AS WELL AS WORKING WITH ONE DIRECTION AND CHARLIE PUTH AROUND THAT TIME, YOU WROTE WITH MADONNA FOR 2015’S REBEL HEART. HAD YOUR PATHS CROSSED WHEN YOU WERE SIGNED TO MAVERICK?

I don’t think she even knew me. Guy Oseary was her manager, and ran the label. So I knew Guy.

I didn’t even bring it up to her when I saw her again, like, ‘Hey, I was signed to your label!’ I just kind of let it go. But I had met her once, yes.

Part of me, when she wanted to work with me, was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know, I’ve already had that chapter in my life, you know, the Madonna chapter…’ But then my manager’s like, ‘You know what, it’s amazing; go work with her.’ So I did – and two days turned into a month.

“SHE’S SO SMART AND SO HARDWORKING, AND SHE’S CHALLENGING IN WAYS THAT I HADN’T BEEN CHALLENGED BEFORE.”

[The experience] was amazing. She’s the one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. She’s so smart and so hardworking, and she’s challenging in ways that I hadn’t been challenged before, in good ways.

I don’t know, I felt like being around a woman that strong made me feel stronger. But then she has this really soft side, once you get to know her, and once she kind of trusts you and sees you, the real you, then it’s beautiful. It kind of changed my life.

Read the full interview at Music Business Worldwide