The Relationship Between Songwriter and Publisher
A BMI Speaker Session with Amanda Hill and Wrabel
This month, we’re continuing BMI Speaker Sessions, our online series that gives insight into the unique professions of songwriting, producing, performing, and other fields within the music industry. In our latest session, we're excited to present a conversation between BMI's Executive Director, Jessa Gelt, Senior Vice President, Creative for Sony Music Publishing, Amanda Hill, and Wrabel, a BMI Award-winning songwriter, artist, and record label owner. Here, the three discuss everything from signing a publishing deal, to the daily working relationship between writer and publisher, and the thrill of a “yes” in a string of “no”s.
Amanda Hill is SVP, Creative for Sony Music publishing. She started as an A&R Manager at EMI Music Publishing in 2005 and has followed a successful trajectory to her current post. Hill works with a roster of incredible talent including Greg Kurstin, Noonie Bao, Jesse Shatkin, Sarah Aarons, John Hill, Sean Douglas, Rachel Platten, Mozella, Fitz and the Tantrums, and her BMI Speaker Session partner, Wrabel, among others. In this session, Hill shares her professional insight on things like navigating business decisions, (“We talk about the facts, we talk about the feelings, and then we make a call”), how publishers support their songwriters, and the unique relationship between writer and publisher. “It’s a human business,” she says. “It’s connection… It’s human-to-human… It’s not one size fits all.”
Stephen Wrabel, known professionally as Wrabel, is a nine-time Billboard charting and two-time BMI Award-winning songwriter, artist, and record label owner who was named "one to watch" by People magazine and the "new face of indie music" by Passport. He has written for artists like Kesha, P!nk, Backstreet Boys, Celeste, Louis the Child, Galantis, Jai Wolff, Adam Lambert, Marshmello, Fitz and the Tantrums, Bishop Briggs, and Louis Tomlinson, to name a few, and is the founder of his own label, Big Gay Records. As a performer, he is known for his songs, "11 Blocks," "The Village," and "Bloodstain," and he has appeared on recent releases with Kesha ("BFF," "since i was young"), P!nk ("90 Days"), and Klingande ("Big Love"). In 2018, Wrabel won both a BMI Pop Award and a BMI London Award for his work on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Backstreet Boys, and his most recent solo project, piano, was released last year. Among many gems and advice shared in the video, Wrabel reveals what to do when you don’t immediately get the answer you want to hear. “Just write another song,” he explains. “You’re always going to hear ‘no’ and then you’re going to hear ‘yes’.”