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What Do You Listen For When You Hear a Songwriter’s Music For The First Time?

Posted in The Weekly on January 29, 2019

Ever wonder what people in the industry are listening for when they hear your music? BMI’s Creative team weighs in on the answer to that question from their own experience of working with songwriters and composers every day. Here are their thoughts:

Catherine Brewton, VP, BMI Creative, Atlanta:

When I listen to a songwriter’s music for the first time, I am listening for melody first. If a melody grabs me immediately, I know I am listening to something with the potential to be great. Melody is the first experience you have with a song, so it must be something rhythmic, catchy and creative. Once I am engrossed in the melody, the next thing I look for is wordplay. One of the reasons Lil Wayne is still one of my favorite rappers today is because of his excellent wordplay. Creative wordplay can do so much for a song; it can tell a story and transform the narrative. Without inspired wordplay a song can fall flat. It creates depth and dimension in a song and gives meaning to the melody.

Barbara Cane, VP, BMI Worldwide Creative:

Everyone has their own unique way of personally liking a song. For me, when I listen to a songwriter’s music for the first time, I enjoy listening to lyric and melody. Songs tell stories. That first listen can be like reading the first chapter of a book - a wonderous experience that grabs you from the start so that you want to read more. Something so special as that experience is personal and one that I savor. I listen to lyrics that are meaningful and melodies that move me. Together, that first listen can be an unforgettable one. Not every first listen to a song is awe-inspiring or magical, but when it is, for all the personal, emotional and inexplicable reasons that are uniquely mine, I will always find myself coming back and listening to that song over and over and over. That is what I most enjoy when I hear a song for the first time. It is a great feeling that creates a life’s memory for me.

Be sure to check back soon for more inside tips from BMI’s Creative team right here in The Weekly!

SOURCEThe Weekly TAGS Career Advice Creative