Does Taylor Swift Write Her Own Songs?
Taylor Swift is a talented singer, recording artist, and performer -- but is she really a songwriter? According to her songwriting credits, Taylor Swift has written or co-written every original song she has released. Her album Speak Now is entirely her own songs, and even 1989 included Swift penned tunes.
Who Writes Taylor Swift Songs?
When you reach the pop star status of Taylor Swift, you can basically write songs with any songwriter you want. While she can write her own material, Swift has a few favorite composers, lyricists, and music producers she uses in her creative stable of talent. Among them are the most famous and successful songwriters today.
Rose is a famous lyricist, and helped write several hit songs, like "You Belong With Me" and "White Horse." She is also credited with co-writing Taylor Swift's first two singles -- "Tim McGraw" and "Teardrops On My Guitar." She is one of the first professional songwriters to work with Swift in the studio.
Max Martin might be the best and most famous songwriter and producer today. He is behind nearly EVERYTHING in the pop music world, and has been writing hit songs since the days of Britney Spears. He also helped turn Taylor Swift into a Pop legend.
Martin co-wrote 1989's "Bad Blood" and "Blank Space," which is an epic songwriter achievement in itself, but he also helped write "Shake It Off" -- a monster hit for Taylor Swift -- and a good chunk of the her songs since becoming a country star turned pop music crossover.
Perhaps saying Max Martin is behind "Everything" in pop music is an overstatement. Statistically speaking, he has written or co-written 22 Hot 100 songs since 1991 -- which, according to NOISEY, is around 6% of the Hot 100 hits since he came on the scene.
Martin's songwriting career is what songwriters dream of. He has had more number one hit songs on the chart than almost anyone, only falling third behind Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
He's not too shabby as a music producer either -- producing more number one singles than anyone except George Martin (The Beatles).
Max Martin was also involved in writing the songs "Can't Stop The Feeling" by Justin Timberlake and "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd.
Shellback is a Swedish songwriter and record producer, famous for a flurry of pop music hits today. He is often associated with fellow songwriter/producer Max Martin, thanks in large part to his work with Taylor Swift.
Shellback's work with Taylor Swift goes back to the album Red and hit songs like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." Shellback also worked with Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Usher, and Adelle (among other top hit-producing music artists).
Ryan Tedder is a modern pop music songwriter and frontman for the band OneRepublic. He is associated with skinny jeans and pop anthems, but he also spends his time writing songs for other artists.
He co-wrote "I Know Places" and "Welcome To New York" with Taylor Swift on 1989. Tedder also contributed to songs by Adelle ("Rumour Has It"), Beyonce ("Halo"), Ariana Grande ("Why Try"), Elli Goulding ("Burn"), and Leona Lewis ("Bleeding Love"). Ryan Tedder has apparently figured out the musical formula for making himself one of the best songwriters today.
Mmm, whatcha say? Imogen Heap helps Taylor swift write songs? Yep.
Imogen Heap helped Taylor Swift write the song "Clean," which was the last tune on 1989. You can definitely hear the Imogen Heap sound stamped all over the production.
When questioned about the process, Imogen praised Taylor Swift as a songwriter and even wrote in her blog, "Felt I wanted to share the experience, as it was a special one. I've also been reading the odd report or tweet here and there that the reason the lyrics to 'Clean' are so good is because I wrote the song with her, but FOR SURE they are all hers she deserves all the credit!"
Ain't that a heap of songwriting praise!
Colbie Caillat co-wrote the song "Breathe" with Taylor Swift. The tune appeared on Fearless and was the result of a song Swift started and brought to Caillat to help write and sing on.
Colbie told The Associated Press,"I went to Nashville about a year and a half ago, and she wanted to write with me, and I flew there and we worked on the songs one morning and she had this beautiful song started and it's about having to let someone go and say goodbye to a really good friend. And we became friends after that. She is so sweet, so beautiful, so talented and honestly just a really intelligent young woman. She knows what she is doing and she knows how to handle her career and take charge. I love her."
Perhaps best known for his involvement in writing and producing "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd, Ali Payami has also contributed to Taylor Swift songs.
Jack Antonoff is a pop songwriter who has written and produced songs with Taylor Swift, Lorde, Pink, and Sia to name a few modern artists. He is also the frontman for Bleachers and lead guitarist of Fun.
1989 features two songs written by Jack Antonoff and Taylor Swift ("Out Of The Woods" and "I Wish You Would"). He is also credited as a music producer on both tracks.
Antonoff was involved as a songwriter and producer on several Taylor Swift songs on Reputation. Among his songs were "Look What You Made Me Do" and "New Year's Day." Jack Antonoff is a name that is appearing on songwriting credits all over pop and rock music, and chances are you already know a few of his songs.
Ed Sheeran was a songwriter and singer on "End Game" -- the first song on Reputation. He shared songwriting credit with Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback, and Nayvadius Wilburn (Future). Ed Sheeran also appears as a vocalist and co-writer on "Everything Has Changed" from Red.
Nayvadius Demun Wilburn is an American rapper known as Future. He appears as a songwriter on the song "End Game" on Reputation. He shares songwriting credits for the track with Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
Will we see more of Future on Taylor Swift songs? Maybe not, but his role in "Taylor Swift meets hip hop" earns him a place in the canon of her songwriting credits.
Taylor Swift: The Songwriter
There is an argument to be made that publicists are shaping the "Taylor Swift is the best songwriter of this generation" narrative. After all, she has unlimited resources and a hefty investment attached to her brand. Is it folklore?There are obviously people concerned with protecting and enhancing the image of Taylor Swift: The Songwriter.
Rolling Stone said she was a "songwriting savant," while Quincy Jones basically said Taylor Swift writes hooks, not songs (according to NME).
Whichever side of the songwriting credit you stand on, everyone can agree there is some sort of songwriter inside of Taylor Swift. She has proven herself capable in the studio, and hangs out with some of the world's best pop music songwriters and producers. She must have some sort of chops. You never read "Taylor Swift is clueless as a songwriter." It sounds more like she takes her thoughts to the professionals and has become one along the way. Hate or love her, Taylor Swift is considered one of the best songwriters today.
*If you found the above list interesting, you will enjoy reading about Max Martin and other pop songwriters in THE SONG MACHINE: Inside The Hit Factory.