The music business, much like music, has no boundaries. And it perfectly explains why there have been several US producers and songwriters who have actually played a large role in contributing to the K-Pop scene. While most may assume that the people behind the K-Pop hits are South Korean musicians, there have been many instances where international producers and songwriters have used their signature sounds to help create a K-Pop hit song.
You can check out some of them below!
Dan August Rigo
August Rigo is a Filipino-Canadian songwriter who has worked with Justin Bieber and Musiq Soulchild. He has made songs for NCT Dream and Boys Republic.
He is currently signed to Sony /ATV.
The veteran R&B hip-hop production team known for working with Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Lil Yachty, Fifth Harmony, Far East Movement, Justine Bieber, Chris Brown, and Iggy Azalea, has produced music for EXO, Red Velvet BoA, NCT 127, and SHINee.
They have been named as one of Top 10 Songwriters and Producers to Watch by Billboard magazine back in 2010.
But they’re actually songwriters and producers to keep an eye out for all the time, not just in 2010, as they’ve been able to create hit after hit and are easily one of the most sought-after musicians in the industry.
Their production credits will literally blow your mind away as they have worked with pretty much every A-list artist, whether US pop or K-Pop, you could imagine.
Born in Newington, Connecticut, USA on October 3rd, 1986, Melanie Joy Fontana is an incredibly brilliant songwriter who has contributed much to not just the US pop music scene but also to the K-Pop industry as well.
Having written music for a handful of world famous artists including Justin Bieber(Home This Christmas), Girls’ Generation (Stay Girls), f(x) (Boom, Bang, Boom), I.O.I(Crush), AOA (Cherry Pop), Britney Spears (Mood Ring), The Chainsmokers (Setting Fire), and BTS (Euphoria), she has definitely built an admirable reputation for herself as one of this generation’s most sought after songwriter.
Veteran producer Teddy Riley, who has often been credited for creating the new jack swing genre, has worked with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, and several other legendary artists.
He produced music for EXO, f(x), SHINee, Girl’s Generation, and Jay Park.
Some notable K-Pop songs he’s responsible for are Girl’s Generation’s ‘The Boys’, EXO’s ‘What Is Love’, and f(x)’s ‘MILK’ and ‘All Night’.
Known best for their hits ‘Roses’, ‘Closer’ and ‘Something Just Like This’, the music production duo has also worked with BTS for the group’s song ‘Best Of Me’.
And the cool part about The Chainsmokers was that they were actually quite close with BTS right before the K-Pop idol group’s phenomenal popularity blew up in the US.
Skrillex’s multi-grammy award winning music career isn’t just limited to his own phenomenal one where he basically monopolized EDM with his signature sounds that made every other producer out there busy figuring out how to mimic.
His music in his own artistic bounds usually sound aggressive with high quality sound design with sublime drum productions, but he doesn’t just make dubstep, electronica, moombahton, reggae, and etc. He also makes pop (Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, ‘Where Are U Now’, ‘Children’, ‘I’ll Show You’) and K-Pop as well.
Skrillex worked with 4Minute on the group’s song ‘Hate’.
MARZ (Paul Thompson) never actually set out to become a K-Pop producer. He quit his job at Silicon Valley and moved to South Korea, with zero knowledge about the country, and took up a job teaching English that ensured a fat pay check back in 2013.
And fast forward seven years later, he became the first ever non-Korean to be signed as an in-house producer for JYP Entertainment. But things didn’t just end there, after leaving the agency due to differences in creative directions and mutual agreement on what the right sound should be for songs, he moved on to another major K-Pop agency, SM Entertainment, where he achieved a major breakthrough, having worked with A-list artists including EXO.
MARZ is unique in the sense that he’s perhaps the only non-Korean producer songwriter who started out by making K-Pop music, as opposed to other non-Korean producers and songwriters who expanded in to K-Pop after having secured their careers in their respective home market.
And now, he runs MARZ Music Group, a production powerhouse that mainly deals with K-Pop agencies and artists as clients.