Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich was "surprised" when Ariana Grande accused him of "stifling" her creativity.
The 25-year-old singer pulled out of performing at the annual ceremony, which takes place at Los Angeles' Staples Centre on Sunday (10.02.19), over a dispute with organisers about her song choice, and after the '7 Rings' hitmaker recently spoke out to slam the producer for "lying" about her, he's dismissed suggestions he isn't "collaborative".
He told Rolling Stone magazine: "I saw those tweets and what she said. I guess it was a surprise.
"I will say this, and they don't want me to say it but I'm going to say it: The thing that probably bothered me more than whatever else she said about me is when she said I'm not collaborative.
"The fact of the matter is -- and I actually wrote a little thing in the middle of the night that I'm not going to do anything about, but, I mean. You can ask Christina Aguilera, who I asked to do 'It's a Man's World' for James Brown.
"You can ask Melissa Etheridge, who finished her cancer treatment and I put her out on stage, bald, doing Janis Joplin. You can ask Ricky Martin who overnight became the creator of the Latin music revolution.
"Ask Mary J. Blige, who was scared s**tless to go out there and do 'No More Drama.' I basically worked with her to mold it. Ask H.E.R. who's in this show."
Ken admitted he never spoke to Ariana directly but worked with her management team and insisted he usually "does not have this happen".
He added: "I don't know if I'm good at anything else, but I understand artists and I can hear other artists in an artist.
"I don't say to people, 'This is what you should do.' I approach it casually and say, hey, this might be a good idea, let's find something in the middle."
Ariana took to Twitter a few days ago to share an interview with Ken, in which he claimed she couldn't "pull something together" in enough time.
The 'Thank U, Next' singer then wrote on Twitter: mhmmm here it is ! 'too late for her to pull something together......'
"i've kept my mouth shut but now you're lying about me. i can pull together a performance over night and you know that, Ken. it was when my creativity & self expression was stifled by you, that i decided not to attend. i hope the show is exactly what you want it to be and more.
"i offered 3 different songs. it's about collaboration. it's about feeling supported. it's about art and honesty. not politics. not doing favors or playing games. it's just a game y'all.. and i'm sorry but that's not what music is to me. (sic)"
Ariana is nominated for two awards at the prestigious music event - Best Pop Vocal Performance for 'God Is a Woman' and Best Pop Vocal Album for 'Sweetener' - and says that whilst she won't be attending the ceremony, she's still "grateful" to be nominated.
She wrote in two separate tweets: "passed a Grammy's bus with my face on it typing those.
"hope that helps everyone understand my decision. i am still grateful for the acknowledgement this year. (sic)"