Ed Sheeran helped pop stars like Taylor Swift and One Direction pen some hits, and he is hardly alone. Most songs on the radio have multiple writers. Sometimes this includes the person singing, and sometimes not. In fact, Music Week magazine analyzed the Top 100 songs of 2016 and determined it took an average of 4.53 people to write a hit song! It might seem confusing to have so many people work on one track but there is usually one person who writes the bulk of the song, including the melody and key parts of the chorus. This person is called a “topliner.” But after that, people who contribute things such as a certain instrument line, lyrical edits, or even if they are just in the room when the songs are recorded can all get credit! Most artists limit how many people are credited because when it comes time to get paid each person is compensated for their level of contribution. Just because the creativity is spread around doesn’t make the song any less authentic though. It took nine people to write Sheeran’s hit “Galway Girl!” He collaborated with Irish folk musicians to give the song an authentic pub feel, but anyone who knows Sheeran’s trademark lyrical style can tell the song fits his repertoire perfectly.

Sheeran’s gamble paid off, landing him his record deal that lead to his major label debut. His experience playing so many shows taught him to work hard, be humble , and never take success for granted.


a star is born

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