Nick Monson may have been born in a small town in Illinois, but the producer/songwriter has made a sizeable mark all over the world via contributions to big songs with global reach such as Lady Gaga’s smash “Applause,” a bona-fide chart topper all over the globe.

Monson first fell in love in music just after high school, when he left Illinois for Ohio to attend music recording and audio production school Recording Workshop in Chillicothe. At the school, Monson honed his engineering skills, which eventually led him back to Illinois. This time, however, it was no small town in Illinois, but Chicago, that was calling.

Once in the Windy City, the producer snagged his first job working in R Kelly’s studio as an engineer. “I got to work on records for R Kelly, Faith Evans and even The Shaft Soundtrack,” the 35-year-old says. But Monson wasn’t satisfied as just an engineer, so he started playing some guitar and gaining confidence as a songwriter. Kelly and others took note of his growing production and songwriting skills.

“I was much more into the creative….I started to get more confidence and figured out how to make beats while still also playing guitar,” he says. Monson then worked for a record label for a little bit in Chicago, which is where he met friend and mentor Paul Blair aka DJ White Shadow.

“He liked the stuff I was doing and then I got the opportunity to work on Lady Gaga’s ‘Artpop’ album.”  After signing with Blair’s publishing company, Maxwell & Carter, Monson’s work blossomed….not only working on multiple tracks for Gaga from Chicago, but also on the road during her worldwide tour supporting the album.

“We toured the world with her and were on call whenever she needed us to be to write songs and work on things,” he says of his experience working with Gaga at the time.  His hard work for Blair and Gaga paid off with songwriting credits on seven songs that appear on Artpop.

In early 2014, Monson left Chicago to move to Los Angeles. The same year, Monson signed with Warner/Chappell and has since gone onto work with names such as Justin Tranter, Mike Posner, and others.