Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Siedah Garrett

Ep. 73 - Siedah Garrett

(Wo)Man in the Mirror: The Multi-Talented Sensation

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Scott and Paul visit Siedah at her beautiful home in Los Angeles to get the story on why she wrote a half dozen different stanzas to "Man in the Mirror" for Michael Jackson to choose from; how she managed to have no clue she was recording a duet with the King of Pop until the moment it was happening; how Quincy Jones changed the course of her life; the way she indirectly launched Sheryl Crow's career; how she ticked off Oprah; the time Barry White vibrated her rib cage with his trademark voice; and why she says the key to success in the music industry is all about the relationships you build.

Siedah Garrett is best known as the co-writer, with Glen Ballard, of “Man in the Mirror,” a #1 worldwide pop hit recorded by Michael Jackson. The Southern California native launched her career with a group called Plush in the early 1980s before joining Deco, which was assembled by her mentor, legendary producer Quincy Jones. It was Jones who played “Man in the Mirror” for Michael Jackson. The King of Pop fell in love with the song and the voice on the demo tape. In addition to recording “Man in the Mirror,” Michael invited Siedah to be his duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” which was released as the first single from the Bad album and hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart. Siedah would go on to co-write “Keep the Faith” on Jackson’s Dangerous album and join him as a featured vocalist on the Dangerous world tour.

As a backing vocalist, Siedah can be heard on recordings by Madonna, Sarah Vaughan, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Natalie Cole, Santana, Jessica Simpson, and others. As a featured artist she’s scored hits such as the chart-topping R&B duet “Don’t Look Any Further” with former Temptation Dennis Edwards and her solo Top 20 R&B single “K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”

Beyond her work with Michael Jackson, highlights from Siedah’s songwriting catalog include “Sometimes,” a Top 20 R&B hit for The Brand New Heavies, of which she was also a member, as well as five songs on Quincy Jones’s multi-Grammy award winning Back on the Block album. The long list of artists who’ve recorded Siedah’s songs includes Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jarreau, Earth Wind & Fire, The Pointer Sisters, Paula Abdul, Amy Grant, Bobby McFerrin, Barry White, Al B. Sure, El Debarge, James Ingram,, and others.  

The Grammy winning songwriter was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. The first, “Love You I Do,” was performed by Jennifer Hudson in the film Dreamgirls. The second, “Real in Rio,” was from the animated film Rio, and was co-written with Sergio Mendes. 



Songcraft's Siedah Garrett Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of songs from Siedah's catalog, followed by some highlights from her artist career. 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.