[Opinion] You are not an artist if you need someone else to write your songs


Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Time

Taylor Swift accepts the award for Album of the Year at the 63rd Grammy Award outside Staples Center. (Photo courtesy of Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Madison Friedman, Writer

The music industry is huge. With many popular musicians being out on the radio, making millions of dollars per year, some people have come to the conclusion that having someone else write your music does not make you an artist.

Several ordinary people have amazing voices and can sing very well; however, they do not necessarily have what it takes to produce or write their own songs. Musicians Rihanna, Elton John and Celine Dion are all examples of artists that do not write their music. They simply sing the lyrics that are given to them by songwriters.

On the other hand, artists Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, Halsey and Shawn Mendes are all artists that write their music as well as songs for other creators. For example, Swift has written “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” for Miley Cyrus, “Better Man” for Little Big Town, “Babe” for Sugarland and “Best Days of Your Life” for Kellie Pickler.

The artists who do write their own songs end up receiving the same amount of recognition as the ones who do not, which is unfair. They should be receiving more credit because writing music takes a lot of time and thinking, involving deep emotions along with personal experiences. The artists who write their own lyrics are telling a story rather than singing random words off a paper.

Having the ability to write your own music from personal experience can also be emotionally difficult when an artist is performing live because, like any person, talking about past experiences that may have caused one pain can provoke sensitive feelings.

Social media platforms, like TikTok, have been a helpful marketing tool within the music industry by allowing almost anyone to go viral, as long as they have a decent voice. However, this does not mean the TikTok user produces their own lyrics. Some people simply go viral from singing a song another artist wrote and published as their own.

Authenticity within one’s music should be a main factor for how well respected an artist is in the music industry. When Swift released her song “Better Man” in her Red (Taylor’s Version) album, I had recognized the song and never realized that she was the one who originally made it for Little Big Town.

Although it does not always take hard work to have a pleasant voice, as some people are naturally talented, the amount of artists that have others write their music should be talked about more often.

When the Grammys are given out, specifically the award for Outstanding Achievement in the music industry, presenters should be more aware of those who write their own songs and those that do not. The artists that write their own songs may become burnt out and become tired of getting the same recognition as those who just pay others to write songs for them.

Overall, musicians who write their own music should be more appreciated because it is their way of representing their lives.