Grammy-winning songwriter Starrah has long helped others become stars. Now it’s her turn to shine.
The Drake, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Camila Cabello, Nicki Minaj, Halsey and Katy Perry hitmaker recently released his first full album, a natural extension for the self-taught studio prodigy.
“I really like hearing new sounds and experimenting with music,” she says. “I just feel like a little mad scientist in the lab when I put stuff together and see what it feels like.”
The 13-track “Longest Interlude” showcases her mastery of R&B, hip-hop and pop, all delivered in a painfully personal collection that she likens to opening her diary.
“Personally, I feel like the one thing a lot of music lacks right now is just raw emotion and honesty, like vulnerability,” she says. “Everyone wants to be cool. Nobody wants to be vulnerable.
Starrah has enlisted musical royalties to produce help, including James Blake, Skrillex, Boi1da and Nile Rodgers. She recorded some of the songs at Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded. She says it’s all a bit surreal.
“The only time I heard of The Beatles was in music class, so it’s crazy to think I recorded my music in the studio they worked in, with Rodgers – a legend,” she says. “It’s hard to get used to it sometimes, but it’s really cool. It’s like a dream.
She has co-written songs that have over 14 billion streams, including “Havana” by Cabello, “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5, “Fake Love” by Drake, “Now or Never” by Halsey, “What Lovers Do” by SZA and “Swish Swish” by Perry with Nicki Minaj.
More of her songs include The Weeknd’s “Starboy” album “True Colors”, Rihanna’s “Needed Me” and Beyoncé’s “Already” from “Black Is King”. She also worked on several tracks from Madonna’s latest album, “Madame X”.
Starrah won a Grammy this year for working on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix” with Beyoncé. She has already won the 2018 ASCAP Pop Music Songwriter of the Year award, becoming the first woman in nearly two decades. She also landed a spot in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2019.
Not bad for a black, LGBTQ woman in a male-dominated field who worked in public warehouses when she first got noticed. “Seeing her go from public storage to the Forbes list is something no one can take away from her,” says her manager, Nick Jarjour.
She grew up as Brittany Hazzard in a small town in Delaware, the youngest of eight siblings. Music has always been a big part of his life. She used to fall asleep to music and wake up the next morning. “When I was a kid, I played with music all day,” she says.
Starrah experimented with online music programs like FruityLoops and Audacity, watching YouTube tutorials and learning how to loop instrumentals. “Anything I could do to try to learn how to make beats or learn how to make music,” she recalled.
Jarjour remembers hearing Starrah for the first time while listening to an R&B show on college radio. His song “Drank Up” popped up and he immediately spent hours searching his SoundCloud profile.
“From the first second I heard it, chills went through my whole body and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” he says. “It’s really amazing how far she’s come, but it’s no surprise because she had that drive in her from the start.”
His appetite for music is wide. As a child, she was raised on a sonic diet of Britney Spears, Eve, Ruff Ryders and Lil’ Bow Wow. These days, she feeds her “eclectic palate” with everything.
“Honestly, I don’t limit myself to what I listen to,” she says. “One day I might be listening to NBA YoungBoy or Kodak Black. And the next day I’m listening to Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke or Coltrane or Skrillex.
Trust and mutual respect are key whenever Starrah decides to help someone on their song, not the artist’s popularity, and she just hopes for “good vibes.” She is currently working on Normani’s next album and the upcoming animated musical “Century Goddess”.
“When I write for an artist, I feel like it’s important for me to sit down and have a conversation with them and see where they are at in life and what kind of music they want to do,” she said. . “I’m very empathetic, so I can pretty much put myself in that person’s shoes and write, if necessary, for them, from their perspective.”
Despite her impact, she generally avoids the limelight, even preferring to distort photo portraits or partially cover her face. She says she values her privacy and didn’t enter the music industry for fame.
“If you’re thinking about anything other than music, it’s a distraction for me. If you focus on a musically attached personality, it just takes the music away,” she says. “I just feel like that should be the focal point.”