The Music Man

Thanks to his chart success with Britney Spears, Celine Dion, the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync and other acts, Swedish songwriter Max Martin has been called a one-man hit factory. The reclusive Stockholm-based Martin, though, has managed to cling to relative anonymity even as the artists he works with and the hits he writes have been catapulted into the spotlight. He avoids attention, most press coverage and even awards ceremonies. Shortly after Martin closed his longtime studio, Cheiron, and opened a new one, TIME's Jeff Chu sat down with him to talk about his erstwhile rock-star dreams, a mentor named Denniz PoP...

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