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Plan B: 5 Singers Who Should Stick to Songwriting

  • 22 Jul 2021 13:43
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Ke$ha continues to fade away.

Everybody has a calling in life but some people take longer than others to find their true purpose. At least, that’s what Oprah Winfrey preaches and there are several singers who could benefit from that advice. Specifically, the select few with the potential to be much more successful as songwriters instead of recording artists.

Songwriting is one of the most lucrative fields in the music industry yet for some the experience is bittersweet. Just imagine how difficult it is to write a beautiful song, and then sell it to the highest bidder after you’ve grown attached to every lyric, melody and key change. That’s probably why some songwriters decide to launch their own record careers because they want to bring the music to life the way they envisioned.

Also, if a writer has penned monster hits for other artists then why not do the same for themselves? What’s the point of making other people rich when they make even more money if they sang their own material? Unfortunately, it seems like flawless logic but it’s not, and that’s the purpose of this article.

There are five singers in the industry who are also very talented songwriters yet they continue to pursue superstardom on the charts with little success. So, I’m suggesting they take a break from the spotlight and focus on shaping the sound of music with their writing. Check out the list below:

5. The-Dream

Before The-Dream became somewhat popular for his breathy falsetto and swap meet caps – Jay-Z’s words, not mine – he was busy crafting hits for dozens of artists. From Britney Spears’ “Me Against the Music (Ft. Madonna)” to Rihanna’s “Umbrella (Ft. Jay-Z)”, The-Dream established himself as the go-to hit-maker on the music scene.

Bolstered by his many achievements as a writer, The-Dream launched his own singing career and actually did well on the charts, thanks to his brilliant Love Hate and Love vs Money albums. Unfortunately, with success came arrogance and his material has since become uninspired garbage. It’s such a shame because The-Dream had the potential to- scratch that, because beyond his high notes, he is average at best.

Popular credits: Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Ft. Put a Ring on It)”

4. Ke$ha 

Poor Ke$ha. Three years ago, she was the latest Pop music phenomenon to take the industry by storm. Less serious than Lady Gaga and boasting more energy than the mentally devoid Britney Spears, Ke$ha was the party girl our generation needed to help us forget the crumbling economy.

Yet, her wild child similarities to a young Cyndi Lauper and love for glitter couldn’t distract us from the obvious: Ke$ha was just a fad and a face for the EDM movement. Flash forward to 2013 and she is already bordering on irrelevancy with less than stellar album sales, songs struggling to climb the charts and low concert ticket sales.

Luckily, Ke$ha is a good songwriter and she has tailored multiple hits for other acts. Remember Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”? Well, that was Ke$ha’s brainchild, and if you listen closely to the background vocals on the track, you can still hear her voice.

Popular credits: Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends”

3. Frank Ocean

If Frank Ocean never admitted to liking the feeling of another man’s five o’clock shadow pressed against his face in the morning – okay, I dramatised that a bit – then he would have remained an underground artist with little attention from the media. On the other hand, he hired a great press team and thanks to added help from his celebrity friends, his sexuality became frontline news, just in time to help him sell a few extra copies of his channel ORANGE album.

Still, being gay, bisexual or pansexual didn’t improve the utterly boring content featured on channel ORANGE. In fact, Ocean’s sexuality merely made him a favourite among the paid critics and the album remains a relatively slow seller because Ocean is a boring recording artist. Am I a homophobe for suggesting that?

Popular credits: Brandy’s “Scared of Beautiful”

2. Keri Hilson

Keri Hilson is beautiful and very intelligent yet her voice has as many dimensions as a flat sheet of fax paper. Yes, she can hit a few good notes but so can any girl or high-voiced boy – I’m talking about myself here – on the first day of choir practice. Simply, there is nothing remarkable or memorable about Hilson’s thin, nasal and almost colourless instrument.

What really makes Hilson’s work notable is her writing. The woman is very talented with a pen, and her ability to create hits for both Pop and R&B acts deserves respect. If only she would relax in the background while collecting royalties from artists who sing her songs.

I bet Hilson get a good laugh every time Beyonce fans attacked on her Twitter while they unknowingly print her lyrics in their bios.

Popular credits: Britney Spears’ “Gimme More”

1. Ashanti

If this was 2002, Ashanti’s name would never be mentioned on this list. However, this is 2013 and the former Princess of Hip-Hop and R&B is lucky to appear in any publication that doesn’t involve IRS tax evasion claims or Vh1’s Where are They Now? series.

Ashanti’s hasn’t scored a hit in years, although she has greatly improved as a singer. Some people blame her decline on the collapse of The Inc. while others maintain competition from more talented young artists made it impossible for her to stay at the top of the charts. Either way, her music career is almost nonexistent.

That doesn’t mean that all is lost for Ashanti. She is a fantastic songwriter, and her clever use of samples and catchy hooks could secure her a position among the industry’s most prolific hit-makers if she really wanted that title instead of trying to reclaim her former fame as a recording artist.

Note to Ashanti: Continue to run your label, cultivate young talent and land a few more acting jobs. However, pause your singing career and trying writing songs for other performers instead. Your company is called Written Entertainment so perhaps that should be your new goal in life.

Listen to Ashanti’s clever writing in her mega hit “Foolish” below:


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