Sevyn Streeter Talks About Writing Hit Songs For Ariana Grande and Chris Brown, And Her Single “I Won’t Stop”

Sevyn Streeter
Sevyn Streeter

During the past few years, pop/urban singer/songwriter Sevyn Streeter has uniquely emerged as both a hit songwriter and a rising artist. Her success as a songwriter helped her land a solo artist contract with Atlantic Records, and she has been busy recording with several, top writer/producers. Streeter has released two singles so far—”I Like It” and her new single “I Won’t Stop” (featuring Chris Brown)—and on November 5 her debut EP called Call Me Crazy But will be available for preorder.

Although she’s a talented artist who has been singing professionally since she was a teenager, her most notable success to date has been as a songwriter.  Streeter co-wrote the recent Top 10 pop hit, “The Way,” for Ariana Grande. She also co-wrote two hits for Chris Brown, “Yeah 3x” and “Next To You” (featuring Justin Bieber). Impressively, she’s written 10 songs with Chris Brown, six which were released on his F.A.M.E. album (2011), and four on his Fortune album (2012). Streeter has also co-written songs for Brown’s upcoming album, titled X (to be released in December).

Streeter has co-written songs for many other artists such as Alicia Keys (the single “New Day”), Kelly Rowland, Fantasia, Brandy, Estelle, Trey Songz and Tamar Braxton.

As a singer, Streeter has been a member of two vocal groups. When she was just 15, she was a member of girl group TG4, which was managed by Chris Stokes, who directed the hit movies You Got Served and House Party 4. Then in 2007, she joined the group RichGirl, which was signed to Jive Records and produced by Rich Harrison (Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez).

We’re pleased to do this Q&A interview with Sevyn Streeter. She tells how she got started as a singer & songwriter, how she signed with Atlantic Records, and her new EP.

DK: You were first a member of two singing groups, TG4 and RichGirl. Did you originally see yourself as a singer more than a songwriter?

Streeter: I saw myself as an artist first. I was a typical young girl holding a hairbrush and looking in the mirror, singing Mariah Carey songs. My songwriting came much later, when I was about 22 years old.

DK: What was your first placement as a songwriter?

Streeter: My first cut as a songwriter was “Yeah 3x” for Chris Brown. I met Chris because I was in the group RichGirl, which had the same management—we’re both managed by Tina Davis. We met through Tina, and then we were both recording at the same studio in Los Angeles. I asked Chris if I could write with him. He said yes, and that he would come get me (in the studio) when it was time to write. We got together, and the first song we wrote was “Yeah 3x.”

DK: It must have been great, with your first song “Yeah 3x” becoming a hit.

Streeter: Working with Chris Brown has been a blessing for me. [Our writing] took on a life of it’s own. We wrote 10 songs together, six for his F.A.M.E. album and four for his Fortune album. Recently, I wrote more songs with Chris for his upcoming album, X.

DK: You co-wrote the big hit “The Way” for Ariana Grande. How did you write this song?

Streeter: It happened when we had a writing session for Jordin Sparks. I was in the studio with Jordin, Harmony Samuels (who produced the song) and Sherrod (Lambert). We originally wrote the song for Jordin’s album, but as it turned out, it ended up being recorded by Ariana Grande. It was later that I got a call, that Ariana had cut the song. [For me], it came out of nowhere. When I hear her version, it was so great that I lost my mind! Ariana’s voice was amazing—she killed it and brought a whole other vibe to this record.

DK: For your label deal as an artist, how did you sign with Atlantic Records?

Streeter: I signed with Chris Brown’s company, CBE, and Chris shopped me for a label deal. I felt great when Atlantic Records became interested. I performed a showcase for them, and Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO of Atlantic) loved it. Also playing a big part was Darrale Jones (former Atlantic A&R exec, who is now at Def Jam).

I love Atlantic—they do an incredible job. I’m in New York this week, and I see how hard they work.

DK: Can you tell me about your new EP on Atlantic?

Streeter: Yes, it’s called Call Me Crazy But. It has seven songs including the single “I Won’t Stop” which features Chris Brown. For this EP, I collaborated with some great writer/producers like The Interns, D’Mile, Dem Jointz, Diplo, Cam and FreeSchool.

DK: In addition to your artist career, do you still have time to write songs for other artists?

Streeter: I do. Recently, I’ve been writing songs for Jennifer Lopez’s next album. Also, I co-wrote the new single “All The Way Home” for Tamar Braxton, plus two songs for Chris Brown’s new album.

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima