Black women songwriters have long been a big part of popular culture, though they might be playing that role in the dark. Did you know Steve Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”, Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, Katy Perry’s “Firework”, Jennifer Lopez’s “(What is) Love?” were all written by black women?
Now, let us introduce you to some black women songwriters that have penned some of your favorite songs, but you might not know about.
Taylor Parks, better known as Tayla Parx, is a singer, songwriter and actress. You might recognize the triple threat from her role in the 2007 Hairspray musical movie where she played Little Inez. Her performance was a foreshadow for what was to come in her musical journey.
From then on, Parx would star on other shows such as Everybody Hates Chris, Victorious, Gilmore Girls and True Jackson VP, where she had a recurring role as Shelley.
Aside from her acting, she has written on albums for artists such as Ariana Grande, BTS, The Internet, Mariah Carey, Fifth Harmony and more. In addition to her impressive contributions on various albums, Parks has also worked and written with some of today’s most popular artists and producers. Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Usher to name a few.
Her continuous work led her to be listed as co-writer for three Billboard Hot Top 100 singles: “High Hopes” by Panic at The Disco, “Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande and “Love Lies” by Khalid and Normani.
When she isn’t writing for other artists, she is making music of her own. In 2017, Parx released mixtape titled Tayla Made. Her most recent project dropped in April 2019, titled We Need To Talk.
Victoria Monét is a singer, songwriter and dancer. Monet began performing at a young age once she started dancing with a city dance team and singing in the youth choir.
Her involvement with the arts introduced her to writing and working with producers once she got older. In 2014, Monét released her debut EP Nightmare & Lullabies Act 1, and the next year, released Nightmare & Lullabies Act 2.
In 2017, Monét supported Ariana Grande on her Dangerous Woman Tour. The two are close friends and Monét has written on songs such as Be Alright, Let Me Love You and Thank U, Next. The following year Monét went on to release her third and fourth EP’s Life After Love, PT 1 and Life After Love, Pt 2.
The powerhouse has no days off. When she’s not performing and creating music, she’s helping write songs for other artists such as Fifth Harmony, Chrisette Michelle, Kendrick Lamar and more. Her noteworthy writing resulted in her being nominated for two awards at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, Record of the Year for “7 Rings” and Album of the Year” for Thank U, Next.
Her most recent single, Ass Like That, released in October 2019 and has received many praises. Her creativity as an artist is refreshing and she is adding a style of her own to music that gives her a unique flare.
Starrah, also known as Brittany Hazzard, is writing some of our favorite modern pop hits while remaining to stay out of the spotlight. Although Starrah is quiet, her songwriting is loud and packs a punch.
One of her most notable hooks is “Pick Up The Phone” by Travis Scott and Young Thug. Interestingly enough, the hook was originally sung by Starrah, but ultimately, Scott took the lead on the hook. Since the release of the song in 2016, it has acquired over 339 million streams on Spotify.
The first-rate songwriter has a flair for writing songs that are memorable as they exude elements of hip-hop and R&B that make listening to them irresistible.
Other notable tracks she’s worked on are “Needed Me” by Rihanna, “Havana” by Camila Cabello and “Now or Never” by Halsey.
At the age of 18, Gordon was destined to write hits after she wrote “Gonna Breakthrough”, a track on Mary J Blige’s 2005 album, The Breakthrough.
Since then, the impeccable songwriter is still writing some of our favorite hits, and we cannot thank her enough for it. Gordon is credited for writing “Don’t Hurt Yourself”, “Daddy’s Lessons” and “Sorry” off Beyonce’s monumental album, Lemonade.
Aside from writing for other artists, Gordon is continuing to work on artistry and making music to add to her impressive catalog.
Other songs that Gordon has written on are “The Kids Are Alright” by Chloe x Halle and “Livin’ It Up” by Ciara featuring Nicki Minaj.