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Hitmaker Interviews: Biggest Music Producers Of The Last Decade

These are the biggest music producers of the past decade till now, including Rick Rubin, Max Martin, Andrew Watt, Scott Storch & More

Behind every hit song, there’s an army of people who helped bring it to its final form. The global charting single ‘Uptown Funk’ featuring Bruno Mars was the result of over 30 peoples work – a team effort from songwriters, beatmakers, mixing, vocal engineers, vocalists, and musicians, all tied together by music producers. Fans have always known the names of the chart-topping artists that dominate the radio waves and tour the globe performing to millions, but the producers behind their greatest hits went unknown.

Despite their crucial role in the development of an artists songs or albums, music producers often lived in obscurity with a lot fewer zeros in their bank account balances. In the past two decades that has changed considerably, the top producers in the industry have commonly been getting featuring credits and gone on to embark on careers of their own, releasing start-studded albums.

Every music producer has their own unique methods, strengths and skills, but the greatest producers are often multi-talented musicians who can envision every element of a song and know how to put all the pieces together. The top music producers play a pivotal role in creating the end product and often do a little bit of everything. They perform, program, write, engineer, arrange instrumentation, create sounds, find samples and guide vocalists in a way that will bring the artists to work to the next level.

Some of the biggest producers are performers in their own right, but we don’t always realise which songs they helped create. Today we’re dropping you a list of the most successful producers, for every number 1 selling album in recent times at least one of these legends was involved. Together they have created music which was been streamed billions of times and they’ve been nominated and won several Grammy’s creating the music for artists such as Kanye West, Dua Lipa, Camilla Ceballo, Post Malone and so many others. We’ve included the likes of pop golden stars Mark Ronson, Andrew Watt, Max Martin and Stargate to Hip-hip royalty such as Rick Rubin, Metro Boomin, Pharrell Williams and Scott Storch.


Andrew Watt

Andrew Watt is one of modern pop music’s golden stars. At just 29-years-old he’s written, produced and performed on records from global icons including Post Malone, Avicii, Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Ozzy Ozborne, Camilla Ceballa, Cardi B, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez.

Watt’s first break came when he secured an internship with The Roots. Watt’s unique skillset comes from his ability to add infectious guitars and imagine unrealised collaborations bring artists to another level. He’s gone on to have his claim to billions of streams from many of the biggest artists in the industry. In 2018 his work was impressively nominated for no less than 5 awards at the Grammy’s.


His diverse catalogue of pop smashes includes global hits such as Camilla Ceballo’s ‘Senorita’ and Justin Bieber’s ‘Let Me Love You’. Other works he’s produced include Post Malone’s ‘Stay’ and ‘Over Now’ off Beerbongs & Bentleys, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Doin Time’ off Norman Fucking Rockwell!, Cardi B’s ‘Thru Your Phone off Invasion of Privacy and five songs off Rita Ora’s album Pheonix.

While he’s mostly worked behind the scenes he’s also been part of a band, featured as a credited artist under watt on Post Malone’s ‘Burning Man’ under which he also released a solo EP ‘Ghosts In My Head’ back in 2015.


Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin is not only one of the most important producers of the last decade, but all time. He was named one of Times “Most Influential People in the World” and in its height of influence; MTV named him “The Most Important Producer Of The Last 20 Years”. Having begun his career in the 80’s he’s continuously been involved in songs that have broken records and put artists on the map. In total Rubin has been nominated for a whopping 23 Grammy’s, 8 of which he won.

Rubin’s credited as one of the figures that popularized hip-hop and he co-founded the world-famous Def Jam with Russel Simmons – under which they launched the career of N.W.A. Among Rubin’s discography, you can find productions for LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Aerosmith and U2. His most notable contributions include Jay-z’s ’99 Problems’, Red Hot Chilli Peppers ‘Californication’ and System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’.

