Let’s take a look at and celebrate some of the most significant women in music, the figures that lay behind the artists upfront.

Making a stamp on the music industry is an exceptionally difficult task, let alone leaving your mark on some of the biggest hits and artists of the last century. 

We are looking into four incredible and influential female songwriters, who may have written the songs we love most without us even recognising their faces.

Cathy Dennis

Image credit: Official Charts

Before becoming a songwriting power house, Dennis was a star herself with the success of her debut album Move To This in 1990 which contained four Billboard Top 10 singles. 

Her songwriting success began with the co-writing of Bumper to Bumper, the B side to the Spice Girls’ multi-platinum song Wannabe. Since then, she has writing credits on eight UK number one singles, five platinum records as well as six Ivor Novello Awards and two Grammys. She also featured on the Q (magazine) list of the 100 most influential people in music, and won the UK music industry’s Woman of the Year Award.

Our Favourite Songs?

Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue 

Toxic – Britney Spears 

Reach – S Club 7 

About You Now – Sugababes 

I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry

Diane Warren

Image credit: AP News

Born in California in 1956, Diane Warren is a multi-award winning songwriter and publisher. She has written 9 number one singles and over 30 ‘Top 10’ singles, and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She also owns her only Music Publishing company called Realsongs to look after her rights, as well as running The Diane Warren Foundation that is a charity organisation that has aided in animal rights, music education and enrichment for those suffering.

Our Favourite Songs?

If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher

I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Rhythm Of The Night – DeBage

Un-Break My Heart – Toni Braxton

Only Love Can Hurt Like This – Paloma Faith

Ester Dean

Image credit: Universal Music Publishing Group

Starting off as a solo artist, Dean released their debut single Drop It Low in 2009 which stayed in Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart until the end of the year. Although this is the only chart success they received as a lead artist, it led to their commercial breakthrough as a songwriter.

Dean co-wrote a number of singles on the Rihanna Album, Loud and contributed to multiple top hits in the early 2010s. Their songs have been nominated for 25 major awards and won 23 of them, including 8 BMI Awards in a single year.

Our Favourite Songs:

Come & Get It – Selena Gomez

What’s My Name? – Rihanna (feat. Drake)

Firework – Katy Perry

Super Bass – Nicki Minaj

Countdown – Beyoncé

Carole King 

Image credit: AARP

Before becoming a prominent solo artist in her own right, King and Gerry Goffin (her partner at the time) were one of the most prolific songwriting duos of the 1960s. She wrote or co-wrote over 100 hits on the Billboard Top 100 and over 60 songs that have reached the UK Charts.

She rose to the spotlight after the release of her debut album Tapestry, and has since been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won four Grammy Awards.

Our Favourite Songs:

You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King

The Loco-Motion – Kylie Minogue

Take Good Care Of My Baby – Bobby Vee 

Chains – The Beatles 

(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin 

Do you see yourself more as a songwriter than a singer? 

Being a songwriter for the stars has always been a huge part of the music industry, with many musicians from Elvis Presley to Beyonce having songs written for them.  

Although some songwriters may choose to sell their songs for a flat fee, many still keep a hold of their Publishing Royalties – which means they will always receive royalties for their composition being played.

If you’re a songwriter and you want to see if you’re eligible for RouteNote’s Publishing service, you can find out more here!

If you want to learn more about gender disparity in the music industry, you can find out more with RouteNote Elevate here!