At the stroke of midnight, Gwen Stefani made her official return as a solo artist with her first single in six years, “Baby Don’t Lie.”
The No Doubt singer stopped by On Air with Ryan Seacrest bright and early on Monday morning to give us all the details on her hot new track, as well as what we can expect from her upcoming third album.
“Honestly, I couldn’t even sleep last night,” Gwen says of the excitement of her new release. “I had to pray myself to sleep last night. I just feel so anxious. Like I said, everything just happened so quickly. Not planning at all. It’s been an incredible journey though. It’s kind of reflective of the times in a sense that everything is so spontaneous now. If I wanted to, I could go record a song in my house and put it out the next day. So it felt good to not over-think and just be like, ‘This is coming my way, I’m just gonna go for it.’ I always wanted to work with Ryan Tedder form OneRepublic. The guy is so talented. And I feel like the more I’m alive an the more talented people I can be around and work with, those are the great things that come out of being open. It was the first song we finished.”
As for her comeback single, the mom of three sons and wife to Bush singer Gavin Rossdale insists the lyrics for “Baby Don’t Lie” are not entirely autobiographical. “You know, parts of it are and parts of it are pulling from the past,” Gwen reveals. “These things are obviously always a subject in my songs. Things are all really good with me and Gavin if everyone’s wondering. He’s awesome. He’s got a great new song called, ‘The Only Way Out Is Through,’ which is also … if you want to read into that one, go ahead,” she adds with a laugh.
“Baby Don’t Lie” is the lead single off Gwen’s upcoming third solo album, her first since 2006’s The Sweet Escape. And in addition to Tedder, she’s also working with Pharrell Williams, who lent his talents to “Hollaback Girl,” off 2004’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby and five tracks on The Sweet Escape.
“I feel like this whole thing is not about singles, its about the whole project,” Gwen says of her album. In fact, while on The Voice set, Pharrell came by her trailer while she was in hair and makeup with a beat for a song.
“And he goes, ‘Dude, oh my God. I got it!’ And he had this beat and he had to play it for me, but they were like, ‘No, you got to go on the show.’ And he was like, ‘No, I gotta do it now,’ and his whole team is freaking out … And he plays me this thing and he starts singing, just in the air, and everybody in there was like, ‘Ok, there’s some magic going on right now.’ I just hugged him, I almost started crying. You could tell he hit on it.”
That night, after filming the NBC singing competition all day, the two headed to a recording studio at 11 p.m. to lay it down. “I videotaped us doing, it was so exciting,” Gwen describes. “[But] we didn’t finish it. We stayed up all night, had to be back on-set at 7 a.m. Then he was gone … I had to go find him, so when I was in New York for my fashion show, had a crazy week, and same thing again, met him in studio in the middle of night, tried to finish, still didn’t finish it.”
Finally, the two superstars met up in Miami and put the finishing touches on the track. “It’s just this really cool song called ‘Spark the Fire.’ It literally is the song that explains everything that’s going on in my life right now in this surreal way.”
While in the studio, Gwen also gave a special shout-out to her kids. “Kingston James, what’s up? Its Mom! I just want to say I hope you’re having a fun drive to school right now. Zuma Nesta, what’s up? And Apollo … He’s here with us. Zuma, I love you! Hi Gavin! Hi Mom, hi Dad!”
Gwen also talked about joining NBC’s The Voice as a judge this season, alongside Pharrell, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton.
Even though she’s worked with the “Happy” singer on countless songs over the past decade, joining the singing competition with him still gave her butterflies. “I was anxious because I’m actually a superfan of him … I get butterflies around him. I love him. He’s so talented and he has such a magical thing about him.”
Gwen also says the Maroon 5 frontman and Voice vet emailed her before she officially signed on to show to offer his advice. “Somebody gave him my email and [he] said, ‘I heard you might do the show. You’ve got to do, it’s so fun! I’ll help you with anything you want. I’ll tell you what it’s like. I’ll tell you the truth.'”
Listen to the audio above to hear Ryan quizzing Gwen on her knowledge of her hometown Orange County, as well as details on a new No Doubt song, “Shine” … which Pharrell also worked on!
Download “Baby Don’t Lie” off Gwen’s upcoming third solo album on iTunes now here!