2015 was a pretty big year in music. Across the board and between genres, 2015 had some of the biggest hits that the music scene has ever seen, both financially and overall popularity. Adele made the world stop with “Hello”, Drake had everyone dancing to the “Hotline Bling”, Taylor Swift continued to take over the world with her album 1989, and Gwen Stefani got back to the art of writing songs about being the jilted lover in “Used to Love You”. Of the thousands of songs that hit the airwaves last year in the US, UK, and Australia, a small percentage went on to hit the Billboard Top 100. Even fewer still were honored with a Top 10 nod. Of all of those singles that were released in 2015, two (that’s right, only two) of the Billboard Top 10 hits of 2015 were written without any outside help. The two that managed to accomplish the impossible were Fetty Wap with “Trap Queen” and Hozier with “Take Me to Church”.
The question is, “What does this tell us?”
It tells us a few things:
1. The artists that created these hits are hugely talented, patient, and knowledgeable in the craft of music writing and producing.
2. They are the exception to the rule.
While it is safe to say that these two artists deserve huge congratulations and acknowledgement for their hit, it must be noted that they are in the stark minority when it comes to successful hit making. While not impossible, your chances of writing and releasing a hit record as an artist are increased significantly when working with a strong team of producers and writers.
Creating a hit is more than just writing a song. Production, engineering, and even co-writing teams are often the difference between a mediocre release and a Top 10 hit. The majority of huge hit makers rely on a team to create the best possible product that will reach the widest audience while staying artistically true to the vision of the musician who wrote the song. While it is great to praise and recognize the two artists who were able to do this monumental feat on their own, it is critical to remember that the reason their accomplishment is gathering any attention at all is because it is so rare. Most successful writers and artists will tell you that it takes a village to create a hit.
Of the thousands of songs that will be produced and released in 2016, will you attempt the impossible and go it alone like Fetty Wap and Hozier? Or will you do what the other 97% of hit making musicians do, and have a team of professionals backing you up?