In the last decade, Rick Rubin has continued to prove his golden touch working with artists such as Angus & Julia Stone, Eminem, Linkin Park and James Blake. Some of the most notable projects in the 2010s include Lana Del Rey’s Paradise, Adele’s 21, Eminem’s Revival, Lady Gaga’s Artpop as well as Kanye West’s albums Yeezus and The Life Of Pablo.


Max Martin

Regarded as the king of pop, Max Martin rose to prominence in the second half of the 1990s. His discography boasts 23 number-one Billboard Hot 100 songs, most of which he either produced or co-produced. Notable works from Martin include Katy Perry’s chart-topping ‘I Kissed a Girl’, Britney Spears’s iconic ‘Baby One More Time’, The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’ and NSYNC’s ‘It’s Gonna Be Me’.

Over his career Martin has collected the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award a recording-breaking eleven times, as well as received 22 Grammy Nominations, winning five of them. Other artists he has worked with throughout his long and successful career include the likes of Robyn, Celine Dione, Bon Jovi and Usher.

In the past decade, Martin has worked on monumental artist many times over, among his biggest projects include numerous Taylor Swift albums including Red, 1989 and Reputation, generating hits such as ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘Blank Space’. He’s also worked extensively with The Weeknd on his last two albums leading to songs such as ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and the recent ‘Blinding Lights’. Martin is also a go-to producer for pop music princess Ariana Grande, working on her albums Sweetener, Thank U, Next and Dangerous Woman.


Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is probably the most well-known name on this list of the greatest producers. The American producer is also known worldwide for being a singer, rapper, songwriter, and for his non-musical ventures in fashion and media. To date, he has won 13 Grammy Awards, three of which were for Producer of the Year.

Back in 1994, Williams and fellow musician Chad Hugo created a production duo called The Neptunes which has continued to produce hip hop, pop and R&B music till today. Together they also formed the band called N*E*R*D along with another member, Shay Haley. As part of the Neptunes, Williams has produced albums and singles for Kelis, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Dr.Dre, T.I., Usher, Beyonce, Boyz II Men, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg and Solange among hundreds of others.

As a performer, Williams has also featured on mega-hits such as Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ and Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’, the latter of which he produced. Unlike most pop artists, he almost exclusively produces and performs on his own music, including 2006 album In My Mind and 2014’s Girl which included the commercially successful single ‘Happy’.

In the last decade, Pharrell produced seven of the songs on Ariana Grande’s Sweetener album as well as tracks from Conor Maynard, Migos, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Uzi Vert, 2 Chainz, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Ed Sheeran and Camilla Ceballo. His production work has also been featured in film soundtracks for Despicable Me, Hidden Figures and The Lion King.


Scott Storch

Scott Storch originates from New York, but was raised and spent most of his life in Miami. He’s made a name for himself as the man with the golden keys, and to back that up he has collected 8 Grammy Awards for his work. Storch found his way into the industry as the keyboardist for hip-hop group The Roots, however, he soon realised that life on the road wasn’t for him and opted put his focus and ambitions in the studio.

His first two major production credits were The Roots’ ‘You Got Me’ featuring Erykah Badu and Dr. Dre’s ‘Still D.R.E’, he then went on to produce Mario’s iconic ‘Let Me Love You’, 50 Cent’s ‘Candy Shop’, Beyonce’s ‘Naughty Girl’ and Terror Squad’s ‘Lean Back’. His consistent streak saw him rise to become one of the biggest producers in the music game in the early 2000s, The Game, T.I, Chris Brown, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Pink and Lil Kim were among the other artists he landed productions for.

In 2006 his earnings were on par with the likes of Pharrell and Kanye West and he won ASCAP’s Producer of the year award. However, the fame got to him and he famously picked up an expensive cocaine habit that would end up destroying everything he built and falling into bankruptcy in a well-publicised downfall.

After only working on a couple of songs a year between 2009 – 2016, you might be wondering “why is Storch in this list?”. Well after spending some time in rehab he slowly turned things around and is back working with the industries elite. Since 2017 he’s worked with Russ, Boogie Wit A Hoodie, Ansel Elgort, Trippie Redd and Swae Lee, Roddy Ricch, Fate Joe and Tory Lanez.

