He rose to prominence in the late s after making a string of hit singles such as Britney Spears ' " Martin is the songwriter with the third-most number-one singles on the chart, behind only Paul McCartney 32 and John Lennon As a child, Martin was a student of Sweden's public music-education program, and once said he had "public music education to thank for everything". As a teenager he sang in a variety of bands before joining a glam-style metal band called It's Alive in as their singer and frontman. Martin eventually dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music with his band under the nickname "Martin White". In they participated in the national rock championships and played as the in-house band at a disco in Cyprus. The band got a breakthrough in , as Dave Constable of Megarock Records offered them to make a demo-record. The later debut album was originally pressed in 1, copies and later on given away as a free cover tape in the UK by the Metal Forces magazine. After recording their second album Earthquake Visions , they released three singles in conjunction with the record and toured through Europe in supporting Kingdom Come. Earthquake Visions eventually sold a disappointing 30, copies, despite being released in as many as 30 countries.
But, while Lennon and McCartney are universally acknowledged as geniuses, few outside the music business have heard of Max Martin. Presumably this is because Martin writes all of his songs for other people to sing. The fame that Lennon and McCartney achieved by performing their work will never be his, which no doubt is fine with Martin. He still gets the publishing. That the Swede happens to bring to the table an exceptionally large dollop of Jantelagen , the Scandinavian disdain for individual celebrity, makes him especially well-suited to his vocation. Still, even for a Nordic, it is a powerful act of self-denial to forego the pleasure and, yes, the fame and attendant adulation of recording your own songs, and give all your beautiful tunes to other people, who become famous instead. This path is especially difficult when you possess a beautiful singing voice of your own, which Martin does. And yet Martin is known to insist that the artists he works with sing his songs exactly the way he sings them on the demos. They are also among the few people in the world who have actually heard the originals. Countless self-proclaimed performers on YouTube sing Max Martin songs, but there is not a single publicly available video or audio recording of Martin performing his own stuff.
Since breaking through in the late Nineties, the Swedish songwriter-producer has co-written 22 Billboard Hot number one hits — more than anyone, bar John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The results are sometimes audacious The verse is a hook, then the chorus is another hook. He's always talking about melody and striving to find that thing that makes it magical. At the same time, we know that Martin likes to adhere to certain self-prescribed songwriting rules. So, even if the Martin hit-making approach is not quite a formula, what are some of the secrets of his success? Baby One More Time. Swedish singer-songwriter Sophia Somajo, who records as Soso and has co-written hits for Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera with Martin, says he has always stood out from the crowd because he has different influences to many of his peers — among them rock music. Like, if you would take the riff out of a P! This use of rock riffs-as-pop hooks that he pioneered makes sense when you consider his roots.
Now, 30 of his songs are getting a second life from Shakespeare. E ven in a completely empty theatre, Max Martin manages to disappear, choosing to perch himself on the back row, almost completely hidden in shadow. It seems inconceivable that someone so unassuming could have dominated pop music for more than 20 years, but the statistics speak for themselves. Twenty-two went to No 1, with 12 also topping the UK charts. Collectively, these have sold more than m copies globally, earning Martin an Oscar nomination, five Grammys and the Polar Music prize previously won by Bob Dylan and Patti Smith.
Martin hardly ever gives interviews. One rock star due to get the Max treatment assumed the quiet man he had met was an engineer and asked him when Martin was due to arrive. If a feminist retelling of a Shakespeare soundtracked by Spears sounds like the work of someone who has just had a bump to the head, well, that is because it is.
As well as getting involved in the auditions and workshops, Martin also recorded the cast album. If you have done it all, your songs turning Swift, Perry and Grande into superstars, where do you go next?
Discerning that Sandberg had an ear for pop music, PoP — a fan of pseudonyms — rechristened him Max Martin and employed him as a songwriter and producer at his Stockholm powerhouse, Cheiron studios.
The former glam rocker Martin brought an edge of bombast and some weapons-grade melodies, soon employed on records for the Backstreet Boys and the British boyband Five. Baby One More Time, which he wrote singlehandedly, got to No 1 in just about every country it was released. But it almost came to nothing. That, to me, is as powerful. He favours simplicity, repetition and instant familiarity over unnecessary complexity, but balks at the idea that his songwriting is governed by strict rules. Did you allow yourself a little high five in the studio when you linked those two songs?
Britney Spears, for instance. We had conversations with her about what she wanted to do and what she wanted to say. Nonetheless, the world of pop songwriting and production is still dominated by men, easily characterised as ruthless svengalis. Would he like to see more female producers? And then we watch their lives fall apart in front of our eyes for doing something amazing.
He sighs. Does he have similar concerns this time? Also, popular culture is supposed to move. One-sided discussions are had about red carpets, photographers and local press, with Martin looking increasingly nervous. The cast recording is released on 15 November. Baby One More Time The shamelessly provocative video helped her break through, but the song is what matters: one second and three piano notes was all it took to become unforgettable. Strident, compressed guitars now underpinned his biggest hits, including another breakup masterpiece with Kelly Clarkson, as well as a string of songs with Pink.
A string of brilliantly varied hits ensued. This cut with Sam Smith is a beautiful example. Pop and rock. Michael Cragg. Max Martin. Fri 25 Oct Read more.