This week, Rolling Stone Magazine published its prestigious “The 125-Plus People Places and Things Ruling the Rock & Roll Universe” list – a veritable who’s who of the premier division of current popular music.
In the category “Best Hitmakers” Rolling Stone magazine chose no other than Norway’s clean shaven studio wizards.
Writes the magazine in its Stargate feature: “When Ne-Yo met the two Norwegians who would go on to produce his biggest hits, he couldn't hide his surprise: "He looked at us and said, 'You guys make this music?'" recalls Mikkel Eriksen, one half of the R&B production team Stargate. Since 2006, Eriksen and his partner, Tor Erik Hermansen, have produced and co-written ten Top Ten hits, including Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable," Rihanna's "Unfaithful" and "Don't Stop the Music," and Ne-Yo's "So Sick," along the way reviving a pre-hip-hop style of R&B, with richer chord progressions, deeper melodies and even guitars. "All of these songs have something in common," says Hermansen. "When you take away the drums, there are actually songs there."
Both thirty-five, Hermansen and Eriksen grew up as hip-hop and R&B fanatics in Norwegian suburbs where most kids were listening to Euro-pop and American rock. "When you're a kid and you see something new emerge, like a whole new culture, it can make a really big impression," says Hermansen. "I would assume Ahmet Ertegun felt the same when he heard American jazz." When they met one of their heroes, Jimmy Jam, at the 2007 Grammys, they told him that they'd been studying his records for fifteen years. "Well, guys," Jam replied, "you graduated."
Rolling Stone also sums up the duo’s amazing achievements with a list of their greatest hits:
Mariah Carey: "Im That Chick"
Beyoncé and Shakira: "Beautiful Liar"
Ne-Yo: "So Sick"
Rihanna: "Don't Stop the Music"
Nas feat. Kelis: "Not Going Back"
Jordin Sparks: "Tattoo"
Elliot Yamin: "Wait for You"
Toploader: "Dancing in the Moonlight (Stargate remix)
StarGate Studios (Studios\Sound; Production Companies)