Harley Pasternak’s client roster reads like the VIP list at Avalon. Just a few of the celebs he works with: Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Julianne Hough, Katy Perry, Common, Usher, and Frank Ocean. But it turns out A-listers favor him for more than just his tough workouts—Pasternak has a kick-ass playlist. In fact, he’s so into music that he was recruited to teach a boot camp at Coachella.
“When I owned my first gym in the mid-’90s, we had live DJs and they used to spin ‘Deep Inside‘ by Hardrive, and now it’s one of three samples on Kanye’s song, ‘Fade,'” Pasternak says. “And Drake has four songs in a row with ’90s hip-hop samples.”
“Kanye’s basically family, so he often tells me what to listen to. And same with Common, because he’s been coming to the studio so many years.”
Is Pasternak partially responsible for the resurgence of ’90s house and hip-hop in hit songs today? Hey, who knows—it’s what he still plays when working out with celebs, mixing them in between current chart-topping songs. “Everyone I work with wants to work out to hip-hop,” he says, “But my music clients are starting to come in asking to hear ’90s house music too.”
The music influencing, however, goes both ways. “Kanye’s basically family, so he often tells me what to listen to. And same with Common because he’s been coming to the studio so many years,” Pasternak says.
Once in a while, he’ll throw a straight-up pop song in there too, such as Jessie J’s new song, “Ugly,” which she wrote in partnership with Propel as part of the electrolyte water brand’s new campaign. (Pasternak also has a partnership with them.) “That song is dope. She has some lungs on her!” he says.
Whatever it takes to serve as a distraction for planks and donkey kicks….