It's not every day that you get to peek inside the mind of even one supremely talented songwriter. But when BMI’s Director of Musical Theatre, Pat Cook, was invited into the gracious Brooklyn townhouse of composer-lyricist Bobby Lopez and lyricist Kristen Anderson-Lopez, he got the inside scoop from two.
The married couple and songwriting team, who met at the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop
in 1998, notably co-wrote the music for Frozen
, including the Oscar- and Grammy-winning anthem "Let It Go." It's ultimately about, as Kristen says, choosing to not allow fear to keep you from owning who you are and sometimes having to let go of meeting other people's expectations. When presented to Disney, the song worked so well that it famously caused the studio to reshape the movie's arc by recasting Elsa more sympathetically (she was originally conceived as more of a villain). Prior to Frozen, Bobby created and won Tonys for Broadway hits Avenue Q
and The Book of Mormon
, and Kristen wrote the music for the 2011 Winnie the Pooh
movie as well as the off-Broadway musical In Transit
— and those are just a few career highlights.
Despite their success, both Bobby and Kristen are refreshingly down-to-earth, sharing what they learned as BMI Workshop students. "I was so ambitious I thought it had to be all on my shoulders," says Bobby, adding, "What I learned in BMI is that I am a collaborator." Kristen spoke directly to fledgling writers about presenting their first Workshop song, which can feel like a do-or-die moment: "If you fail with your first song, you're still a writer. Just write; that's what makes you a writer."
Watch this exclusive video for expert advice on writing and collaborating for musicals and film, and learn more about Bobby’s upcoming musical. Plus, check out our bonus feature with the mega-talented couple on the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.