One Direction – but where next? Writers join battle to create boy band's next hits
The search is on for composers to help the X Factor-created act to follow up US success
It is pop's real talent search but it won't be played out on Saturday night television screens. Simon Cowell has challenged music's most successful backroom songwriters to compete for space on the next album by One Direction, the boy band who have become a surprise global phenomenon.
The X Factor-created group have taken the US by storm, becoming the first British band to enter the Billboard chart at No 1 with their debut album, Up All Night. The hysterical scenes accompanying their North American tour were compared with Beatlemania.
Expectations have been raised at Syco, Cowell's record company, for the follow-up album, which could – if it contains the right combination of precision-tooled, radio-friendly hit songs – establish the clean-cut British quintet as the world's best-selling group. Like many manufactured groups, One Direction rely on stylists, video directors, producers and songwriters to help to create the slick package which has proved so appealing to millions of teenage girls.
Their success in the US, where so many British pop idols have failed, is attributed to wholesome songs, well-drilled dance steps showcased in glossy videos and smart use of YouTube and social media.
Teams of crack songwriters, including the hit-makers behind chart-toppers for Britney Spears, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry, are currently working on a brief to submit potential No 1s only for inclusion on the new record.
The writers behind many of pop's biggest hits remain anonymous. But producers such as Nadir Khayat (RedOne), the Moroccan who co-wrote Lady Gaga's hits "Poker Face" and "Bad Romance", are rewarded with hefty publishing cheques for songs which live on in adverts and soundtracks long after they leave the charts.
The One Direction song search has focused on Scandinavia, which has recently cornered the market in pop-dance writing teams. The group's breakthrough hit, "What Makes You Beautiful", was written by Swedes Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub, with American Savan Kotecha.
They are already working on candidates for the next album with Max Martin and Kristian Lundin, the Stockholm producers behind Britney Spears' and the Backstreet Boys' biggest hits. Falk has also written hits for Nicki Minaj and Nicole Scherzinger. Dee Demirbag, responsible for international artists and repertoire at Falk's music publisher, BMG in Scandinavia, said: "Breaking a boy band in the US is about as big as it gets in the music industry, so you can imagine the competition to get cuts on the next One Direction album is immense."
The band members, including teen idols Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, will be consulted over their next record. "It's important to get their personalities on the music," Falk said.
A similar song search is under way for the next album by The Wanted, the rival British boy band who have also cracked the US charts.
The UK boasts a number of leading pop songwriters, but Falk believes that Sweden will strengthen its grip over the charts – and win the battle to dominate One Direction's next release.
"Swedes have been making great pop songs since Abba," he argued. "We love melodies and nice chord changes. That fits the market right now. Melody is back, pop is back and young girls want their pop idols again."
British female talent versus...
Miranda Cooper: Member of the Kent-based Xenomania hit factory, Cooper co-wrote Girls Aloud's chart-topping singles including "Sound Of The Underground" and has enjoyed longer on the charts than any other female songwriter in Britain.
Cathy Dennis: Former Top of the Pops regular turned backroom writer. The New Order-quoting "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", Britney's Bollywood-inspired "Toxic" and Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" are among eight number one singles.
Amanda Ghost: Co-composer of James Blunt's Grammy nominated "You're Beautiful", London singer Ghost earned four credits on Beyoncé's Sasha Fierce album and was whisked to LA to be president of Sony's Epic label.
... Scandinavian songwriters
Abba: Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson's compositions for Abba, marrying dancefloor euphoria and Nordic melancholy, make up arguably the greatest pop catalogue outside the Beatles.
Stargate: Late Nineties Norwegian production team of Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, and HallgeirRustan diluted US R&B for European tastes. Hit big with S Club 7 and Blue, and still making hits for Rihanna and Beyoncé.
Max Martin: Stockholm producer with the Midas touch created the Backstreet Boys sound and wrote Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time". Topped the charts with Katy Perry and Celine Dion.
Bloodshy and Avant: Swedes Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg created dancefloor fillers for Kylie, J-Lo and Madonna.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains