By Carson Mlnarik
To perceive the impression of Paris Hilton’s debut pop single “Stars Are Blind” — a top-20 hit that lately soundtracked Promising Young Woman’s beloved rom-com montage — you must rewind to the summer season of 2006. A charcoal-haired crooner named Taylor Hicks simply received American Idol, the golf equipment have been sweating to a Soft Cell pattern in Rihanna’s “SOS,” and nobody knew the way to use this chirpy new social-media website referred to as Twitter. So when Hilton, then recognized primarily as a socialite and reality-TV star, dropped her first music, it was the reggae-pop shot heard ’around the world.
The monitor, which celebrates its fifteenth anniversary this month, nonetheless holds a particular place in Hilton’s coronary heart. “It has been such a huge part of my life, and I am so proud [of] how timeless it is,” she instructed MTV News in an e mail. “When people come up to me and say what an iconic song it is, it makes me incredibly happy.” Her musical foray couldn’t have arrived at a extra pivotal level in her profession; after releasing her first e book Confessions of an Heiress, starring in slasher flick House of Wax, and ushering in a brand new period of star-powered actuality TV with The Simple Life, she had already constructed the blueprint for what would develop into her fempire.
Still, as producer Fernando Garibay, who co-wrote and produced “Stars Are Blind,” instructed MTV News, there was quite a bit that the world didn’t perceive about Hilton within the early aughts. “This is a woman who was very misunderstood by the public at that time, a time when there wasn’t as much transparency into an artist’s life as there is now,” he stated, including that “people only saw what they saw on TV.” Therefore, the mission operative for Hilton’s first document was to create a physique of music that resonated “with who she really is.”
The strain was on to decide on Hilton’s debut single with numerous tracks up within the air, together with fought-after album minimize “Screwed,” which leaked in 2004, however that they had but to seek out something explosive. That’s how Garibay, who was working with artists like Enrique Iglesias and Pussycat Dolls on the time, acquired involved with Paris’s label. He had initially been engaged on a tough, reggae-inspired monitor with Gwen Stefani in thoughts till she shelved her venture to give attention to her being pregnant. Although the demo wasn’t absolutely fleshed out, Garibay recalled taking part in the music for Hilton’s “super Hollywood” A&R exec on the finish of a pitch assembly. “He was like, ‘This is perfect, if you finish this,’ he tells me, ‘This is her first single,’” Garibay stated. “I’m like, ‘Those are big words.’”
Hilton recalled “immediately” falling in love with the music the primary time she heard it. “I knew right away it would be a huge hit,” she stated. The race started to complete the one, and Paris confirmed up daily to work on the monitor, a course of Garibay stated took “three months to get right.” Hordes of paparazzi adopted her to a humble studio in Hollywood behind a McDonald’s the place he labored on the time. Dealing with the paps was second nature for Hilton, whom the producer remembered as being so “talented and inquisitive and intelligent” within the sales space. While crafting the melody and lyrics, she’d chime in with “I like that,” “That’s not really me,” and sure, her signature catchphrase, “That’s hot.”
From its island-infused instrumentation to its mythic lyrics, “Stars Are Blind” is inexplicably an escapist anthem. The songwriters needed to seize the “epic and extraordinary” emotions of romance, in order that they seemed to the sky. “When you look at Greek mythology … Zeus and the deciders of the world would create the heavens and their version of it,” Garibay defined, evaluating it to “the story we tell ourselves when we fall in love. Everything else stops and you’re in the center of it.” Though its themes have been common, its verses have been additionally fine-tuned to replicate Hilton’s “essence,” in addition to the disconnect between how the media portrayed her and who she actually was. “We wrote it to her and as an ode to distill a bit of the misinterpreted vapidness that might’ve been seen by the public,” he stated.
What struck the producer most throughout the recording course of was Hilton’s devoted work ethic. Part of the rationale for the arduous manufacturing was their refusal to make use of the studio device du jour, Auto-Tune. “I had her [sing] it over and over and over, and she graciously humored me and did that,” he stated with fun. “That’s how we got it to sound so natural and so genuine.” In between takes, the producer recalled the sound of clicks from Paris’s BlackBerry – so 2006 – and frequent wardrobe adjustments as she ready for the day’s appearances. “It was like watching a real-time documentary,” Garibay stated; it was “a quintessential example” of what an entrepreneur within the leisure sphere seemed like.
