Grammy week has arrived! We’ve made cheat sheets on all the best producer nominees, so you can impress the guests at your Grammy party. Read up on Max Martin below, then check out the full series here.
#1. Twenty two is an important number for Martin
Nope, not (just) because he co-wrote Taylor Swift’s “Twenty Two.” But because that’s the number of Billboard #1 hits Martin has racked up to date. Max Martin is one of the trio of high-flying Scandinavian producers (Shellback and Stargate are the other two) that has dominated the pop charts with catchy records for more than a decade now. Together, Martin, Shellback, and Stargate have 42 Billboard number #1 hits to their names
#2. It all started with a metal band
Martin began his musical career as a vocalist in a metal group called It’s Alive. In 1985, he was signed with Cheiron Records and was mentored by Denniz Pop, the Swedish producer heralded as “invent[or] of modern pop.” Pop recognized Martin’s talent and hired him as an in-house writer and producer for the label. The rest is history.
#3. His hooks have been stuck in your head for decades
Max Martin is a master of melodies. Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” Backstreet Boys’ “Quit Playing Games with My Heart,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone,” Katy Perry’s “California Gurl,” Taylor Swift’s “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” (which we’re listening to right now because we forgot how ridiculously good it is), The Weeknd’s “I Can’t Feel My Face” — all of these inescapably catchy melodies sprung from Martin’s mind.
#4. He’s as well-versed in reading body language as he is in writing verses
How does Martin know if he’s written a hit? It’s in the way you move. “People who lose their concentration give themselves away very quickly,” Martin said in an interview with a Swedish magazine, Di Weekend. “If they start fiddling with their phones as the second verse kicks in, there may be something about the tune that wasn’t good enough.”