Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars Are Blind’ at Age 15: BlackBerrys, Mythical Love and Promising Young Woman

Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars Are Blind’ at Age 15: BlackBerrys, Mythical Love and Promising Young Woman

By Carson Mlnarik

To understand the impact of Paris Hilton’s debut pop single “Stars Are Blind” – a top 20 hit that recently made the soundtrack Promising young woman‘s beloved romcom montage – you need to rewind to the summer of 2006. A charcoal-haired crooner named Taylor Hicks just won american idol, the clubs sweated to a Soft Cell sample in Rihanna’s “SOS,” and no one knew how to use this merry new social media site called Twitter. So when Hilton, then best known as a socialite and reality TV star, dropped her first song, it was the reggae pop shot that was heard all over the world.

The track, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this month, still holds a special place in Hilton’s heart. “It’s been such a big part of my life, and I’m so proud [of] how timeless it is,” she told MTV News in an email. “When people come up to me and say what an iconic song it is, it makes me incredibly happy.” Her musical foray could not have come to a more pivotal point in her career; after the release of her first book Confessions of an heiress, starring in slasher flick house of wax, ushering in a new era of star-powered reality TV with The simple life, she had already built the blueprint for what would become her fempire.

Still, as producer Fernando Garibay, who co-wrote and produced “Stars Are Blind,” told MTV News, there was a lot the world didn’t understand about Hilton at first. “This is a woman who was very misunderstood by the public at that time, a time when there wasn’t as much transparency in an artist’s life as there is now,” he said, adding that “people only saw what they saw on TV. .” Therefore, the mission of Hilton’s first record was to create a whole of music that resonated “with who she really is”.

The pressure was on to pick Hilton’s debut single with a number of tracks on the air, including the hard-fought album “Screwed,” which leaked in 2004, but they hadn’t found anything explosive yet. This is how Garibay, who at the time worked with artists such as Enrique Iglesias and Pussycat Dolls, came into contact with the Paris label. He had originally worked on a gritty reggae-inspired track with Gwen Stefani in mind until she shelved her project to focus on her pregnancy. While the demo wasn’t fully fleshed out, Garibay recalled playing the song for Hilton’s “super Hollywood” A&R director at the end of a pitch meeting. “He said, ‘This is perfect, if you finish this,’ he tells me, ‘This is her first single,'” said Garibay. “I’m like, ‘Those are big words.'”

Hilton recalled falling “instantly” in love with the song when she first heard it. “I knew right away it was going to be a big hit,” she says. The race started to finish the single and Paris showed up every day to work on the track, a process Garibay said “took three months to get right”. Hordes of paparazzi followed her to a modest Hollywood studio behind a McDonald’s where he was working at the time. Dealing with the daddy was second nature to Hilton, who the producer remembered as being so “talented, eager to learn and intelligent” in the booth. While creating the melody and lyrics, she said “I like that,” “I’m not really,” and yes, her signature catchphrase, “That’s hot.”

From its island-infused instrumentation to its mythical lyrics, “Stars Are Blind” is inexplicably an escapist anthem. The songwriters wanted to capture the “epic and extraordinary” feelings of romance, so they looked to the sky. “If you look at Greek mythology… Zeus and the decision makers of the world would create heaven and their version of it,” Garibay explained, comparing it to “the story we tell ourselves when we fall in love. All the other stops and you are in the middle of it.” While the themes were universal, the verses were also refined to reflect Hilton’s ‘essence’, as well as the discrepancy between how the media portrayed her and who she really was. “We wrote it to her and as an ode to a ​distil some of the misinterpreted tastelessness that may have been seen by the public,” he said.

What struck the producer most during the recording process was Hilton’s dedicated work ethic. Part of the reason for the laborious production was their refusal to use the studio tool du jour, Auto-Tune. “I had her” [sing] it over and over, and she mercifully laughed at me and did,” he said with a laugh. “That’s how we made it sound so natural and so real.” In between takes, the producer recalled the clicks of the BlackBerry from Paris – so 2006 – and frequent changes of clothes as she prepared for the day’s performances. “It was like watching a real-time documentary,” Garibay said; it was “a typical example” of what an entrepreneur in the entertainment world looked like.

