The dueling would-be music divas have both recorded versions of the song “Screwed” for their upcoming solo record debuts and now there’s some behind-the-scene scrambling to see who has the rights to release it legitimately.
We say “legitimately” because, like her night-vision bedroom romp, Paris’ “Screwed” is already making the rounds on the Internet.
Hilton’s take on the song was leaked–accidentally, if you believe her publicist–to a radio station. An MP3 was ripped from the broadcast and is now all over file-sharing sites.
Written by veteran songwriters Kara DioGuardi and Gregg Wells, “Screwed” is a slick pop track with pulsing, hook-heavy basslines and shimmering synths with a distinctively 1980’s feel. Paris’ relatively lo-fi leaked version features digitally spiffed-up vocals that make it difficult to tell just how well everyone’s favorite heiress actually sings.
Regardless, the song has a catchy chorus (“If I’m already screwed/here’s my message to you”) and may well be a hit when Hilton, Duff or both officially release it
Aspiring teen queen Haylie (the older, less famous sister of Hilary Duff) is claiming dibs on the song, saying she recorded her version in early 2003 and that “Screwed” belongs solely to her. “I recorded this song almost two years ago, so it was just kind of a mix-up, but it’s all taken care of now,” Duff told Access Hollywood in late July.
Speaking to E! Online this week, Duff’s reps echoed that sentiment. “Haylie has the first rights to record and release the song from the writers and their publisher,” says Duff’s publicist, Allison Leslie.
But Paris’ publicist Gina Hoffman tells E! Online that, in fact, “the rights to the song are still undetermined.”
Apparently, Paris isn’t getting screwed without a fight.
Caught in the middle is Arthouse Entertainment’s Stephen Finer. Finer, who looks after Kara DioGuardi’s music publishing interests (in addition to “Screwed,” DioGuradi has written hits for Jessica Simpson and Kylie Minogue , among others), could only say that “it’s a very delicate situation right now and I can’t really comment any further.”
Both Haylie and Paris are struggling to launch their respective singing careers. Duff appears to have a leg up on Hilton, having one minor hit, a duet cover of the Go-Go’s 1981 classic “Our Lips Are Sealed” with sis Hilary, under her belt. The Napoleon Dynamite costar also has a record deal with Hollywood Records. Although no release date has been set for Haylie’s record, sources tell E! Online that the record will come out in early to mid 2005.
Paris, for her part, has been talking up her record, Paris Is Burning, to the press for months. The Simple Life star will reportedly release the record on her own label, Heiress Records.
She had initially said that “Screwed” would be her first single from the record, but now that seems increasingly unlikely in light of the leak and Haylie’s plan to have “Screwed” on her debut. No release date has been set for Paris’ record either, but she has reportedly worked with several well-known producers and musicians for several tracks on her debut, including JC Chasez and her ex-boyfriend, former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter . She told reporters at her Heiress Records launch party July 2 that Paris Is Burning sounds like “a combination of Blondie and Madonna (news – web sites) with a little bit of hip-hop thrown in.”
Now if only Paris could sing like Deborah Harry or Madonna…