Producer Steve Mac's biggest hits and forgotten gems
Producer Steve Mac has been on something of a winning streak of late. He’s been announced today (Jan 5) as the winner of Best British Producer for this year’s BRIT Awards – and after quick glance at his back catalogue, it’s easy to see why.
In 2017 alone he worked on six Top 10 singles, including Rita Ora’s Your Song, P!nk’s What About Us and Liam Payne’s Strip That Down. Two of those six reached Number 1 – Clean Bandit’s Symphony and Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, the biggest single of 2017.
Between 2016 and 2017, two of his songs (Clean Bandit’s Rockabye and Sheeran’s Shape Of You) held the Number 1 spot for 22 weeks in a row. Basically, he’s the most successful songwriter in modern British music.
Mac got his big break in the early '90s, when one of his first co-writes on NOMAD’s (I Wanna Give You) Devotion reached Number 2 on the Official Singles Chart. Shortly after that, he met fellow songwriter Wayne Hector and the duo have been penning and producing mega hits ever since.
As well as turning out hit singles for big names over the years, including Ed Sheeran, Westlife and Leona Lewis, Mac is also credited on some forgotten gems that are equally as deserving of some recognition.
O Town – All Or Nothing (2001)
By 2001, Mac and Hector had been responsible for Westlife’s first two albums, including the chart-topping Flying Without Wings. At the same time, MTV were forming their own boyband on their show Making The Band, called O Town. Their success was short-lived, scoring precisely two big hits, but their second single All Or Nothing – written and produced by Mac and Hector – was the bigger of the two, and was one of Mac’s first tastes of international success.
Ant & Dec (PJ & Duncan) – Falling (1997)
Mac arrived a little late to the PJ & Duncan party in the late ‘90s. So late, in fact, that the energetic duo had re-branded themselves as Ant & Dec by the time Mac worked with them on their third and final album, The Cult of Ant & Dec. Mac wrote and produced two songs for the collection, Crazy and Falling, the latter of which was a gospel-light ballad that was to be their final single until they returned five years later for the one-off release We’re On The Ball.
5ive – Keep On Movin’ (1999)
Mac’s only credited as a co-producer of Keep On Movin’ (it was written by Spice Girls hitmaker Richard Stannard), but nonetheless it earned the quintet their first of three UK Number 1 singles.
Kate Winslet – What If (2001)
Kate may have cringed at recalling her first and only foray into music in a recent interview, but the song itself is now a wonderful piece of noughties nostalgia more than 15 years later. Produced by Mac and co-written with Hector, What If was recorded by Kate for Christmas Carol: The Movie and thrown in as a contender for that year’s Official Christmas Number 1. It reached a very respectable Number 6 in the end, beaten to the top by Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman’s Something Stupid.
The Saturdays – 30 Days (2013)
Mac worked on a few singles for the girl group, including Ego and Notorious, but 30 Days remains the forgotten gem of their discography.
Geraldine McQueen – The Winners Song (2008)
This single by Geraldine McQueen (played by Peter Kay) was produced by Mac as part of comedy series Britain’s Got The Pop Factor, a spoof of Simon Cowell's TV talent shows. Mac himself had worked on plenty of winner’s singles for X Factor and American/Pop Idol winners over the years, including Kelly Clarkson/Leona Lewis’ A Moment Like This and Michelle McManus’ All This Time. The track reached Number 2 and proved Mac wasn’t afraid to poke fun at his own work.