Julia Michaels And Other Artists Who Went From Songwriter To Singer

This year, 2017 iHeartRadio MMVA performer Julia Michaels proved that making the transition from backstage to on stage is totally doable. Before this year, 23-year-old Michaels was mainly known for penning songs performed by other artists, including Ed Sheeran and Fifth Harmony. But she recently released her very first single, “Issues,” and we’re sure that the undeniably catchy tune is a sign of more amazing music to come.

While being able to prove that you’re a good enough musician to work as a lyricist, composer and singer takes a lot of determination, creativity, and talent, Michaels isn’t the first songwriter to eventually make a name as a performer. Here are a few other artists who decided to trade in their notebook and pen for a microphone.


Bruno Mars

It’s hard to remember a time when songs like “Marry You,” “Grenade,” and “That’s What I Like” didn’t exist. But before he started performing his own songs in front of thousands of people at the Super Bowl Halftime Show and dozens of sold-out concerts, Bruno Mars co-wrote and produced tunes like CeeLo Green’s “F–k You,” Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” and Snoop Dogg’s “Young, Wild and Free.”



We’re kind of cheating with this one, since Sia’s technically been writing and releasing her own music since 1997. Before releasing her breakout single “Chandelier” in 2013, however, Sia was best known for having helped write hits for artists like Britney Spears, Beyoncé, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Perhaps most famously, Sia co-wrote Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” an inspirational power ballad that remains a karaoke crowd-pleaser to this day.


Jessie J

Jessie J’s voice is immediately recognizable and undeniably amazing, so it’s difficult to believe that Jessie J wasn’t always putting out music of her own. The “Masterpiece” songstress released her first album Who You Are in 2011, but before that she helped write “I Need This” by Chris Brown, “Repeat” by David Guetta, and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” Yep, that’s right – Jessie J might be responsible for having written the lyrics, “Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign / This is all so crazy / Everybody seems so famous.” Iconic.



It honestly seems like music producer Timabland has more “featured on” credits than any other artist in human history, but he might be in the running for the most co-writing credits too. Since 2002, Timbaland has worked closely with artists like Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, and even pop princess Madonna to write dozens of hits, including “Cry Me a River,” “Promiscuous,” “Rehab” and “4 Minutes.”


Frank Ocean

R&B artist Frank Ocean made waves when he dropped his Grammy-nominated album, Channel Orange, in 2012. In the years leading up to the Channel Orange release, Ocean received writing credits on songs performed by Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys, John Legend and Queen Bey. Ocean’s unique, meaningful lyrics have been praised by both music fans and critics alike, so all that song writing experience clearly paid off.