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Rick Nowels
Background information
Birth nameRichard Wright Nowels Jr.
Born (1960-03-16) March 16, 1960 (age 64)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Origin Palo Alto, California, U.S. [1]
  • Record producer
  • songwriter
Years active1985–present
Labels Virgin

Richard Wright Nowels Jr. (born March 16, 1960) is an American songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and arranger. He has co-written and co-produced over 90 hit singles with multiple artists [2] and albums his songs have appeared on have sold over 250 million copies. In 2020, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. [3]


In 1985, Stevie Nicks recorded Nowels' song " I Can't Wait" in Los Angeles, giving Nowels his first major songwriting and production credit. [4] He was later asked to co-produce Nicks' album Rock a Little alongside Jimmy Iovine. The album was released in 1986 and featured five songs produced by Nowels. [5] [6] "I Can't Wait" peaked at number sixteen for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is one of only four of Nicks' singles to enter the Dance Club Songs chart. [7]

In 1987, Nowels produced Belinda Carlisle's album Heaven on Earth. The album also featured four songs written by Nowels, including " Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and " Circle in the Sand", which went to number one and number seven, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. [8] [9] In 1989, Nowels produced Carlisle's third album, Runaway Horses. Nowels wrote six of the ten songs, including " Leave a Light On", which went to number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and to number four in the UK. [10]

Nowels co-wrote the title track from Celine Dion's album Falling into You, which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1997. [11]

Nowels co-wrote and co-produced the hit single " The Game of Love", performed by Santana and Michelle Branch, which won ASCAP Song of the Year in 2003. He also co-wrote the global hit single " White Flag" for Dido, which won the 2004 Ivor Novello Award for International Hit of the Year.

In 2013. Nowels collaborated with Adele on the song "Why Do You Love Me?", released as part of the deluxe version of her album 25. Nowels co-wrote and co-produced the hit single " Out of Love" [12] with Alessia Cara from her sophomore album, The Pains of Growing. In collaboration with R&B singer-songwriter Miguel, Nowels co-wrote the hit single " Lost in Your Light" for Dua Lipa's self-titled debut album. [13] Nowels has been a longtime collaborator of Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li. He has co-written songs on 3 of her albums— Wounded Rhymes, [14] I Never Learn, [15] and So Sad So Sexy—including the international hit single, " I Follow Rivers". Nowels co-wrote the hit single " Loud Places" from In Colour, the solo debut album of Jamie xx. [16]

In 2016, Nowels co-wrote and co-produced the British artist FKA Twigs' single, "Good to Love". The same year, Nowels co-wrote five songs for Tom Odell's third album, Wrong Crowd, [17] along with the hit single, "Magnetized". In 2021, Odell released "Monster", the title track for his fourth album, which was co-written with Nowels.


While Nowels was in New York for the Grammy Awards in 1997, he met Madonna during a shopping expedition at Barneys. She later booked two weeks worth of writing time with Nowels in his Hollywood Hills studio. [18] Together, they wrote " The Power of Good-Bye", [19] " Little Star" and " To Have and Not to Hold", all featured on Madonna's seventh studio album, Ray of Light. [20] [21]

Ray of Light won Best Pop Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards, where Madonna thanked Nowels from the stage during her acceptance speech. The album also won Best Recording Package, Best Dance Recording, and Best Short Form Music Video. [22]

In 2014, Nowels and Madonna collaborated again on a song, " Beautiful Scars", from her thirteenth studio album, Rebel Heart.


Nowels met Dido in 1999 during the recording sessions for her debut album, No Angel, under Cheeky Records, an independent label in London. Nowels co-produced three songs on the album, including " Here with Me", " Hunter" and " All You Want", all which were released as singles to promote the album. [23] "Here with Me" became Dido's debut single as an artist, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart. [24] No Angel went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide and made Dido an international superstar. [25]

In 2002, Nowels and Dido collaborated again to produce her second album Life for Rent. Nowels wrote five songs featured on the album, including singles " White Flag" [26] and " Sand in My Shoes". The album became the seventh best-selling album of the 2000s in the UK, was nominated for a Grammy, won the award for "Best Single" at the 2004 Brit Awards, won "International Hit of the Year" at the 2004 Ivor Novello Awards, and other accolades. [27]

The pair went on to collaborate on Dido's Safe Trip Home album in 2008, her Girl Who Got Away album in 2013, and her 2019 album Still on My Mind.

