Some singers were made for the spotlight. Beyonce, Rihanna, Janet, Maxwell, and Jill Scott come to mind. And others, like Stevie Wonder, are able to successfully pen hits for others while creating a catalogue of classics for themselves. But then there are others who are fierce with the pen, but their own musical efforts just aren’t as dope.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my friends about which singers we think should just collect checks from the background. After debating for a while about who was a good performer and who wasn’t, our list included both hit makers and those whose live performances just fall a bit short.
So, shall we?
Keri Hilson: Although she’s written hits for everyone from Mary J. Blige (‘Take Me As I Am”), Omarion (“Ice Box”), and Britney Spears (“Gimme More”), Keri’s live show and solo efforts leaves much to be desired. Her last album saw a sexed-up Hilson p-popping for the camera, and just looking a little bit desperate to keep up. Hilson is clearly very talented…with a pen…and should focus on writing hits and cashing checks.
The Dream: I know many will not agree, but The Dream just doesn’t do it for me as a solo artist. But as a writer? He’s winning! At just 34, he’s written for a who’s who of the entertainment business. Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Diddy, and Rihanna have all turned to Terius for his services. If he wanted he could become the Quincy Jones (ok, maybe I’m reaching) of hip-hop, and I totally think he should focus on that…not singing.
R. Kelly: R. Kelly’s talents are undeniable. The man who gave us ’12 Play’ and ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ can definitely hold his own on the mic. And his pen is definitely mighty as well. R. Kelly’s written hits for Maxwell (“Fortunate”), Michael Jackson (“You Are Not Alone”), Aaliyah (“Back & Forth”), B2K (“Bump Bump Bump”), and so many more. However, his personal life and those pesky rape allegations (and video!) make me wish Robert would fade to black.
Who are some singer/songwriters you wish would fade into the background?
*By the way, the above was an opinion piece and doesn’t necessary reflect the views of Clutch magazine.