His manager Zach Katz ducks his head into the control booth. Bruce Carbone, executive vice president of A&R at Universal Music, is on the phone. He has an artist he wants Rotem to take a meeting with. Katz hits the speakerphone button and Carbone pops through the receiver. He’s singing “Beautiful Girls.”
A garbled conference call follows, and Rotem agrees to take the meeting. But after hanging up the phone he seems distracted. Almost forlorn. He says he’s thinking back to the tossed-off beat he created earlier. It was too easy, he says. Too by-the-numbers. “There was no creativity,” he explains, flogging himself. “I need to be more focused. More inspired. More . . .”
And then, outside the supposedly soundproof studio someone sneezes. It’s barely audible. Nothing, really. But Rotem can’t help himself, blurting out a reflexive “Bless you” mid-sentence to the faceless sneezer.
Relieved, Rotem returns to the conversation. Kind of.
“Now . . . where were we?”