18 Jan R&B Songwriters
Our Favorite R&B Songwriters of 2018
2018 had a strong showing in the R&B (rhythm and blues) genre.
Talented songwriters and performers teamed up to create some truly memorable, soulful hits. Let’s look at the year’s hottest songs and give credit where it’s due to the best R&B songwriters of 2018!
Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai, and Dijon McFarlane
2018 saw the debut of English artist Ella Mai. Although only 24 years old, her maturity shines through her soulful voice, especially on her single “Boo’d Up.” Though hardly the only standout track she released this year (“Trip” was released in September and has been topping the R&B charts ever since), “Boo’d Up” has been nominated for Best R&B Song and Song of the Year by the Grammys.
Jermaine Cole, Miguel Pimentel, and Salaam Remi
Grammy-winning artist Miguel (for “Adorn” in 2012) has been nominated multiple times before and since. Although Miguel is an R&B songwriter, he clearly enjoys collaborating with performers and songwriters who specialize in other genres. “Come Through and Chill” features rapper J. Cole with production by esteemed producer Salaam Remi. The result is an (unsurprisingly) chill track that loops a record-fuzz beat against Miguel’s somber vocals.
Donald Glover and Ludwig Göransson
The more recent work of Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, has been igniting the hip hop world with his politically charged lyrics and spitfire delivery. Although he’s no stranger to experimenting with other styles, we see a much more subdued Glover with the hazy atmosphere of “Feels Like Summer” from his Summer Pack EP. One listen and you’ll agree that he’s continuing to show great skill as an R&B songwriter.
Darhyl Camper Jr., H.E.R., and Justin Love
The mysterious H.E.R., whose identity has been revealed to be 21-year-old Gabriella “Gabi” Wilson, has been making a solid run as a prolific R&B music composer, with top R&B songwriters such as Darhyl “Hey DJ” Camper Jr. lending their talents to her various EPs. Her hard work has paid off – she is nominated for five Grammys, including Album of the Year. Want to hear what the well-deserved hype is about? Check out “Focus,” a smoky single that is currently dominating the R&B charts.
Paul Boutin, Toni Braxton, and Antonio Dixon
There’s not a person working in the R&B world who doesn’t know the name Toni Braxton. With a career that spans nearly 30 years, Braxton is among the elite class of rhythm and blues artists who are still making hits. The sultry, yet effortlessly catchy “Long As I Live” encapsulates the best of what the genre has to offer. Braxton’s powerful vocals soar over a steady beat, backed by a melodious choir and supported by an emotional guitar solo outro. The song, written by Braxton, Paul Boutin, and Antoine Dixon, is nominated for a Grammy.
Drake, Shane Lindstrom, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Dennis Coles, Robert Diggs, Gary E. Grice, Marvin Hamlisch, Lamont Hawkins, Lauryn Hill, Jason Hunter, Russell Jones, Clifford Smith, Corey Woods, Orville Hall, Phillip Price
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Drake in this list. Sure, the Grammy Award-winning artist is more considered to be a hip-hop artist, but he weaves elements of R&B and other genres into his music to great effect. Although he came into his own as an R&B songwriter on his 2011 album, Take Care, which was infused with the kind of smoky atmosphere the genre is known for, he hasn’t lost that same sense of style in the seven years since. His latest release, Scorpion, boasts 25 tracks that culminate into an offering as broad as Drake’s stylistic influences. Listen to the B-side for a taste of his more somber side, especially the Grammy-nominated “Nice For What.”
And just FYI, the 61st Annual Grammy Awards are February 10, 2019.
You might also like these related blogs on top songwriters:
- Meet Today’s Pop Songwriters
- All-Time Greatest Rock and Roll Songwriters
- Today’s Best Rap & Hip-Hop Songwriters
- Today’s Top Broadway Musical Composers
About us: Foxhedge Music is a management company and recording studio located in historic Leipers Fork. Our mission is to support and encourage songwriters. We believe they are the back-beat of Music City, while we continue to invest our time and resources in the Music City community. Through the Music City SongStar Songwriting Contest, we want to give songwriters a chance to have their music heard. We’re believers in creativity, chasing dreams and getting the chance to pursue your passion. Need inspiration? Explore Secrets to Better Songwriting or How to Sell A Song.
Who’s your favorite songwriter? Leave us your comments.