4 Songwriters Shaping Hits In Popular Music

This post by Hypebot intern Mike Pineau (@mikejpineau).

image from media.thedailyswarm.com For every song you hear on the radio, there is likely at least one person in the background crafting the melody, lyrics and overall sound of the song and the album it accompanies.  The artist performing the song is always a large part of the recipe, but a large number of songwriters and producers also figure into the success of any release.  Several of these individuals stick out because of their near Midas touch. 

Labels are taking notice of their skills and ear for hooks and their music is filling the airwaves and literally shaping the sound of modern music.  The vast majority of these individuals remain “behind the curtain” and make music without the bulk of the fame that the artists performing their works receive.

  1. Lukasz Gottwald
    Lukasz Gottwald - better known as Dr. Luke - is a prime example of a songwriter and producer who has more influence over pop music than most others.  His pop resume is astonishing - songs he wrote or cowrote have been taken to the top of the charts by Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne, Daughtry, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Flo Rida, Miley Cyrus and most notably by Katy Perry and Ke$ha.  He was named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year for 2010 and received ten songwriting awards from ASCAP in the same ceremony.
  2. Hilary Lindsay
    The country world also has several individuals who stick out for their ability to help craft amazing songs.  Among them, Hilary Lindsay is prominent example of a modern songwriter with a considerable hit ratio.  Her biggest success has been “Jesus, Take The Wheel” which Carrie Underwood recorded and subsequently won a Grammy Award for.  She has also written and co-written hits for Faith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Sara Evans and Miley Cyrus.
  3. Gregg Wattenberg
    In the rock world, songwriter and producer Gregg Wattenberg stands out for his ability to write songs that crossover to multiple formats while still maintaining their rocking edge.  Songs he was written or co-written have been taken to the top of the charts by Train, Daughtry, O.A.R., the Goo Goo Dolls and Five For Fighting.  This success led to Wattenberg joining rock label Wind-Up Records in 2010 as the SVP of A&R.
  4. Christopher Stewart
    Christopher “Tricky” Stewart stands out in the rhythmic world for his ability to write, produce and craft songs that not only become radio hits and big sellers, but also cultural phenomenons.  Two of his projects - Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” - are just as likely to be danced to by teenagers as adults and retirees.  Stewart has also worked to develop the career of Justin Bieber, along with producing hits for Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Katy Perry, Jesse McCartney and Ciara along the way.

There are certainly many others, but these are just a few of the crop of people that are heavily influencing the sound of modern pop, country, rock and hip hop/R&B music today.  Rarely are their names heard on the radio, but their late nights and early mornings are heard in the chord progressions of the songs that fill stereos around the world.  Such a limited group seems to be contributing to a homogenized sound in mainstream music.  Without more financial resources, labels are taking less chances and these stellar songwriters - for better or for worse - will play on.

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