Music Made Me Do It: The Songwriter – Eg White

How being a songwriter for hire works

I’ve always wondered how being a songwriter for hire works. Starting out, surely you have to write a masterpiece first and find a home for it second. And if you want to give your work of art a good chance of being heard by anyone, you’d better get a superstar to sing it. But how? And how much do you sell your song for? And are some songs worth more than others?

Eg White spent 19 years hustling in this world until he wrote ‘Leave Right Now’ for Will Young. He’s since written songs with and for Adele, Florence and the Machine, James Morrison, Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion, Duffy and loads of others. He’s won two Ivor Novello’s in the process.

I met Eg at his home in West London for him to shed some light on this highly profitable sector of the music industry. We set up in the recording studio he’s built under his house, where he told me why he considers himself a “whore for hire” who shouldn’t earn as much as he does, how ballads are the way to go, originality is only ever accidental and how him and Adele wrote ‘Chasing Pavements’ with ‘Iris’ by the Goo Goo Dolls in mind.

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