Women In Music: Hitmakers from Behind the Scenes

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Billboard's Women in Music 2015: Behind the Scenemakers

Fine-tuned ears are the trademarks of these four creators.

EMILY LAZAR, 44

Mastering engineer/mixer

As the first female mastering engineer to be nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy (for Sia's "Chandelier" in 2015), Emily Lazar’s golden ears are in high-demand. Just ask clients like Foo FightersBeck and Coldplay, whose new album A Head Full of Dreams, tops Lazar’s discography. "I’ve built a woman-owned and -operated business that’s allowed me to do a lot of amazing things," says the sole proprietor of The Lodge, a Greenwich Village studio she started at age 25.  “For the small part I’m playing in representing women in music, I’m proud.” —Andy Gensler

 

JULIA MICHAELS, 22

Songwriter

When Julia Michaels turned 22 on Nov. 13, the Billboard Hot 100 included four songs she helped write -- Justin Bieber's "Sorry" (No. 2), Selena Gomez's "Good for You" (No. 21), Hailee Steinfeld's "Love Myself" (No. 48) and  Gwen Stefani's "Used to Love You" (No. 84) -- so clearly her age isn't holding her back. In fact, it's because she's so young that, "Selena and Hailee feel comfortable enough to tell me how they feel and know that I'm going to do what they say justice by putting it in a song," Michaels tells Billboard. Thanks to the help of mentors and fellow songwriters Joleen Belle and Lindy Robbins, Michaels got her start at age 17 with the theme song for the Disney Channel's Austin & Ally. And her hot streak is far from over: She just spent time in the studio with Britney Spears. —Katie Atkinson
 

WONDAGURL, 18

Producer

For 18-year-old producer and beat-maker Wondagurl (real name: Ebony Oshunrinde), success came almost overnight. The Toronto native was just 16 when she co-produced "Crown" alongside Mike Dean and Travi$ Scott for Jay Z’s 2013 album Magna Carta ... Holy Grail. Now, despite her youth, the budding producer has landed credits for  Rihanna ("Bitch Better Have My Money") and Drake. ("Used To" featuring Lil Wayne), with more to come. “I don't really think about the whole gender thing,” she says. “I see myself just like any other producer.” —Dan Rys

 

EMILY WRIGHT, 35

Vocal producer

Back in 2007, a chance meeting with Dr. Luke led Connecticut native Emily Wright to try her hand at engineering. A year later, she was producing vocals for Katy Perry's “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot N Cold” and a career was launched. Hitmaking for Jessie J,  Miley Cyrus and Kesha followed and today, the 35-year-old, who’s since moved from L.A. to Nashville, is writing as well (recent credits include Britney Spears and Relient K, whose frontman, Matt Thiessen, Wright married in August). “Everyday is new and challenging,” she says. “It’s been a wild ride.” —Shirley Halperin

2015 Billboard Women in Music