There is nothing more compelling than hearing songwriters talk about and play their own music in front of a crowd. So, who better to bring to the BMI congressional briefing on songwriter rights than songwriters? Armed with the 2012 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year, Luke Laird, and multi-GRAMMY nominated Claude Kelly, BMI CEO and President Del Bryant, Senior Vice President Richard Conlon and other BMI senior executives went to Washington, D.C. on behalf of all songwriters. In an impassioned effort to educate Congressional policy staff, legislators, and Washington lobbyists on the craft of songwriting, BMI CEO Del Bryant hosted a Q&A panel with Laird and Kelly, who spoke about how income is derived and how songwriters do their job, highlighting the lifecycle of a song. Compensation, the royalty distribution stream, the overall value of music, and impact of intellectual property and music rights management in the digital age were also discussed. The event, held April 23, 2013, included performances by both Laird and Kelly.
Luke Laird grew up in the small farming town of Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. Pursuing a lifelong love of making music, he moved to Nashville in 1997 to attend Middle Tennessee State University. After graduation, he got a job as assistant tour manager for Brooks & Dunn and honed his songwriting ability on the road, landing him a publishing deal with BMG Music Publishing in 2002. His thirteen #1 Billboard singles include Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” “Last Name,” “Temporary Home” and “Undo It;” Blake Shelton’s “Hillbilly Bone” featuring Trace Adkins; Sara Evans’s “A Little Bit Stronger;” Rodney Atkins’s “Take a Back Road;” Eric Church’s “Drink in my Hand;” Chris Young’s “You;” Little Big Town’s “Pontoon;” Tim McGraw’s “One of Those Nights;” Hunter Hayes’s “Somebody’s Heartbreak;” and Lady Antebellum’s “Downtown.” Laird also penned Miranda Lambert’s “Baggage Claim” (#3 Billboard charting single), Carrie Underwood’s “Mama’s Song” (#2 Billboard charting single), Jason Aldean’s “1994,” and Brad Paisley’s “Beat This Summer.”
Claude Kelly’s songs have sold more than 25 million copies to date, blanketed radio airwaves around the world, garnered multiple GRAMMY and Billboard nominations and dominated international song charts. His star-studded resume includes penning No. 1 smash singles for Britney Spears (“Circus”), Bruno Mars (“Grenade”) and Kelly Clarkson (“My Life Would Suck Without You”), along with hits for artists such as Christina Aguilera, Jessie J, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, Martina McBride, Akon and many more, including the late great Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. He recently added the role of executive-producer to his credits, overseeing new releases from Karmin and Tamia (he received two GRAMMY nods for the latter).