Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 17:20 UK

Behind the scenes: Amanda Ghost

Some of the world's most famous people may owe their success to others we rarely hear about. For example, the songwriter who pens the hits for popular performers. The BBC World Service spoke to one of the best, Amanda Ghost.

Amanda Ghost | Song Writer | New York

Amanda Ghost and Boy George

Many little girls dream of being a pop star when they grow up, practising in front of the mirror with a hairbrush, as they dance along to Beyonce or Shakira.

But it is hard to imagine many spending their days dreaming of writing for popstars - unless they are songwriter Amanda Ghost.

I think that's a common misperception, that everybody wants to be famous
Amanda Ghost

"One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is when I get to hear someone as incredible as Beyonce and Shakira... sing my words," she says.

"That's a much bigger thrill than it gives me to actually sing it myself.

"I think that's a common misperception, that everybody wants to be famous... I certainly don't."

Amanda Ghost is a singer/songwriter in her own right.

She is also the President of Epic Records, and she's barely 30.


As much as she respects the talent and commitment of stars like Beyonce, Shakira or Kylie, she says that life is not for her.

"I don't envy those girls and their incredibly hard working schedules... I much prefer to stay at home with my child and enjoy her as opposed to going out on the road."


She admits has never actually performed some of her most successful songs, such as You're Beautiful, which she co-wrote with James Blunt.

"I don't sing it, because I don't think I can top his vocal performance on it really," she says.

She first got into professional songwriting when she was pregnant with her first child.

James Blunt's chart-topping ballad You're Beautiful
The duet for Beyonce and Shakira, Beautiful Liar
Beautiful Liar went to No.1 in 32 countries
Collaboration with Kylie Minogue, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey

"I never set out to be a professional songwriter... but... I got pregnant and I stopped pushing myself out as an artist, and as I did that, You're Beautiful came out and it became this huge hit."

Since then, she has collaborated with a number of artists, who often give her a brief for the song.

"Beyonce [and I] were put together by the people that work around her, she just asked me if I would write something that would be a duet for herself and Shakira that would express female empowerment."

The result, Beautiful Liar, was written in just a few days, largely in the back of New York cabs, according to Amanda.

But it remains one of her most success collaborations so far, going to number one in 32 countries.

"You know when you've written a great song," she says. "You get that little butterfly feeling in you."

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