As careers in songwriting go, Makeba Rid-Woods’ is a boxy one to top. Back aboriginal starting out as a songwriter/producer in 2005, she’s accounting or produced chart-topping hits for Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Selena Gomez, Toni Braxton, Eminem, T.I., Solange Knowles, Rita Ora, Kellis, Jessica Simpson, Fantasia, Katharine McPhee, Michelle Williams and several others. This accomplished summer, actuality accompanist Koryn Hawthorne took Rid-Woods’ “Won’t He Do It” to the #1 atom on the Billboard Actuality chart, added accretion the songwriter’s arresting ability beyond the music industry.
In the deathwatch of the Billboard Hot 100 success of “All I Have” by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J, which Rid-Woods co-wrote at the age of 20, she was active to her aboriginal publishing accord with EMI Music Publishing by Sean “Puffy” Combs and nicknamed “Girl Wonder” for her active tenacity. Later active by Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s characterization and assembly house, Rid-Woods spent a decade penning and bearing some of her bigger hits, cementing her appalling cachet in the business. Added recently, the GRAMMY appointee is the music ambassador abaft two acknowledged shows on the FOX network, Lee Daniels’ Star and Empire.
BMI afresh bent up with Rid-Woods to try to accumulate the blueprint for her success.
You’ve accounting hits for some of the bigger names in the industry. Acquaint us a bit about that journey. It’s article that I’ve formed abundantly adamantine for and sacrificed for. Once I wrote my aboriginal hit for Jennifer Lopez, I anticipation aggregate would abatement into abode bound and my career would booty off. It did not. It was absolutely a action and a journey. Those relationships took time and accomplishment to breed and nurture. I spent a lot of time alive on my craft, recording with exceptional producers and musicians and developing my own autograph style. I was sleeping on flat floors and surrounding myself with those who were added accomplished than I was, at that time. Consistently acquirements and gluttonous to be better, added and more. After J.LO, it was a few years afore I met Jay Brown and Ty-Ty of Roc Nation, who afflicted my activity and alien me to a adolescent Rihanna. Once we hit it off and began authoritative hits together, aggregate aloof coiled into assorted successes and hit annal from there.
Was there a distinct allotment of music that set you on your aisle and assertive you to be a songwriter?When What’s the 411 by Mary J. Blige came out in 1993, that anatomy of assignment aloof affected me in such a way that I capital to appulse bodies through song. I capital bodies to feel article the way I acquainted alert to every song on that album. I was a huge fan of Kenny “G-Love” Green of the accumulation Intro. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED the Intro album, too, and I apparent that he was autograph for Mary at that time afore he anesthetized on. The accomplished Uptown Era, aboriginal 90’s aloof did it for me, man!
What inspires you and area do you get your agreeable account from?I grew up in what, to me, was the greatest era of music, the 80’s and 90’s, and I was aggressive by a lot of artists from the 70’s that my grandmother acclimated to accept to about the house. Artists like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack (one of my favorites) and Bill Withers. I was there to see the bearing of real, accurate R&B stars that shaped and afflicted the ability of music. Back Andre Harrell launched Uptown Annal and alien Mary J. Blige and Jodeci to the world, he alone shaped MY future. I was so aggressive by aggregate about those artists that it absolutely let me apperceive that I would accompany a career in music. Back I was 13, I told my mom I would be active in New York by the time I was 21. I was so afraid to get there and get my alpha in music and alive in that apple that I would apprehend about in their songs, I accomplished academy at 19 and fabricated a beeline for New York City. I anticipate Devante Swing of Jodeci is my bigger agreeable inspiration. To see addition at that time so adolescent with so abounding agreeable ability of writing, arranging, producing, performing, it batten to my body in such a way that I capital to chase the aforementioned path. The music confused me in a way that affectionate of ashore to my soul. To this day, I can’t accept to assertive songs because the homesickness of those canicule is aloof too heavy. I appetite to go aback to those times. But I’ve consistently strived to address songs that move bodies that way—to get ashore to your affection and apperception and become the soundtrack of a accurate moment in life. My agreeable account appear from abounding altered emotions, I would say.
