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Baltimore's Makeba Riddick, songwriter for Beyonce, Rihanna

You probably won't recognize the name Makeba Riddick, but I'm sure you've heard some of her songs: Rihanna's "Rude Boy," Beyonce's "Deja Vu," and T.I.'s "Live Your Life" are a few of the songs she's helped write.

Riddick, a 31-year-old Baltimore native, graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts, got a degree in music management from Berklee College of Music and set off for New York City.

There, she linked up with Bad Boy Records, and co-wrote Jennifer Lopez's No. 1 single "All I Have." She has also penned songs for Jessica Simpson, Toni Braxton, Kelis, Mariah Carey and a host of other stars.

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I sat down with the soft-spoken Riddick about a month ago, when "Rude Boy" was still crushing the charts. Now, Riddick's songwriting is back in the Top 10 with Braxton's new album, "Pulse." In order to be a successful songwriter, you have to have a stream of hits on the charts, and Riddick has pulled it off for the past eight years. She's currently signed with Roc Nation.

Every time Riddick hears one of her songs on the radio, it's like the first time, she said. The thrill has never faded.

"It's surreal," she said. "You can't believe how this song or those lyrics we were playing around with has the whole world singing along. It's very exciting, every single time." 

(Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)


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