"Paint The Town Red" : How These Producers Crafted a Hit

"Paint The Town Red" : How These Producers Crafted a Hit

A chance encounter leads producers to craft Doja Cat's Grammy-nominated hit "Paint The Town Red." Read about their journey, from the initial meeting to the song's chart success.

Written by Brian Balisi 

From Empty Bar to Billboard #1: How 4 Producers Linked Up with Doja Cat

Four Billboard charting producer friends walk into an empty bar at the annual Friends "N" Family Pre-Grammy Party in February of 2023 and spot Grammy Award winning artist Doja Cat. They collaborate to figure out a way to introduce themselves to Doja Cat, but it fails successfully as they ultimately link up with Doja Cat's manager. What resulted from that fateful meetup came full circle on 11/10/2023, when Doja Cat's "Paint The Town Red'' received a nomination at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Pop Solo Performance.

“The way it all happened, it was weird, it was like one of those VH1 Behind the Music stories,” according to Ryan Buendia, (one of the four producer friends to walk into that bar that night) who is all too familiar with chance opportunities and success, with production credits and collaborations ranging from Chris Brown, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, John Legend, Dr. Dre, Lil Yachty, DJ Mustard, Travis Scott and The Black Eyed Peas, “You can’t predict how everything will play out and sometimes it just be like that.”


A Chance Encounter with the Manager

Doja Cat's "Paint the town Red", released on August 4, 2023 via Kemosabe Records / RCA Records, as the second single from the Doja Cat’s fifth studio Album Scarlet. In only five weeks “Paint the Town Red'' surged to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart released on September 16, 2023.

From that night in the bar, at the “Annual Friends “N” Family Grammy Party”, Buendia recalled that he along with, Earl on the Beat, Karl Rubin, and Jean-Baptiste entered the venue, and mingled with hundreds of other peers in the music industry, from writers to producers until by chance they ended up at an empty bar area. As they were chillin’ they spotted Doja Cat. They immediately knew they had to figure out how to make a connection.

“Jean is charismatic and he’s like the mastermind. We knew we had to do something, but we didn’t want to interrupt her. We had to be politically correct and play it the right way,” Buendia said. “Jean eyeballed the room and ultimately linked up with her manager and introduced himself, mentioned they wanted to collaborate, then connected him to Earl. The manager told Jean to send him some ‘a pack’.”


Dionne Warwick to Doja Cat: Crafting the Hit Song

The next day, Ryan, Karl and Jean-Baptiste linked up at Earl’s studio. Earl already had a sample from Dionne Warrick’s “Walk on By” looped up.

“When Earl pressed play and we heard that sample, we already knew it was going to be something dope,” Buendia said.

They each took their laptops out and began working with the track, which resulted in each supplying their own contribution to the production. They worked on approximately five tracks that day. They then sent all the tracks to Doja Cat’s manager and waited.

“The submitting process is crazy, every placement is exciting because there are so many different stages to making a great song,” Buendia said. “From producing the beat, sending out the production, hoping the artist ‘bites’ onto one of the beats, to the writing process. You know you have a good chance when the artist records it, but you just never know until you get the label telling you that it’s official.”

Patience was key, as Buendia acknowledges the unpredictable nature of the music industry. He relocated to Los Angeles from the Bay Area with an “All or Nothing” approach, but it turned out to be nothing like he pictured.


The Journey of a Hit Song: From Studio to Billboard

“I didn’t have anything going on when I moved to LA. I knew I needed to do something. At that time I had a weekly DJ gig at a bar in Hollywood, Buendia said, “ Along the way there were many times I felt like quitting and moving back home to the Bay. There were a lot of people giving me their perceptions and ideas, but I believed in myself. Music was something I couldn’t live without. I eventually began working as an intern in various studios, which resulted in meeting a few mentors who have inspired me along the way.”

Buendia’s proven track record of success with previous placements is a testament to his skills and experience in the music industry.

“Every placement brings back good memories, especially the first time I got placement with The Black Eyed Peas (“Showdown” off the album The E.N.D. released in 2009). I was in a different

place in life at that time. This time around I felt like I really needed something,” Buendia said.

After sending in the beat pack in February, it wasn’t until a few months later when they received the word to put the “Walk on By” beat on “hold” . Buendia recalled hearing Doja Cat spit the renowned hook on the track for the first time : “Bitch I said what I said…”

“ I knew immediately it was gonna be a hit” Buendia said, “I mean you really never know, buteverything about it sounded so good, like it was already on the radio.”


Matadorr Sound: Passion, Patience, & Perseverance

After officially releasing on Aug 4, “Paint the Town Red” soared to # 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, on September 16. Buendia can’t recall what he was doing that day, but he remembers the feeling.

“I was with my family and it was crazy to see my name on the Billboard producer charts, itdoesn’t get any higher than that,” Buendia said. “You never really know how good it’s gonna do, it felt like a dream and all the hard work paid off. It’s really gratifying to share this with my family because they’ve seen all the years I’ve been grinding.”

Buendia doesn’t personally track the stats on “Paint the Town Red” , but family and friends take it upon themselves to remind him of the latest chart position, glowing review or award nomination.

“Back in the day, when a song I collabed on would come out I would be very immersed in that song. ” Buendia said. “I may have taken that time for granted, but this time around I feel more humble and present. The good thing about having a successful song like this, is that people start opening the doors for you and the industry starts trusting you again.”

These days, for Buendia it’s all about going for more. The success of “Paint the Town Red” reinforced the power of perseverance and the importance of surrounding oneself with like minded individuals who share the same passion for music.

“In this industry you have to have a lot of faith and a strong support system. I’m thankful for the people I get to work with. This industry is also instantaneous so I know one day it could all disappear,” Buendia said. “But If you really love it and it’s something you can’t live without, then it is definitely your purpose. So just keep going.”


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