Before Frank Ocean was thee Frank Ocean he was Lonny Breaux penning hits for the likes of Jay-Z and wife Beyonce, Brandy and Justin Bieber. A couple years later the phenomena that is Channel Orange was born.
Frank isn’t the only artist whose singing career was birthed through songwriting. The Dream, Ne-Yo and Ke$sha have all written chart-topping hits for others. Great, right? More money in their massive bank accounts. The only drawback of being a great songwriter is when you’ve written hits for other artists that are bigger than your own. That double edged sword is mighty heavy. Cheers to these singers/songwriters who haven’t quite figured out how to snag a hit as monstrous as the ones they’ve written for peers.
His biggest song: “Let Me Love You”
Stats: 1.23 million
Biggest hit he wrote: Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable”
Stats: 3.14 million US, 4.6 million worldwide
Her biggest song: “Tik Tok”
Stats: 6.51 million US, 14 million worldwide
Biggest hit she wrote: Britney Spears’ “Til the World Ends”
Stats: over 2,638,000 US, over 5.4 million worldwide
*Editor’s Note: Obviously Ke$ha’s biggest hit outsold Britney Spears’ smash hit that she penned. As slept on as Ke$ha’s songwriting it’d be remiss of us not to include her.
3. The Dream
His biggest hit: “Shawty Is A 10”
Stats: Us Billboard Hot 100
Biggest hit he wrote: Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”
Stats: 5.2 million US, 7.7 million worldwide
5. Bruno Mars
His biggest hit: “Just The Way You Are”
Stats: 5.81+ million US, 12.5 million worldwide
Biggest hit he wrote: Cee Lo Green’s “F*ck You”
Stats: 6.03+ million US
*Editor’s Note: Condolences to Bruno Mars during his time of loss. And worldwide his biggest single outsold CeeLo’s, but domestically CeeLo trumped.