Lady Gaga worked as a songwriter before becoming the sometimes controversial singer she is today. Songs she wrote include Britney Spears’ “Quicksand” and Jennifer Lopez’s “Invading my mind”. Gaga’s hit song “Telephone” was in fact originally written for Spears in 2008, a demo of which was leaked in 2010.


Ghostwriters are not confined to mainstream pop music and can be found everywhere, from house to rap and folk. Some artists continue writing songs for other artists even when they become famous for their own music. Drake has had a hand in many songs outside of his usual genre. He has written for big names and was responsible for songs such as Alicia Keys’ “Unthinkable” and Rita Ora’s “R.I.P.”


Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars both made names for themselves as songwriters before becoming well-known musicians. Sheeran started by writing songs for One Direction and was responsible for some of their hits like “Little things”, “Over again” and “Summer love”. Mars was one of a group of writers called The Smeezingtons who have worked with Justin Bieber, Mike Posner, Flo Rida, The Black Eyed Peas, Adam Lambert and Far East Movement to write and produce over 20 songs. These songs include “Love me” by Bieber, “Right round” by Flo Rida, “Never close our eyes” by Adam Lambert and “Forget you” by CeeLo Green.


Some artists are involved in more than one role when it comes to creating a top song. Perhaps one of the ultimate names in this regard is Calvin Harris who, as a producer, singer, songwriter and DJ, has worked intensely with other artists to produce popular music. In 2013, Harris was named Songwriter of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards. He writes all of his own music and he has written notable tracks such as “Say my name” and “We found love” for Cheryl Cole and Rihanna respectively. He has feature parts on these songs, but did all the behind the scenes work as well.


These artists have proven themselves to be all-rounders in the music world and are excellent examples of multi-talented individuals who started small before becoming big names in the industry.


Image: Brandon Dlamini

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