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When it comes to modern pop music, often the singer eclipses the producer who actually composed the music they are singing over. These people lie just out of the limelight, with the whole world hearing their songs sometimes without even knowing their name.
So who are these mysterious songwriters? Let’s take a look at 5 of the best producers to ever create pop music and remain out of the mainstream’s ever-watchful eye…
5. Scott Storch
Songs You’ve Heard: Justin Timberlake – Cry me a River, Dr. Dre – Still D.R.E
A Jewish Canadian producer who is responsible for the riffs in Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E” and for co-producing Justin Timberlake’s “Cry me a River”.
Storch has veered towards the hip-hop side of things, not only musically but personally. He’s had “beef” with Justin Timberlake for not properly crediting him on the MTV awards for producing the song, where JT said Timberland was the producer.
He’s also pushed the buttons of big-time producer Lil’ Jon, who was quoted as saying Storch was “Biting his style” – stealing his unique sound for those not fluent in hip hop.
While he has earned over $70 million in his career, including $17 million in 2007, in mid 2008 he had an arrest warrant issued for failing to pay child support and for late property taxes. So his music-writing skills may be considerable, but unfortunately for him, that doesn’t mean his money-saving skills follow suit!
4. Evan Bogart
Songs You’ve Heard: Beyonce – Halo, Rhianna – SOS, Pussycat Dolls – Jai Ho!
Even Bogart was born to well connected parents – Casablanca records founder Neil Bogart and music manager Joyce Bogart-Trabulus (who co-managed KISS.)
Starting out as an Intern in Interscope records at age 16, Evan Bogart grew up to join the A&R department, working to promote such massive artists such as 2Pac and Eminem.
Several years on in 2006, he joined the record label and publishing company “Beluga Heights” as the head songwriter. It was then that he went on to write for Beyonce, Rihanna, Britney, Kylie amongst a lot of others.
He was responsible for the #1 single SOS by Rihanna and Halo by Beyonce, so it’s definitely skill that put him where he is today, not his parents!
3. Ryan Tedder
Songs You’ve Heard: OneRepublic – Apologize, Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
Now here’s the first one on the list that you’ll have heard their voice on a track without possibly knowing his name. Ryan Tedder is the lead singer for OneRepublic, the act that broke records for the best selling single of the decade and the most played song on radio with 10,331 plays in a week.
He was knocked off the top spot only five months later when Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” got 10,665 plays – another song he co-produced. Nice going, Ryan!
So his name might not be on the songs, apparently preferring to give his band the promotion, but it hasn’t stopped him from rubbing shoulders and producing for Ludacris, Backstreet Boys, Chris Cornell, Whitney Houston and even DJ Tiesto.
Not bad for a little boy of humble origins, growing up with a religious family in Tulsa – his parents apparently encouraged him to practice piano by offering him candy corn as a reward. He learned music via the “Suzuki Method” – where the tutee is taught by ear rather than by reading notes.
2. Christopher Stewart
Songs You’ve Heard: Umbrella – Rihanna, Single Ladies – Beyonce, Me against the Music – Britney Spears feat. Madonna
Another entrant into this top 5 who has beginnings in Pop-Rap. His first major success was co-writing the single “Who Dat” for JT Money, which became #1 on the rap charts.
He then went on to discover several artists such as Blu Cantrell, then achieved worldwide renown by producing the song “Me against the Music” for both Britney and Madonna.
He had a musical upbringing, allegedly writing songs since the age of 12. He started writing for major artists through a link from his older brother to his business mentor Louil Silas Jr.
1. Max Martin
Songs You’ve Heard: Britney Spears – Oops I did it again, Backstreet Boys – As long as you love me, Five – Slam dunk da funk, Katy Perry – Hot n Cold, Pink – So What… Yeah, pretty much every other massive #1 in the past 15 years.
Max Martin is the undeniable king of producers the make massive hits but keep a low profile. His production record pretty much reads like a list of billboard number one hits.
His versatility as a producer has meant he can go from dance-pop songs to epic ballads to pop-rock with the click of a finger… or rather the sign of a paycheque. With the literally hundreds of famous artists he’s produced for, he’s probably not going to be short of cash.
It’s his ability to adapt himself to different artists while maintaining the signature #1 pop smash hit formula that has ensured his success.
He was originally a singer for an 80s glam rock band; “It’s Alive”, which was unsuccessful, but during his time on the label they were signed to, he was noticed by producer Denniz Pop, who became Max Martin’s Mentor and Moulded him into a Monster Hit-Making Machine!