What would the music industry be without Black music? Or rather, what would it be without Black women?
Across eras in music, Black women — especially those more behind the scenes — have been the glue that holds things down. We love to sing along with our favorite artists. However, credit also needs to be rightfully given to the songwriters, producers, and composers who are a key reason why we blast our favorite tracks on YouTube, streaming platforms, and beyond. From infectious hooks to a catchy bass, it’s all a part of the formula to a smash record.
Take a look at some of our favorite Black women behind the charts — who majority also have successful careers as artists — that AfroTech has our radar on.
Nija Charles’ pen is undoubtedly one of the coldest in the game. Starting her road to stardom in her dorm room making beats, the Grammy-winning songwriter hasn’t let her foot off the gas ever since. At just 24-years-old, she has worked with the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cardi B, Ariana Grande, and the list goes on.
Tayla Parx is a part of a dynamic music trio with Ariana Grande and Victoria Monét, but she’s also a force on her own. The Dallas native’s catalog is both heavy and versatile — ranging from co-writing Panic! at the Disco’s “High Hopes” to Khalid and Normani’s “Love Lies.” Parx is a believer in making music personal, so she helps artists bare their souls through lyrics.
For musicians that are in need of tracks that are raw and ethereal, this New Orleans artist is the one to call. Through Ambré’s time in the industry, she’s built strong ties with Kehlani and written for H.E.R — making her a Grammy-award-winning songwriter (Fun fact: She’s also a self-taught musician, making her talent even more impressive).
Picture yourself producing one of Rihanna’s biggest hits. For WondaGurl, the dream is her actual reality. The Canadian producer has worked alongside the global pop star, Mariah Carey, and Drake, to name a few. When the 25-years-old isn’t working with some of the biggest names in the industry, she’s running her own record label and publishing company — Wonderchild Music.
Nova Wav is the definition of a dynamic duo. The Florida natives have been producing and songwriting in the business for over a decade now. Under their belt, they’ve penned for Beyoncé, Jazmine Sullivan, and Teyana Taylor. The three-time Grammy-award-winning musicians co-wrote “Black Parade” — which won “Best R&B Performance” in 2021.
Not only is Tiara Thomas a Grammy-winning songwriter, but she also has snagged an Oscar statuette. Working alongside H.E.R, she co-wrote the 93rd Academy Awards’ Best Original Song “Fight for You.” Over the years, Thomas has closely collaborated with the R&B phenom.
Starrah is a part of the reason why you couldn’t get Normani and Cardi B’s “Wild Side” out of your head last summer. The songwriter and producer has credits scaling back from 2015 including some of the catchiest pop hits like Rihanna’s “Needed Me,” Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You,” and Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage Remix.” While she keeps out of the public eye, Starrah is a certified hitmaker.