On Saturday, February 13, BMI presented its annual “How I Wrote That Song” event, sponsored by DTS, at The Roxy in West Hollywood, CA. Gathering a panel of esteemed names from across multiple genres, including GRAMMY-winning songwriter Liz Rose (Taylor Swift, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes), GRAMMY-winning songwriter and producer and star of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta Stevie J. (P. Diddy, Notorious B.I.G., Mariah Carey), GRAMMY-winning super-producer Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis (The Fugees, Michael Jackson, Shakira, Carlos Santana) and hitmaker Bilal “The Chef” Hajji (Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction), this year’s class packed some serious chops.
Moderated by BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton, the event kicked off with Los Angeles-based DJ Carisma of Real 92.3 FM spinning the chart-topping singles of each panelist. The illustrious group then followed up by sharing the stories behind each song and the creative process of writing, producing and performing those hits. Bilal “The Chef” Hajji spoke of his work with Jennifer Lopez for “On the Floor,” Sean Kingston for “Fire Burning” and of his collaborations with Nicki Minaj. Stevie J reminisced about working with Puff Daddy and Faith Evans on “I’ll Be Missing You,” Maria Carey for “Honey” and Eve’s “Let Me Blow Your Mind,” which featured Gwen Stefani. Liz Rose engaged the audience with anecdotes about working with Taylor Swift on “You Belong To Me” and “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and writing the GRAMMY-winning smash “Girl Crush” for Little Big Town. Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis talked about working on the Fugees’ platinum-selling album, The Score, collaborating with Shakira on “Hips Don’t Lie,” and crafting “Ghetto Superstar” with former Fugees member, Pras.
Fans were also treated to special performances by Mali Music, who sang his hit “Beautiful,” while Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis sat in with the R&B duo, The Product G&B, as they performed the mega-hit “Maria Maria” which they made famous with Carlos Santana.