Top 5 Ghostwriters in Pop Music Today

You know those pop songs you love (or hate) by Pitbull, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, or One Direction? Well, there’s a pretty good chance they were written by somebody else. Through they’re often ignored by the general public, ghostwriters create many of the songs we hear everyday.

Ghost Writers in Pop Music

For some, the heated debate on ghost writing in the music industry is one of ethics—one of moral quality, if you will. For others, it’s purely financial. The fact of the matter is that the practice is nothing new; even the greats Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley had some help laying down their tunes.

We aim to shed light on the behind-the-scenes folks who help make pop music popular.

5.  Chantal Kreviazuk

pop music ghost writers

Chances are that most music listeners have never come across this name. Although her name is hard to pronounce and ethnically ambiguous, this Canadian multi-instrumentalist has written and co-written the hit tracks for many pop music stars over the past decade. Additionally, she has released five full-length albums of her own that had great success in her home country.

Notable ghostwritten tracks:

“Feel This Moment” – Pitbull

“Over My Dead Body” – Drake

Under My Skin (Avril Lavigne Album)

4.  Savan Kotecha

savan kotecha

This Austin, Texas-born songwriter is probably most well-known for his role as a vocal coach on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor. Kotecha has done far more than appear on a British talent show, however. In addition to writing billboard hits for huge names like One Direction, Maroon 5, Justin Beiber, and Demi Lovato, he is the recipient of six BMI awards, four ASCAP awards, and two Billboard Music Awards.

Notable ghostwritten tracks:

“One More Night” – Maroon 5

“What Makes You Beautiful” – One Direction

“Scream” – Usher

3.  Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen

ghost writers pop music

This Norwegian production duo—also known, together, as the group Stargate—is about as behind-the-scenes and low-key as you can get (well, outside of the music industry). Within the business, “their name recognition is as powerful as Timbaland’s,” according to manager mogul Jeff Rabhan. The two Scandinavian producers excel in the arena of pop music and have created a distinct musical signature for themselves—an approach that has attracted some of the biggest names in music today.

Notable ghostwritten tracks:

“Unfaithful” – Rihanna

“So Sick” – Ne-Yo

“Irreplaceable” – Beyonce

2.  James Fauntleroy II


Fauntleroy got some publicity in 2013 when he released “Know Bout Me,” his single that features Timbaland, Jay-Z, and Drake. He’s also made guest appearances with artists like J. Cole, Big Sean, and Frank Ocean.  Most of his work, however, is done behind the scenes.  From R&B stars like Chris Brown to pop icons like Kelly Clarkson, Fauntleroy has had a hand in many of the radio hits we hear today.  Oh yeah, he also co-wrote every track on Justin Timberlake’s mega-hit album The 20/20 Experience.  He was also heavily involved in composition of Rihanna’s Rated R, contributing to six of the album’s thirteen tracks.

Notable ghostwritten tracks:

“Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson

“Take You Down” – Chris Brown

“Just In Love” – Joe Jonas

1.  Bonnie McKee


This Cali-born singer songwriter deserves a lot more fame than she gets. Although she’s an established and recognizable name within the music community, Bonnie McKee stays out of the public arena. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because of the 2013 music video for her song “American Girl,” which featured some of the biggest names in pop music today, including Macklemore, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha. McKee is also the songwriting genius behind many of her peers’ chart-topping hits (she has either written or co-written eight singles that have reached #1 in the U.S. or the United Kingdom). Additionally, she has a killer set of pipes that would bring even the manliest of men to tear. Watch her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

Notable ghostwritten tracks:

“Roar” – Katy Perry

“Dynamite” – Taio Cruz

“Lovebird” – Leona Lewis

Article by Josh Cranin


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