Before 6ix9ine’s arrest, they dropped a track together and Storch was revealed to be working on the new album – which will likely now see the light of day since 6ix9ine’s release and is rumoured to have played a part on the controversial stars latest hit ‘GOOBA’. Furthermore last year 50 Cent shared a picture of them together saying they are back in the studio, and Storch also penned Russ & TY Dollar $ign’s latest release and announced he’s got a new song coming with Tyga and Ozuna.


Mark Ronson

Mark Ronson is a British–American musician, DJ, singer, songwriter, and record producer. With seven Grammy Awards to his name and the who’s who of pop listed as collaborators, he’s earned a spot on this list without a doubt. Between the start of his career and 2010, his credits include Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ and ‘Rehab’, Adele’s ‘Cold Shoulder’, Estelle’s ‘Magnificent’ as well as works with Nas, Robbie Williams, Rhymefest, Solange and Daniel Merriweather.

Over the past decade he’s continued his hit-streak, known for his collaborative work on the Bruno Mars featuring ‘Uptown Funk’, and production on Dua Lipa’s ‘IDGAF’, Adele’s ‘Lay Me Down’, Action Bronson’s ‘Mr. Wonderful’, as well as Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’ from feature film A Star Is Born. His work has also appeared on the official soundtracks for movies such as Jungle Book, Crazy Rich Asians, Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad, Mortdecai and Arthur.

In 2019 he put out his solo album Late Night Feelings which featured artists such as Lykke Li, King Princess, Camilla Ceballo, Alicia Keys, Yebba and Miley Cyrus. In the same year, he also formed part of a new group called Silk City with Diplo which has released features from Dua Lipa, Daniel Merriweather, Mapei, GoldLink and Desiigner.


Metro Boomin

Leland Tyler Wayne, professionally known as Metro Boomin is the youngest producer to make this list and the only one to have started within the last decade. While still in high school he made his first moves working with Atlanta rising rap stars such as Future, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, and Migos. Forbes called him “easily one of the most in-demand hitmakers in the world” in 2017 and today continues to pump out catchy beats for rap’s biggest players.

His early productions include ILoveMakonnen’s ‘Tuesday’ and Drake & Future’s collaboration ‘Jumpman’, these paved the way for Metro to become as in demand as he is today. Since then he’s been on fire with production duties for chart-topping records such as Migos’ ‘Bad and Boujee’, Future’s ‘Mask Off’, Post Malone and Quavo’s diamond-certified ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Tunnel Vision’ by Kodak Black.

Proving his own star power he has also often been featured as an artist on full-length collaborations, including 21 Savage’s Savage Mode, Nav’s Perfect Timing and Gucci Mane’s DropTopWop. Using his industry network he also pulled together some of his greatest collaborators for his own album Not All Heroes Wear Capes, it featured Travis Scott, Swae Lee, Young Thug, Drake, Gunna and more.  


Stargate

Norwegian powerhouse duo Stargate made up of Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen have earned their place in this list for their work in R&B, Pop & Hip-Hop. The duo who are now based in Los Angeles have received a whopping 17 Grammy nominations, winning four of them.

They have produced or written for legendary artists such as Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Nas, Chris Brown, Khalid, Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, Wiz Khalifa, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Normani, Mis-Teeq, Celine Dion, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Smith, Ne-Yo, Katy Perry, Coldplay, P!nk, Sia, Whitney Houston, Charli XCX, Trey Songz and many more

In the past decade they have been credited with global charting songs such as Julia Micheals ‘Issues’, Katy Perry ‘Fireworks’, Wiz Khalifa’s ‘Black & Yellow’, Rihanna’s ‘Drunk On Love’, ‘Run Up’ by Major Lazer featuring Nicki Minaj & Party Nextdoor, Sam Smith’s ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ and Coldplay’s ‘Hymn For The Weekend’.

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