by (@zaragolden)

Last Lap: Beyonce Shows Support For Frank Ocean

In a short poem written for the man who wrote (and sometimes sings) “I Miss You” for her, Bey calls Ocean brave, free, and inspirational. Amen. [Beyonce]

The former Beatle has hooked up with the team behind the hugely popular video game Halo to make some new music for, well, nobody knows yet. Nevertheless, this sounds like a project worth keeping an eye on. [RS]
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by (@kat_george)

Is Ester Dean The Next Artist To Cross Over From Songwriter To Super Star?

Prolific songwriter Ester Dean has just released her own song (featuring Nicki Minaj), called “Gimme Money”, and it’s got everyone talking — will Dean be the next big songwriter to cross over into the world of pop stardom as a performance artist? The track is Dean’s second collaboration with Minaj, after her vocals appeared on Nicki’s hit single “Super Bass.” If the success of “Super Bass” is anything to go by, then the pairing of the two women is a match made in chart heaven, and may just kick off Dean’s solo career. “Gimme Money” is in keeping with the euro-dance led anthemic beats that found popularity in 2011, with just the right amount of hard femme-edge in the girl raps and Dean’s husky r&b vocal.

Dean is no stranger to the hit song, already with 2009’s “Drop It Low” featuring Chris Brown under her belt as well as her vocal is also appears twice on the critically received soundtrack for Rio. But, like many songwriters-turned-performers who have come before her, including Katy Perry, Ryan Tedder and Ne-yo, Dean has that extra edge — understanding the hit machine from behind the scenes, and knowing what it takes to create a memorable, iconic pop song from the ground up. And Dean’s songwriting experience is nothing to sneeze at, writing almost all of Rihanna‘s Talk That Talk and having written songs for the likes of Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, BeyoncĂ©, Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Ciara, Nicole Scherzinger, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Girlicious, R. Kelly, Britney Spears, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em, Pia Toscano, Tinie Tempah, Lil Wayne, and Machine Gun Kelly. With such an impressive resume, we’re thinking that Ester Dean might just be the next songwriter to become a worldwide pop sensation.

Nicki Minaj Guests on Ester Dean’s ‘Gimme Money': Listen [Billboard]

[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

Songtrust Announces The Top 20 Songwriters Of 2011

Are you sick of “top” and “best of” lists for 2011 yet? Surprisingly enough, we’re not — even though they are getting a bit repetitive in the Adele/Iver global back pat that’s happening right now. With all the glory being attributed to musicians for songs and albums, Songtrust have come right out of left field to say, “Yeah, kudos guys, but let’s have a round of applause for the people who are actually writing these songs.”

Some of our favorite hit machines — including You Oughta Know artists Adele and Bruno Mars, as well as Katy Perry — are seasoned song writers in their own right, but what about the guys and gals behind the music that aren’t also household names? Using data from Billboard Radio Songs and Digital Songs charts, Songtrust have compiled a list of 2011’s most seminal writers — yep, that’s right, these are the people responsible for all those songs you’re putting on your favorites lists. So three cheers for the writers! Songtrust’s Top 20 Songwriters Of 2011 after the jump.
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