Ester Dean Wrote Half of Your Favorite Pop Songs
At this very moment, some starstruck young fan is probably telling Katy Perry how inspirational her lyrics are to her and how she changed her life, etc. And Katy is probably saying something to the effect of, "The pleasure was all mine, peasant!" before rolling off in her motorcade. Neither Katy nor the fan are acknowledging that the person who provided those inspirational words wasn't the singer, but the songwriter -- a person whose name is completely unknown to virtually all of us. Well, for probably half of the huge songs you can remember from the last eight years, that person has been Ester Dean. Oh, and this is the job she pretty much got right out of high school.
J. Everette Perry
McDonald's wasn't hiring, so she settled on changing the face of millennial pop instead.
Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass"? Not only did Dean write it, she's featured in the chorus. Selena Gomez's "Come and Get It"? Also Dean. Usher, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Sean Kingston, Kelly Rowland, Gucci Mane, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Ludacris, and Cradle of Filth (probably) -- all of these artists have at least one Ester Dean-penned hit in their repertoire.
"We'll have you poppin' and lockin' right before we lock you in a coffin."
Her specialty, being a pop songwriter, is the "hook," the catchy-as-hell musical phrase that burrows into the listeners' skulls instantaneously and requires a lobotomy to remove. Katy Perry's "Firework," perhaps the most famous song by one of the most famous women on the planet? Dean hooked the shit out of that track, which made its rapid rise to the top of the charts almost a mere formality.
At around the same time, a more R-rated Dean concocted the Rihanna smash "S&M" -- a moving ode to bondage. Dean's demo of the song, by the way, makes us think Rihanna owes more to her than a quick thank-you note for introducing her to the finer points of whips and chains.