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Music

Meet 5 songwriters changing pop from behind-the-scenes

Get to know young hitmakers like Emily Warren, Starrah, and others

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Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images (2); Don Arnold/WireImage; Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images; Steve Jennings/WireImage

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From minting hits for Rihanna to singing hooks for the Chainsmokers, these five up-and-comers are ruling the charts behind the scenes—and now many are striking out on their own with solo careers. Get to know the young women behind your favorite pop songs:

Emily Warren

Claim to fame: The 24-year-old can be heard on the Chainsmokers’ “Paris,” but she’s more than just a hired gun: Warren wrote four tracks on the duo’s debut LP, Memories…Do Not Open, as well as their 2016 hit “Don’t Let Me Down.” (She also performed with them on Saturday Night Live.)

What’s next: She just put out her unexpectedly soulful debut single, “Hurt by You.” “My solo stuff is different in the sense that people are surprised when they hear more stripped down, organic sounds because they’re used to hearing my voice over more heavy electronic production,” she says. “The common thread, however, is you’ll never hear me singing lyrics that aren’t 100 percent true and based on something real in my life.”

Chloe Angelides

Claim to fame: Along with earning writing credits for Selena Gomez and JoJo, Angelides, 24, has sung hooks for Pitbull and R. City. “Some days opening up is easy, some days it’s not,” she says. “Learning to be honest with myself as well as with other people in the room is a big part of being creative.”

What’s next: She recently revealed that she’s been working with Kygo and says she’s constantly working on her own material: “My life is a solo project.”

ROZES

Claim to fame: The 24-year-old, born Elizabeth Mencel, helped the Chainsmokers score their first top 10 hit as the writer and featured vocalist on 2016’s “Roses.”

What’s next: She’s been in the studio with One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and Beyoncé protégée Sophie Beem. ROZES also recently dropped “Matches,” a red-hot collaboration with EDM trio Cash Cash, and is readying her next single, “Canyons,” due this summer. “Life has been a never-ending game of catch up since collaborating with The Chainsmokers,” she says. “I’m constantly humbled by all of the opportunities this industry has and keeps providing.”

Ali Tamposi

Claim to fame: She’s recently penned hits for A-listers like Selena Gomez (her Kygo collab “It Ain’t Me”) and Justin Bieber (his DJ Snake team-up “Let Me Love You”). “It’s pretty easy to relate to artists because we’re asked to do the same thing every day: get vulnerable and try to communicate something universal,” says Tamposi, 27. “Sometimes just feeling understood is enough to remind the artist why they’re making music in the first place.”

What’s next: She teases some “incredible” collaborations but says, “Nothing is certain until it comes out, so I better keep everything under wraps.”

Starrah

Claim to fame: In the past two years, the 26-year-old, born Brittany Hazzard, has become one of the hottest hitmakers in hip-hop and R&B, writing for Rihanna (“Needed Me”), Nicki Minaj (“No Frauds”), Drake (“Fake Love”), and Calvin Harris (“Heatstroke”). She also provided hypnotizing vocals on Jeremih’s 2015 jam “Pass Dat.”

What’s next: After releasing her debut single, “Rush,” last year, she’s readying an EP, expected later this month. A source tells EW that Starrah also contributed to ex-Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello’s upcoming solo album.