Although she has now solidified her status as a businesswoman and has since gotten her story under control with a recent documentary This is ParisHilton’s music career was one of the heiress’ first opportunities to write her own story outside of the tabloids. She recently talked about playing a ‘character’ on The simple life and pointed out that an oft-memed photo of her was Photoshopped into a “Stop Being Poor” top. (It actually said “Stop Being Desperate.”) “Stars Are Blind” gave her space to share more vulnerable parts of herself, including a plea for something authentic in the chorus: “If you show me real love, baby, I ‘ I’ll show you mine.” In 2018, Netflix’s The American Meme recognized her as the world’s first social influencer. But Garibay said Hilton’s 2006 celebrity status found her “paying” [the] prize” for “doing something new,” and her brand of being famous for being famous was largely misinterpreted at the time. “There’s an aspect of society that doesn’t quite understand it and then diminishes a little bit of that success through a lack of understanding of what it’s like to have a business like that [and a] such a brand,” he said.

For the music video, Hilton teamed up with director Chris Applebaum who helmed her legendary 2005 Carl’s Jr. commercial – the one in which she empties a car in one piece while munching on a huge hamburger. The visual tells the story of a romantic rendezvous with her photographer (played by Lucas Babin, model turned actor and prosecutor) that ends with Paris driving away in his car. “We had so much fun shooting on the beach in Malibu,” said Hilton. “It was such a beautiful day. The only stressful thing was that there were swarms of paparazzi taking pictures everywhere and I wanted the video to be a surprise.”

The track was inescapable on radio throughout the summer of 2006, peaking at number 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and appears on Hilton’s debut album Paris, which fell in August. “When I made my first album, I was so excited because I loved to sing since I was a kid,” Hilton recalls. “It was so much fun working with such an eclectic group of producers. It was the perfect pop album.” Since then, she’s released a handful of songs, such as 2013’s “Good Time” with Lil Wayne, but has focused her attention largely on her DJ career, at festivals like Tomorrowland and Summerfest, and is reportedly one of the highest paid women in the game. become.

The tacky and clever chorus probably won’t be hard to remember for anyone who lived through the summer of “Stars Are Blind,” and while Garibay “knew that [the song] was special,” he admitted that he had no idea he’d be talking about it 15 years later. It even experienced a cultural revival after its placement in Emerald Fennell’s Promising young woman, which won Best Original Screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards.

“Stars” underscores the moment Cassie (Carey Mulligan) falls in love with Ryan (Bo Burnham) during a spontaneous drugstore singalong, representing an unexpectedly upbeat tone break in the thriller’s otherwise intense pace. Fennell told Weekly entertainment that she wrote the song in the script before getting permission from Paris because, besides being one of her favorites, it was the kind of song that “if a guy you liked knew every word, you’d be incredibly impressed.” and you would know he had good taste.” Hilton gave the filmmaker her blessing, saying she was “so proud” of Fennell and the “really important message” of the film. “So many people called me after they saw it and everyone loved seeing the song in it.” , she said.

Following the success of “Stars Are Blind”, Garibay went on to produce tracks for artists such as Nicki Minaj, Shakira and Tiffany Young, as well as Lady Gaga’s huge Born this way album. Mother Monster herself is even a noted fan of the song, and Paris recalled she “will never forget when Lady Gaga said it was one of the best records ever.” While Garibay helped shape a number of hits, his work with Hilton still stands out from the crowd. “There’s always drama in making great records. It’s part of the process,” he says. “But it was just a good time with her.” While he was unable to play more songs on Hilton’s debut LP due to timing, the duo can quickly make up for lost time. “We were actually planning on going back into the studio soon and I can’t wait to make more music with him,” Hilton revealed. “He’s a musical genius.”

“Stars Are Blind” will always represent a timeless moment for Hilton, Garibay and fans: When life was simpler, summer was inevitable and love was of legendary proportions. To this day, Hilton still ends her DJ sets with a performance of the track. “The song has been such a big part of my life and career,” she said. “I love seeing how the song touches people all over the world and all the years later so many new generations find it and fall in love with it.”


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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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