were together constantly, we collaborate so often. And there’s such a love there, there’s a real love there. And then you can hear it in all the music we make together. So that’s a real thing, right? And that’s a long-term friend that’s in my life constantly. Then stuff happens, you work with people. And then they become your friends because of this incredibly intimate experience that you’re sharing. Every music listener has their own vision of what it must be like to create in the studio, right? And it’s not something that you can really explain. If you were able to, then it wouldn’t be this magical thing.


    But when you get with someone who, especially being an artist that has influenced you so much, and that you love so much, or new artists even, it doesn’t matter… you are sharing your emotions to find the lyric, to choose what is best for the song. It’s an emotional experience, and it’s very bonding. And then you’re laughing and cheering and jumping up and down when you have an amazing record, especially an amazing rock record. And it’s an incredibly bonding experience.

    What were some of the artists you grew up listening to? 

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, A Tribe Called Quest, Nirvana, Neil Young. That kind of stuff. I feel like I grew up being able to go into a record store and a CD store at that time and buy anything we want, even though we couldn’t afford everything we wanted. But it was all there. And the computer was a part of my childhood. I was a kid when Napster was starting to become a thing. I was in middle school, or whatever. I was probably the first generation that had any song I wanted at my fingertips for free. So the influences were far and wide.

    The music industry has changed a lot during and after the pandemic. What sort of shift or changes have you noticed?


    Well, we’re living in the TikTok age right now. But I’m starting to see it change a little bit. I think everyone is kind of like, “Oh, TikTok,” all artists are like, “Oh my God, I gotta promote my thing on TikTok.” It’s kind of like this universally set thing between artists and creators, and by the way, the platform is genius. It’s unbelievable. And it’s huge for a reason, right? It provides so much joy and laughter and a cool way for people to hear stuff. So I’m not knocking it. I’m just saying, what I’m hearing, as I’m listening to my contemporaries, and people talk, is everyone is fed up with the labels saying, “What’s the TikTok campaign? How are you promoting this on TikTok? Are you doing this on TikTok? Are you doing that?” It’s not fun for the creators of music.

    So, that being said, that usually signals to me that at some point, there’ll be a little bit of a shift. People are not enjoying that being the only way that music has gone up the charts, for one. Number two, when I look at TikTok now, I’m starting to see a lot more on it. Which is a good thing for TikTok, in terms of it being the way people are getting and choosing what music tops the charts. It’s another signal of a tide shifter to me, because it’s now becoming like Google. You can go on TikTok and get your world news, you get your dog videos, you can get your dance videos, you can get your music, you can get every single cooking video, every single thing. It’s like becoming this larger outlet. So, maybe there’ll be some other ways that people are gonna find their music because when you go there, it’s not just all about music and songs and audio.