Songwriters: the unsung heroes
Aug 28, 2019
Do you really know who wrote the lyrics to your favourite song? There’s a chance it wasn’t the star you’ve been watching on stage. Behind the scenes, hundreds of lyricists and composers are busy penning smash-hits for your favourite performers – and over time, these unsung heroes have created some of the greatest tracks in music history.
Not everyone’s destined for the stage, but Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller were definitely born to write. This duo became one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s first great song-writing teams after creating several top-ten hits for Elvis Presley – including ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Love Me’, and ‘King Creole’. Over their fruitful career, they also wrote and co-wrote over 70 chart hits, and solidified their name in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.
Three years later, the talented trio known as Holland-Dozier-Holland joined them. Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland started out as singers, but their work for the Four Tops and The Supremes is when they really came into their own. In fact, they were credited for helping form the sound of Motown – a soulful 1960s record-label that changed America and music as we know it today. Fast forward a few decades, and Max Martin is king of pop music – writing tracks that now define 90s nostalgia: Britney Spears’ ‘Baby One More Time’, The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want it That Way’, and NSYNC’s ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’. Max wasn’t finished there either, he tapped into the Zeitgeist of the noughties to continue making over 20 Billboard 100 number-one hits for the likes of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd.
All these musical masterminds take their rightful place in the Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time’ – a list that’s filled with ground-breaking talent, but also heavily dominated by men. If today’s number-ones are anything to go by, this imbalance could be set to change soon, as a wave of female songwriters are shaping the music industry and paving the way for the future.
If you haven’t already heard of Emily Warren and Kamille, we can guarantee you’ve been listening to their work. These women have taken this underrepresented industry by storm and are now writing for some of the world’s biggest acts.
Emily was focused on her own music career before she fell in love with song-writing for other artists. She described working in a male-dominated field so young as ‘daunting’ – but her ability to challenge the status-quo and write in a way that really represents women saw her create a smash-hit on both sides of the Atlantic; Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’.
Music wasn’t actually Kamille’s first choice of career either, but after her love for singing took her out of stockbroking and into the studio, she managed to grab the attention of a major UK label. Since then, Kamille has co-written five number-one hits – including Little Mix’s ‘Shout out to my Ex’ – and has now gone on to produce their latest album, LM5.
Like all these stars, the composers at PHMG count some of music’s biggest names among their portfolio. Our team has worked behind the scenes with Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Years and Years, Charli XCX, Kygo, Beyonce, Paul McCartney and Rihanna – and when they’re not putting masterpieces together for other artists, they’re bringing the unique sound of our client’s to life with exclusive Brand-Sound-Tracks™.