He Wrote That? The Surprising Songwriters Behind Some Of Our Favorite Songs
Some people have all the talent: they’re blessed enough to have their own singing careers and they write huge hits for some of their peers. Color me jealous! Here’s a SHORT list of some of the songs I deemed noteworthy (and trust me, I could have gone on for pages and pages). What are some of your favorite songs written by singers for other singers? Let us know…
“Justify My Love” written by Lenny Kravitz & performed by Madonna
Oh Lenny, what a beautiful and talented man you are. Yes, back in the day he wrote this HIT for Madonna. I imagine Lenny sitting in the house or studio…nevermind. This was quite the era and I bet he and Madonna had good times.
“Take Me As I Am” by Mary J. Blige
Written by Keri Hilson
Outside of her own career, Keri is a notable songwriter who has written for a lot of newcomers in music. A few years ago Mary hit a new “stride” in her career and Keri Hilson along with her writing crew, The Clutch, was responsible for this smash.
“No Scrubs” by TLC
Written by Kandi Burruss
In all honesty, I could probably go on and on with Kandi’s songwriting credits but this was the one that stuck out because of all the “man bashing” flack it received. Whatever the men had to say about it publicly they had definitely had something to do with its sales because a song doesn’t remain at #1 on the Billboard charts for four weeks with just female support. Go Kandi!
“I Look to You” by Whitney Houston
Written by R. Kelly
When R. Kelly got up to sing at Whitney’s Homegoing service, people were wondering why he was there and why he was singing “I Look to You.” But yes, he wrote it. Even in Whitney’s final major interview (the one with Oprah), she mentioned that he wrote it for her years ago.
“All I Have To Give” by The Backstreet Boys
Written by Full Force
Although their careers as artists slowed down in the late 80s, Full Force didn’t let that slow down their money. “All I Have To Give” is their biggest songwriting credit to date and I’m sure they’re ecstatic that they were able to get in the hands of the powers-that-be for The Backstreet Boys.
“F*** You” by Cee-lo Green
Written by Bruno Mars
Now that you know Bruno wrote the song, doesn’t it make perfect sense? After listening to Bruno’s album this song would fit right in. Cee-lo does add a lil bit of “stank” on it though, doesn’t he?
“Emotional Rollercoaster” by Vivian Green
Written by Eric Roberson
“Last night I cried, tossed and turned, woke up with dry eyes…” Remember how hard we all sang this song when it came out? I had NO idea Eric Roberson wrote this song. I’ve never doubted his writing skills based on his own songs and songs he’s written for Musiq Soulchild but this was a pleasant surprise. Vivian definitely did his song pure justice.
“I Want Her” by Keith Sweat
Written by Teddy Riley
Right in the midst of the New Jack Swing sound, “I Want Her” came out and was an instant hit. Teddy Riley is the unofficial king of New Jack Swing so it should come as no surprise he wrote this. As an aside, Teddy also wrote “Heaven Can Wait” by Michael Jackson a few years later.
“Rock Wit’cha” by Bobby Brown
Written by Babyface
Babyface is responsible for almost any R&B song you can think of. We could very easily do a post on all of ‘Face’s hits but because of the influence the Don’t Be Cruel album had on my young life (I don’t know what my mom was thinking but I ended up with four copies of the album because I’d play it OUT), I had to go with this one. I found out ‘Face wrote this a couple of years ago and was surprised to learn he’d written songs for anyone other than his own group, The Deele, at that time. Who knew he could write such a fresh and “mannish” song?
“U Don’t Have to Call” by Usher
Written by Pharrell
We knew that Pharrell could produce but did you know that he can write? By far one of my favorite songs by Usher and it is so appropriate that Pharrell wrote it (The Neptunes produced it). Skateboard P, as he is affectionately known at times, has also written for Kelis and Gwen Stefani.
“Butterflies” by Michael Jackson
Witten by Marsha Ambrosius as part of Floetry
Michael had long since reached a plateau that no one could ever touch by the time he received “Butterflies” so it was surprising to find out that he would accept a song from someone virtually unknown. But he did get the song from Marsha and he LOVED what he heard. In fact, he loved Floetry’s demo version so much that Marsha said he didn’t even want to sing the song and thought they should keep it. It is an absolute gem of a song.
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