There are many thing singers do before they get famous to get by. Some might hit the grind by working in fast food or another line of work. But many singers also get their start in songwriting. This means many of the popular songs that were stuck in our heads for months were actually written by popular artists before they hit it big. So which hits helped pop singers make their future debut? These nine songs!
1. Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA” is written by Jessie J
You know her now for her hits like “Price Tag” and “Bang Bang” but before she was writing hits for other singers like Miley Cyrus. You can blame getting “Party In The USA” stuck in your head on this vocal artist because she wrote it. Penning the lyrics was such a huge success for her that she didn’t have to worry about paying for things for a long time.
“‘Party in the USA’ paid my rent for, like, three years. Actually it was longer than that. That’s where I get most of my money. I write songs. I’m a singer. I love doing endorsements and stuff, but that’s all added on,” Jessie J told Glamour UK.
2. Rihanna’s “Diamonds” is written by Sia
You definitely know that Rihanna sang the hit, but did you know Sia wrote it? Not only did she make the catchy hit, but she was able to do it in 15 minutes.
“We’re sitting there trying to make records, and we finally just said, ‘Let’s just do something we like. Let’s make a hip-hop record with some really cool chords on it,'” producer Benny Blanco revealed. “It didn’t sound Rihanna at all. We were more thinking of making a record that sounds like Kanye. Let’s make a record with a dope beat. So we did. Then Sia heard the track and instantly gravitated towards it. We weren’t even thinking of putting a pop song on it, but she wrote this amazing song.”
The woman was a hit making machine before she broke out on her own. She also wrote “Perfume” by Britney Spears, “Loved Me Back To Life” by Celine Dion, and more.
3. Usher’s Raymond v. Raymond album is written partially by Miguel
Before the singer became the smooth solo artist we know today, he helped Usher write this album along with Here I Stand. Also he penned other songs like “Asleep in the Bread Aisle” for Asher Roth and Musiq Soulchild’s “IfULeave.”
4. Flo Rida’s “Round Round” is written by Ke$ha
The party hit singer was making dance tracks before “Tik Tok.” Not only did she co-write the Flo Rida hit with Bruno Mars but, she wrote “Til the World Ends” for Britney Spears and “The Time of Our Lives” for Miley Cyrus. But she wasn’t paid as much as you might assume for her work.
“It was like $1.63 cents for a song I wrote—I think for Miley Cyrus,” Ke$ha told Seventeen. “It was an embarrassingly tiny amount. But I never cashed it and it’s on a bulletin board in my house.”
5. B.O.B.’s “Nothin’ On You” is written by Bruno Mars
The crooner not only made this romantic track, but he also wrote “Billionaire” for Travie McCoy before he made it on his own. He also wrote songs for singers like Adam Levine, Brandy, Sean Kingston, and more. According to the singer one artist who helped him learn about songwriting was actually Ne-Yo.
“Before he took over the world. I was like 18, and he didn’t have any big songs out yet,” he told Vibe. “He didn’t write that Mario song he had [“Let Me Love You”] yet. I just kinda sat in the studio and watched him write a song. It was just a huge learning experience because that was never a part of my forte. I’d never recorded like that before, so to see a guy sit down with a pen and paper, write a song, record it, it opened my eyes like, “Alright. I gotta step my game up and figure this side of the business out.” Because, in Hawaii, I was just known for performing.”
6. Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up” is written by Katy Perry
The song was written and recorded by the singer for her own unreleased album before she became famous. It went to the American Idol singer instead after Perry broke out with “I Kissed A Girl.” She also went on to write other songs like Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow” and “Rock God” for Selena Gomez & The Scene.
7. Mario’s “Let Me Love You” is written by Ne-Yo
The R&B singer rose to fame from being able to write. He wrote this beautiful song before saving more of his work for himself and rising to fame with “So Sick.” He also wrote Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” for himself and from the guy’s perspective before it went to the pop diva and was changed.
8. Icona Pop’s “I Love It” is written by Charli XCX
She’s still on the rise, but we know her from being featured on Iggy Azaela’s “Fancy.” Before that she wrote this inescapable hit made popular by the show, Girls. When asked if she regrets giving the song away she answered no.
“I don’t regret giving it away. [Icona Pop are] totally owning it,” the singer told NME News. I sang it with them at South By Southwest, though, and it was this real girl power moment.”
9. One Direction’s “Little Things” is written by Ed Sheeran
He not only wrote this for the boy band but he also helped write their songs “Over Again,” “18,” and “Moments.” He also helped out Lupe Fiasco, Taylor Swift, and more.
The singer wrote for many people before he went on tour with Taylor Swift and got his name out there. He started of helping her write her song “Everything Has Changed” after being asked. “She was a fan, got in touch, and we wrote some cool songs. She’s such an awesome person all around,” Sheeran told American Songwriter. But that doesn’t always mean they see eye to eye. “I am a bit stubborn, but it’s great to meet someone like Taylor because she’s the same, so we have good discussions on what works best in the song.”