Grammy-Winning Musicians Describe Their Writing Process

Grammy-Winning Musicians Describe Their Writing Process

Illustration for article titled Grammy-Winning Musicians Describe Their Writing Process

Whether they are rappers, country singers, or EDM DJs, the best musicians create a profound connection to their listeners through beat, lyric, and rhythm. We asked several Grammy-winning artists to describe their writing process, and this is what they said.

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Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas

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“We’re like, ‘Okay, it’s halftime at a Lakers game and someone’s sitting there eating a pretzel and waiting for the third quarter to start. What should be playing?’”

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Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

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“I take the jingle from an amusement park ride, make it spooky, and then make it the uncomfortable kind of sexy.”

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Skrillex

Skrillex

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“I don’t really know, but I’d like to point out I’ve won one more Grammys than Prince.”

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Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

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“Sometimes I just want to write an evil song, so I drink a six-pack of beer and then repeat whatever Satan tells me.”

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Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

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“Honestly, I’ve been releasing the same three songs since 2012, but nobody seems to notice.”

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Cardi B

Cardi B

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“In 2002, I received an anonymous package containing hundreds of pages of song lyrics. Whenever it’s time for a new album, I just grab a few and send them in to my label.”

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Q-Tip

Q-Tip

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“What do you mean I won a Grammy?”

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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

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“I write a hardcore rap album. The studio fires back with, ‘Ed, you are colonial white.’ So we add some acoustic guitar and make every track a love ballad.”

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Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles

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“If I want to write a really raw, emotional song, I get fired up with a little cage fighting. When I’m in the octagon, no one can silence my primal scream.”

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Billy Joel

Billy Joel

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“I have been trying to come up with a word that rhymes with ‘dance’ since 1993. As soon as I can do that, I’ll start writing new songs again.”

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Jimmy Sturr

Jimmy Sturr

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“No one cares about how I write polka.”

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Beyoncé

Beyoncé

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“I start the majority of my songs with the lyric, ‘I would like a Grammy for this one, please.’ So far it’s worked 28 times.”

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Drake

Drake

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“When I write, I actually do it as my alter-ego: John Trundle, an insurance claims adjuster from Duluth.”

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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift

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“First I make sure I have an ironclad contract signing everything over to my label. Then I write a smash hit they’ll never let go. Works every time.”

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Tekashi 6ix9ine

Tekashi 6ix9ine

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“My team takes care of all that. My role is to exude a ‘fuck around and find out attitude’ while simultaneously snitching on all of my closest confidants.”

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Harry Styles

Harry Styles

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“Walking around the maternity ward is where I get my strongest images. If they’re being honest, I think most songwriters will tell you we’re just failed obstetricians.”

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Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion

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“I always write the clean version first. To me, ‘wet ass pussy’ will never sound as good as ‘wet and gushy.’”

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Phil Collins

Phil Collins

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“I find I do my best work when I’m sad, so I’ll have my team bully me for a few hours and that usually gets me to a dark place.”

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DJ Khaled

DJ Khaled

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“I start with the same basic formula: yell my name, and hire talented musicians to do the actual work. From that point forward, the rest is pretty easy.”

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John Legend

John Legend

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“When I start overthinking things, I like to take a step back and remind myself that anything I say will sound great when I sing it. Listen: Scoobedy boop bap boop. 9/11 was an inside job. See? Doesn’t matter.”

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Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

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“You’d be surprised how easy it is to find a website where you pay someone $200 and they send you an MP3 file.”

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Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts

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“We’ve plagiarized every single song we’ve ever released.”

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