Hitmaker Jack Antonoff on channeling grief through songwriting

In-demand singer, songwriter and producer Jack Antonoff has found fame while turning sorrow into music. But despite the hits he has written for a variety of artists, he tells Tracy Smith, in an interview for CBS' "Sunday Morning" (to be broadcast July 9), that he continues to doubt success.

Antonoff, currently the heart of the indie group Bleachers, wrote some of the biggest hits for his former group Fun (including the mega-hit "We Are Young"), and has produced major hits for Lorde ("Green Light"), Taylor Swift ("Sweeter Than Fiction"), and others.

Many (though not all) of his songs are rooted in grief stemming from the death of his younger sister to cancer. Indeed, one of the songs off his new album, "Gone Now," is titled "Everybody Lost Somebody":

Bleachers - Everybody Lost Somebody (Audio) by BleachersVEVO on YouTube

"Everybody has this sack they're carrying," Antonoff tells Smith. "Some are heavier. Some are lighter. But no one doesn't have it. And if you think someone doesn't have it, they have a bigger one than you imagine."

He tells Smith that he creates music he likes and lets the public decide whether it works or not. So far, listeners are tuning in to his work. Yet Antonoff still can't believe he's performing to sold-out shows.

"It's not easy because, even like right now, I have this feeling, like, 'Are they gonna come?'" Antonoff said, before heading on stage to a packed house at Webster Hall in New York City. "But it's sold out. And then I think to myself, 'What if there's this freak thing where half the audience has an emergency, and the room is thin?'"

That's not happening anytime soon -- which makes Antonoff the "go-to" guy for many of his A-list fellow performers hoping he'll share some of his magic.

Antonoff's long-time girlfriend, the actor, director and author Lena Dunham, told Smith, "A lot of women like to work with him because he's one of the few guys in the entertainment industry who comes in with no agenda, no sleaze. He's there just to make art, and I think people feel that and they feel safe with him. And so I'm very proud to be able to call someone like that my partner."

The Emmy Award-winning "CBS Sunday Morning," hosted by Jane Pauley, is broadcast on CBS Sundays beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET. Executive producer is Rand Morrison.

Be sure to follow the program on Twitter (@CBSSunday), Facebook, Instagram (#CBSSundayMorning) and at cbssundaymorning.com. "Sunday Morning" also streams on CBSN beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET, and is available on cbs.com, CBS All Access, and On Demand. You can also listen to "Sunday Morning" audio podcasts at Play.it.

      

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