Artists like Rihanna and Beyoncé can thank this singer-songwriter for some of their chart-topping choruses

While you were winding down for the holidays last year, Skylar Grey’s 2017 was just heating up. The singer-songwriter was sharing the stage with Eminem on Saturday Night Live and burning up the charts with her Macklemore collaboration “Glorious” — all while working on the follow-up to 2016’s Natural Causes LP.

In the past few years, Grey has been one of pop’s busiest hook writers, singing choruses for the likes of Dr. Dre, Nicki Minaj, and David Guetta while penning even more for Beyoncé and Rihanna via their Eminem collabs “Walk on Water” and “Love the Way You Lie.” (You may have also recently heard Grey in Budweiser’s viral 2018 Super Bowl commercial, where she covered “Stand By You.”)

But for her upcoming record, she’s going in a totally different direction. “I’ve been in this crazy writing mode,” she tells EW. “For this album, I’m really embracing who I am as an artist, going back to this folky, songwriter-driven style of music. I think that’s what my forte is, and I’ve kind of tried to avoid it in a way. [But] doing the thing that comes naturally to me makes the process so much easier.”

Find out what’s inspiring her in The Upbeat, a new video series presented by Citi, above.