To your mind, what are the key elements of a hit song today? Repetition, a addictive melody an communicable beat. I feel like it doesn’t booty abundant to accomplish a hit today. But a archetypal song is an abiding hit that could appear out today—or 15 years ago—and still move bodies the aforementioned way. Those are the blazon of songs I strive to write. I anticipate if Ella Mai’s song “Boo’d Up” came out ten years ago, it still would’ve been a hit because it’s a archetypal sound. I apperceive for a actuality that if “Me Myself and I” by Beyoncé came out appropriate now for the aboriginal time in 2018, it would still be a hit. I anticipate it would still move bodies the aforementioned way it did 12 years ago. It’s those archetypal hits that beggarly the most.
What is your artistic action like? Prayer first, abstraction antecedent hits, artists, songs and let the music allege to me. I additionally try to accumulate it fun and light-hearted.
How do you about-face apparatus from songwriting to producing?The songwriting carefully consists of the agreeable content. The assembly ancillary involves the sounds, the instruments, the levels of assertive instruments and the furnishings we use on the vocals. Songwriting is article I was built-in with and accomplishing anytime back I was four years old. Assembly is article I’ve been alive on and acquirements added about over the contempo years.
How would you alarm your access to production?Sometimes I’ll accept an abstraction of the melody I appetite the synth to comedy and how the exhausted should bounce, and the specific sounds I appetite to use in a song afore I accept the lyrics and song concept. Bearing is a absolutely fun artistic action for me. I consistently aggregation up with a assembly accomplice to accompany these account to life. What’s the abstruse to a abounding producer/artist relationship?Nurture the artisan to be their best. Don’t try to attempt with them. Advice them apprentice to be bigger at their craft. Accomplish the artisan become your bigger fan. After all, you’re giving them article they didn’t accept afore you. Whether it’s a complete or a mindset they didn’t have. Whether it’s giving the aplomb they charge or giving them a hit record. Become a acquaintance and a supporter, not a competitor.
What was the best allotment of admonition you were anytime given?I met Jay-Z back I was in academy backstage at a Bad Boy concert. My younger, greener cocky told him, “I wanna be aloof like you back I get my attempt at this.” He said to me, “No, you’re gonna be bigger than me. Assignment adamantine and strive to be better.” That consistently ashore with me. That you consistently appetite to set your goals college than the best.
Who is your dream collaboration? Mary J. Blige. It would be a dream appear accurate to absolutely address a song for her. I adulation her like I’ve accepted her all my life…well, I have, in a way. I grew up with her. I grew up alert to her music. As she grew on every activity she released, so did I. Her music has been such a huge allotment of my activity for so long. And John Mayer. John Mayer has to be my best beloved songwriter. To get in the flat with him would be… unimaginable!!! Aloof incredible.
Who coined your nickname, “Girl Wonder”?My acquaintance and aboriginal songwriting assistant Curtis Richardson acclimated to alarm me that. He was the aboriginal one to acquaint me I had a absolute approaching in autograph songs. He would accomplish jokes because bodies would say I was in assorted studios in altered cities at the aforementioned time. I acclimated to assignment relentlessly day and night, traveling all hours of the night to be at altered flat sessions. Aback afresh It appeared that I was all places at all times, I guess.
What are you currently alive on?Working on autograph added hits. I absolutely wanna assignment with Arianna Grande and SZA.
Describe the role BMI has played in your career appropriately far.Well, I’ve been with BMI for 15 years. They accept been trusted, reliable ancestors for me. Back Wardell Malloy active me abounding years ago, not alone did we anatomy a close, able accord that blossomed so abounding hits because of the arrangement aural the BMI company, but we additionally became accompany as well. And anybody at BMI from Catherine Brewton to Barbara Cane and anybody in amid accurate me over and over afresh whenever I bare advice with anything. They championed every success and accomplished a accord with me that has become unbreakable. Because of our abiding relationship, I’ve been able to do things that helped me advance and survive in this industry.
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