Lana Del Rey

Nowels met Lana Del Rey in the spring of 2011 and has collaborated with her on multiple albums since. [28]

In a three-day writing session they composed " Summertime Sadness", " Dark Paradise", "Lucky Ones", and "TV in Black & White". The first three songs were released on Del Rey's 2012 Born to Die album, peaking at number one in the UK in 2012. The album sold 77,000 copies in the US within the first week and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, just behind Adele's album, 21. It received gold certification in 2013 and became the fifth best-selling album of 2012, selling 3.4 million copies. [29] [30] [31] [32]

In November 2012, Del Rey released the Paradise Edition of the Born to Die album with three new songs written and produced by Nowels and Del Rey—" Body Electric", " American" and " Cola". [33] [34]

In 2013, Nowels and Del Rey's song, " Young and Beautiful", was featured in Baz Luhrmann's film, The Great Gatsby. The song was featured throughout the film and incorporated into the score by Craig Armstrong. "Young and Beautiful" was released in April 2013. By June 2013 it rose to number three on the charts and has sold over a million copies since its release. [35] [36]

In 2015, Del Rey released her fourth studio album, Honeymoon. The entire album was co-written by Del Rey and Nowels with the exception of the cover, " Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood". Del Rey and Nowels' singles include " High by the Beach", as well as " Music to Watch Boys To". Honeymoon debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and reached number one in Australia, Greece, Ireland, and number two in the UK. [37] [38] [39]

In 2017, Del Rey released her fifth studio album, Lust for Life. Del Rey and Nowels co-wrote 14 of the songs for the album including the 3 singles, " Love", " Lust for Life" (featuring the Weeknd), and " White Mustang". The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, as well as the UK Albums Chart. [40] [41] [42]

Dua Lipa

Nowels co-wrote " Lost in Your Light", recorded by Dua Lipa featuring Miguel, which was released on 21 April 2017 as the sixth single from the former's self-titled debut studio album.


Notable works

Personal life

Nowels married singer-songwriter, Maria Vidal, in 1990. Vidal attended New York University and is known for writing the hit dance song, " Body Rock", charting on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. [43] The couple have a son, Tommy, born in 1993. Nowels is a supporter of TreePeople Los Angeles, The Sierra Club, and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

Awards and nominations

Year Nominated work Category Result Notes
2014 "Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey Satellite Award for Best Original Song Won Co-writer
2004 White Flag Ivor Novello Award for International Hit of the Year Won Co-writer

ASCAP Pop Music Awards

Year Nominated work Category Result Notes
2014 "The Game of Love" by Santana ft. Michelle Branch Song of the Year Won Co-writer

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2013 " Young and Beautiful" Best Song Written for Visual Media Nominated [44]
2003 " Love One Another" Best Dance Recording Nominated
1997 Falling into You Album of the Year Won
1994 " Body and Soul" Best R&B Song Nominated


