THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers
This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The 34-year-old X Factor vocal producer -- and mastermind behind Britney Spears' "If U Seek Amy," Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat" and multiple One Direction hits including 2012's "Live While We're Young" -- is currently in the studio with the series' fourth-place finishers Emblem3, executive producing their debut album under his newly formed Syco imprint, Mr. Kanani.
But while Kotecha might be new to the label-head thing, he's a vet when it comes to creating infectious pop pleasures. Among his crowning achievements? One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful," which Kotecha wrote for his wife when she complained of feeling "ugly." "I was like, 'No, you look beautiful. You don't know how beautiful you look,' and then I was like, 'Oh crap! That's a good song. Hold on!' and I wrote it down," he recalls with a chuckle. "That's a couple of Valentine's Days and Christmas presents already there. If I ever forget one day, I'll just be like, 'Hey, remember 'What Makes You Beautiful'?"