THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers
This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
After seven years of pumping out Euro-hits for the likes of S Club 7, Blue and Samantha Mumba, Norwegian-based production team Stargate (Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Storleer Eriksen) finally broke ground on U.S. soil when Ne-Yo’s "So Sick" shot to the top of Billboard's Hot 100. "Ne-Yo wrote the lyrics in 20 minutes, and the moment he sang it back to us was the moment that we knew we had our first real hit," Hermansen recalls. "We came to America very humble and we didn't come to conquer. We weren't sure if we really had what it took to make it on U.S. radio."
History would prove otherwise, with Stargate laying the beats for tracks including Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music," Katy Perry's "Firework" and Wiz Khalifa's Super Bowl 2012 anthem "Black and Yellow." "They're all different and we love them all for different reasons," says Hermansen, declining to pick favorites. But cursory observation suggests that Rihanna has been their biggest success story, with nine top 10 hits in five years. Among them: "Unfaithful," "Rude Boy," "What's My Name?" and "S&M." "We've seen her grow up from this 17-year-old, wide-eyed girl to a worldwide superstar," says Hermansen. "That is the main reward, I would say, in addition to just doing decoration of her music."Click here to read THR's complete Pop's Top 35 Hitmakers list.