What happens behind the curtains of pop music? Since the early 2000s, a huge percentage of the most successful songs by such famous artists as Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Ariana Grande… are penned by Swedish autors. It is difficult to see these craftsmen under the limelight, as these talented authors nearly always prefer to work a lot, and remain private all along. It is almost impossible to condense or retell this huge story significantly, therefore we are prefer to share a little bit of story, a few (rather shocking) data, and some links to interesting sources you can learn from.
First of all a bit of story: it all started in 1992 when Denniz PoP (a true genius and the seminal mind of the whole scene) and Tom Talomaa founded Cheiron Studios (Kungsholmen district, Stockholm), a place that became famous because this is where popular music acts such as Ace of Base, Backstreet Boys, Boyzone, Robyn, NSYNC, and Britney Spears, produced many of their greatest hits. After Denniz PoP’s untimely death in 1998, Cheiron Studios closed (2000), with Talomaa and Max Martin reforming the company as The Location. Max Martin later relocated to Los Angeles and went on to work with Pink, Usher, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift… striking a set of incredible records in the music industry.
A bit of data: Max Martin made a string of hit singles that includes Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” (1998), the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” (1999), and NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000). He has written (or co-written) 23 Billboard Hot 100 number-one songs (most of which he has also produced or co-produced), including Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (2008), Maroon 5’s “One More Night” (2012), Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and “Blank Space” (2014), and The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” (2019). Martin is the songwriter with the third-most number-one singles on the chart, 23, behind only Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26). He also has the second-most Hot 100 number-one singles as a producer, 21, behind George Martin, who achieved 23. In early 2013, his single sales were beyond 135 million, and he has won the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award a record eleven times.
Here is a link to a January 2020 very interesting interview with Max Martin by BBC Radio 2 host Gary Barlow, himself a ‘customer’ of the Swedish craftsman. In the interview Martin opens up a bit on his projects, his secrets, his personal story.