Though she’s now solidified her standing as a businesswoman and has since taken management of her story with current documentary This Is Paris, Hilton’s music profession was one of many heiress’s first alternatives to put in writing her personal narrative exterior of the tabloids. She’s lately spoken about taking part in a “character” on The Simple Life and pointed out that an oft-memed pic of her in a “Stop Being Poor” high was photoshopped. (It truly learn “Stop Being Desperate.”) “Stars Are Blind” allowed her the area to share extra susceptible elements of herself, together with a plea for one thing genuine on the refrain: “If you show me real love, baby, I’ll show you mine.” In 2018, Netflix’s The American Meme acknowledged her because the world’s first social influencer. But Garibay stated that in 2006, Hilton’s movie star standing discovered her “paying [the] price” for “doing something new,” and her model of being well-known for being well-known was largely misconstrued on the time. “There’s this aspect of society which doesn’t quite understand and then diminishes a bit of that success due to lack of understanding of what it is to have a business like that [and a] brand like that,” he stated.
For the music video, Hilton teamed up with director Chris Applebaum who helmed her legendary 2005 Carl’s Jr. commercial — the one the place she hosed down a automotive in a one-piece whereas chomping down on a large burger. The visible recounts a romantic rendezvous together with her photographer (performed by model-turned-actor-turned-district lawyer Lucas Babin) that ends with Paris dashing away in his automotive. “We had so much fun shooting on the beach in Malibu,” Hilton stated. “It was such a beautiful day. The only stressful part was there were swarms of paparazzi everywhere taking photos and I wanted the video to be a surprise.”
The monitor was inescapable on the radio all through the summer season of 2006, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and showing on Hilton’s debut document Paris, which dropped that August. “Back when I did my first album, I was so excited because I have always loved singing since I was a little,” Hilton recalled. “It was so much fun to work on it with such an eclectic group of producers. It was the perfect pop album.” She’s since launched a handful of tracks like 2013’s “Good Time” that includes Lil Wayne, however has largely targeted her consideration on her DJing profession, taking part in festivals like Tomorrowland and Summerfest and reportedly turning into one of many highest-paid women within the recreation.
Its sticky and good refrain is probably going not exhausting to recall for anybody who lived by the summer season of “Stars Are Blind,” and although Garibay “knew [the song] was special,” he admitted he had no concept that he’d be speaking about it 15 years later. It even skilled a cultural resurgence after its placement in Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman, which took dwelling Best Original Screenplay at this 12 months’s Academy Awards.
“Stars” underscores the second Cassie (Carey Mulligan) begins to fall for Ryan (Bo Burnham) throughout a spontaneous drugstore singalong, representing an unexpectedly joyous tonal break within the in any other case intense thriller’s tempo. Fennell instructed Entertainment Weekly that she wrote the monitor into the script earlier than getting Paris’s permission as a result of, apart from being certainly one of her favorites, it was the kind of music that “if a boy that you liked knew every word to, you’d be incredibly impressed, and you’d know he had good taste.” Hilton gave the filmmaker her blessing and stated she was “so proud” of Fennell and the movie’s “really important message.” “So many people called me after watching it and everyone loved seeing the song featured in it,” she stated.
After the success of “Stars Are Blind,” Garibay went on to provide tracks for artists like Nicki Minaj, Shakira, and Tiffany Young, in addition to Lady Gaga’s large Born This Way album. Mother Monster herself is even a noted fan of the music, and Paris recalled she “will never forget when Lady Gaga said it was one of the best records ever.” Though Garibay helped form numerous hits, his work with Hilton nonetheless stands out among the many relaxation. “There’s always drama with making great records. It’s part of the process,” he stated. “But with her, it was just a good time.” While he wasn’t capable of decide to extra tracks on Hilton’s debut LP as a consequence of timing, the duo could quickly make up for misplaced time. “We were actually planning to go back into the studio soon and I cannot wait to make more music with him,” Hilton revealed. “He is a musical genius.”
“Stars Are Blind” will at all times characterize a timeless second for Hilton, Garibay, and followers: when life was less complicated, summer season was inescapable, and love was of legendary proportions. To this present day, Hilton nonetheless ends her DJ sets with a efficiency of the monitor. “The song has been such a huge part of my life and career,” she stated. “I love seeing how the song touches people all over the world and all of the years later, so many new generations find it and fall in love with it.”