Can a singer be a composer?

Maura N.

The Last Black Unicorn
Staff member
The question of whether a singer can also be a composer is one that has long been debated in the music industry. Some argue that singing and composing are two completely separate skills that require different talents, while others believe that the two are closely intertwined and that a great singer can also be a great composer.

It's important to note that singing and composing are two different skills, but they can complement each other in many ways. Singing is the ability to use one's voice to produce musical tones, while composing is the art of creating music through the combination of melody, harmony, and rhythm. While it's true that some singers may not have the skills to compose music, it's also true that many great singers have also been talented composers.

There are two examples that I can think of, where the singer was also the composer:t

1. Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury was the lead vocalist and songwriter for the British rock band Queen. He wrote many of the band's most famous songs, including "Bohemian Rhapsody", "We Are the Champions" and "Somebody to Love". His compositions are known for their theatricality, complex harmonies, and powerful vocals.

2. Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a highly acclaimed American singer, songwriter, and composer. He has written many of his own songs, which are known for their intricate harmonies, creative arrangements, and innovative use of technology. Some of his most famous compositions include "Superstition", "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "I Just Called to Say I Love You".

It's clear that there are many singers who have also been successful composers, but it's also true that not all singers have the same level of talent in both areas. Some singers may be great at interpreting other people's songs but struggle to write their own music, while others may be talented composers but lack the vocal range or charisma to be successful as singers. However, with practice and dedication, it's possible for a singer to develop their skills as a composer and create their own unique sound and style.

To sum up, you can be a singer without being a composer, you can be a composer, without being a singer and you can be both. Many great musicians throughout history have been successful in both areas. Singing and composing are different skills, but they can complement each other and create a truly unique and memorable musical experience. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to experiment and take risks, any singer can become a great composer and leave their mark on the world of music.

What are your favourite examples of singers that were also composers?
Thank you Maura for sharing an informative and articulate article. My favorite singer-composers happen to be mostly women, but a few guifted men are in that circle also! Some favorites and notables are Joni Mitchel, Paula Cole, Jewel, Sara Bareillis, Carol King, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys,.Brenda Russell, Colbie Cailat, Men are Billy Joel of course, Freddie Mercury was one of my faves! I've also compsoed over seven albums of original music and co produced!