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  2. ^ Rick Nowles|Credits|AllMusic at AllMusic; retrieved July 13, 2021
  3. ^ Mariah Carey, The Neptunes, & Rick Nowels Will Be Inducted Into The 2020 Songwriters Hall Of Fame at; by Chris Mench; published January 16, 2020; retrieved October 15, 2020
  4. ^ I Can't Wait by Stevie Nicks at; retrieved 2019
  5. ^ HIGH-GLOSS POP ALBUMS FLOURISH ONCE AGAIN at The New York Times; by Stephen Holden; published February 6, 1986; retrieved 2019
  6. ^ TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS MOVE IN SPIRITED TRACKS at Chicago Tribune; by Daniel Brogan; published December 6, 1985; retrieved 2019
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  11. ^ "39th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1996)". Grammy Award. November 28, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "Out of Love - Alessia Cara | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  13. ^ Song Facts [ dead link]
  14. ^ "Wounded Rhymes - Lykke Li | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  15. ^ "I Never Learn - Lykke Li | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  16. ^ [ dead link]
  17. ^ "Tom Odell – Wrong Crowd (2016, Gatefold, 180 gram, Vinyl)". Discogs. June 10, 2016.
  18. ^ Hit Writer/Producer Rick Nowels Talks About His Great Career, Working With Lana Del Rey, John Legend, Madonna and Santana at Songwriter Universe; by Dale Kawashima; published June 11, 2015; retrieved 2019
  19. ^ Madonna's ‘Ray Of Light’ Turns 15: Backtracking at Idolator; by Stephen Sears; published March 4, 2013; retrieved 2019
  20. ^ Hits of the World at Billboard; published December 12, 1998; retrieved 2019
  21. ^ Madonna: The ‘Ray of Light’ Cover Story, ‘Madonna Chooses Dare’ at SPIN; by Barry Walters; published March 3, 2016; retrieved 2019
  22. ^ General Categories at Los Angeles Times; published February 25, 1999; retrieved 2019
  23. ^ Dido Chart History (Pop Songs) at Billboard; retrieved 2019
  24. ^ Official Singles Chart Top 100 at Official Charts; retrieved 2019
  25. ^ "The Billboard Britlist". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. March 23, 2002. pp. 46–. ISSN  0006-2510.
  26. ^ The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born at Blender; published April 1, 2009; retrieved 2019
  27. ^ Dido Life For Rent Review at BBC Music; published 2003; retrieved 2019
  28. ^ Rick Nowels, Lana Del Rey Co-Writer, Talks 'Summertime Sadness' And His Catalog Of Hits at Billboard; by Grant Trust; published August 27, 2013; retrieved 2019
  29. ^ Album review: Lana Del Rey's 'Born to Die' at The L.A. Times Music Blog; by Randall Roberts; published January 27, 2012; retrieved 2019
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  31. ^ Lana Del Rey Born To Die Review at BBC Music; by Jamie Gill; published 2012; retrieved 2019
  32. ^ Lana Del Rey's 'Born to Die' Becomes One of Only Three Albums by Women With 300 Weeks on Billboard 200 Chart at Billboard; by Keith Caulfield; published January 12, 2019; retrieved 2019
  33. ^ Lana Del Rey Debuts at #10 on Billboard 200 With 'Paradise' EP (Interscope/Polydor) at PR Newswire; published November 21, 2012; retrieved 2019
  34. ^ Lana Del Rey's Paradise Edition of Debut Features Eight New Songs at MTV News; by Gil Kaufman; published September 25, 2012; retrieved 2019
  36. ^ Lana Del Rey cuts video for 'Gatsby's' single 'Young and Beautiful' at Los Angeles Times; published 2013; retrieved 2019
  37. ^ Lana Del Rey Is Already Recording Her New Album at Fuse; by Jeff Benjamin; published December 3, 2014; retrieved 2019
  38. ^ Lana Del Rey announces new album Honeymoon at Consequence of Sound; by Alex Young; published January 6, 2015; retrieved 2019
  39. ^ Hear Lana Del Rey's Synth-Driven New Song, ‘High By the Beach’ at Rolling Stone; by Ryan Reed; published August 10, 2015; retrieved 2019
  40. ^ Lana Del Rey Talks ‘Lust For Life’ In ‘Dazed’ Cover Story: 7 Gorgeous Pics at Idolator/Dazed Magazine; by Mike Wass; published April 18, 2017; retrieved 2019
  41. ^ Review: Lana Del Rey, Lust for Life at Slant Magazine; by Sam C. Mac; published July 23, 2017; retrieved 2019
  42. ^ Who's Nominated For Best Pop Vocal Album? | 60th GRAMMY Awards at GRAMMYs; retrieved 2019
  43. ^ "Maria Vidal Songs ••• Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  44. ^ "Rick Nowels at GRAMMY Awards". The Recording Academy. January 26, 2014. Archived from the original on August 1, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2014.

External links