Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Billy Steinberg

Ep. 41 - Billy Steinberg

True Colors: King of the Pop Charts, From the 80s to Today

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Scott and Paul meet up with Billy to find out why the only time he met Madonna turned out to be a disappointment; the reason he resisted rewriting "True Colors;" how Prince inspired Whitney Houston's "So Emotional;"  what happened when he and co-writer Tom Kelly's childhood hero came roaring up to their studio in a red Lamborghini convertible; why his songs tend to be recorded by women; which artist is his absolute favorite of all the ones he's worked with; and how he continues to stay relevant with recent hits by JoJo, Demi Lovato, and others.

After Linda Ronstadt scored a Top 10 hit with Billy Steinberg’s “How Do I Make You” in 1980, he went on to score a series of chart-topping singles co-written with Tom Kelly, including “Like a Virgin” by Madonna, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, “Alone” by Heart, "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston, and “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles. Additional Top 10 hits from the Steinberg/Kelly songbook include “In Your Room” by the Bangles, “I Touch Myself” by Divinyls, “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders, and “I Drove All Night,” which was a major international hit three different times, first by Cyndi Lauper, then by Roy Orbison, and, finally, by Celine Dion. After Tom Kelly retired from the music business, Steinberg partnered with Rick Nowels, with whom he won a Grammy for their work on the title track to Celine Dion’s multiplatinum Falling Into You album in 1996. Since the mid-2000s, Billy has written extensively with Josh Alexander, with whom he penned JoJo's Top 5 pop hit "Too Little Too Late" and Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break." Additionally, the pair partnered with songwriter/producer – and previous Songcraft guest - Toby Gad for Nicole Scherzinger's #1 UK chart-topper "Don't Hold Your Breath.” Other artists who’ve contributed to Steinberg’s long list of Billboard charting singles include Pat Benatar, Tina Turner, Susanna Hoffs, Chicago, Bette Midler, Ace of Base, Phil Collins, Katharine McPhee, Carrie Underwood, and many others. Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011.


Songcraft's Billy Steinberg Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a collection of some of Billy's best known songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.