BMI at SXSW 2016

Three decades after pioneering the first sponsored showcase at SXSW, BMI continues to maintain a strong presence at the conference, offering a wide array of opportunities for BMI songwriters to gain high profile exposure on stages and panels alike. BMI’s 2016’s lineup of events fulfills that promise, boasting a diverse selection of music creators at exciting happenings like BMI and SAG-AFTRA’s presentation of Iggy Pop and Josh Homme at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre, the Acoustic Latin Sounds showcase at Departure Lounge and the Rock Showcase at Trinity Hall at Old School, with our SXSW Mentoring panel and “Content, Copyright and Commerce” panel providing forums to gain valuable insights on the craft and business sides of songwriting. You’ll be able to experience the full 2016 SXSW edition right here, but first, take a look back at some of today’s hitmakers BMI featured at SXSW in years past.

SXSW Flashback: Break-Out Moments on the BMI Stage

2016 Event Calendar

March 14

Ray Benson’s Roadhouse Main Stage at Austin Airport

Performances by:
March 15

Ray Benson’s Roadhouse Main Stage at Austin Airport

Performances by:
March 16

Iggy Pop

BMI and SAG-AFTRA present Iggy Pop at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre

Pop and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme are collaborating on a new album, titled Post Pop Depression, due out via Loma Vista during SXSW Music on March 18. This will be one of the first shows that Iggy Pop and the Josh Homme-assembled band will play together, followed by a US and European tour. The group will also be performing classics spanning Iggy’s legendary solo career.

SXSW Mentoring Panel

Mentoring Panel
Featuring BMI Executive Director Writer/Publisher Relations Bradley Collins
2:00 - 3:00pm
Austin Convention Center Room 8AB
March 17

Lamberts Day Party

lamberts logo

Lamberts Downtown Barbeque turns into a concert venue.

401 West 2nd Street

12 to 6 p.m.

BMI Presents: Rock Showcase

Trinity Hall at Old School

401 East 6th Street

Doors: 7pm

Happy Hour performance 7:00 - 7:35 by Khruangbin

Featuring Performances By

Secret Weapons

With a sound that conjures the synthetic sheen of a vintage `80s aesthetic, one might expect Brooklyn’s Secret Weapons to come stumbling out of a neon-tinted background of dry ice and dazzling vector graphics, dodging laser beams while sporting angular haircuts. But this duo is no kitschy throwback (especially given that members, Gerry Lange and Dan E., are barely into their 20’s). While their songs like “Perfect World” and “Something New” crackle with cool synthesizers, funky guitars, soaring high-piped harmonies and shiny, chrome-plated pop hooks, Secret Weapons’ modern sensibility and urban swagger imbue their retro-philic sound with a forward-looking flavor. The band recently reached 2 million on Spotify with “Something New,” and are currently readying their full-length debut album for release.

Welshly Arms

Cultivating a slowly-building buzz since first forming in Cleveland in 2013, Welshly Arms is a quartet of Midwesterners who practice a burly brand of rock ‘n’ roll informed by classic R&B. Having accrued a reputation as a formidable live act, Welshly Arms boasts a sound that alternates between blisteringly bluesy and soulfully swooning, with a refreshingly unfussy sensibility. After a couple of rapturously received EPs, the band released its eponymous debut album in May of 2015, brewing with thick, chunky guitars, rousing choruses and the band’s back-to-basics blues-rock. Their music has been placed in television shows like The Originals, The Vampire Diaries and Sense8, as well as trailers for major motion pictures like The D Train and Quentin Tarrantino’s The Hateful Eight.

The Blancos

Behind their bushy beards and bashful posture, NYC duo the Blancos’ deliver songs that offer a rich palette of contrasting sounds, simultaneously lush and gritty. Having honed their chops for over a decade before debuting their music, the enigmatic duo (who have yet to disclose their names) practice a repertoire that pairs a swaggering urban edge with a dreamily Spartan accompaniment, all punctuated by Blanco 1’s soulful vocals. Reminiscent of Portishead’s fusion of troubled torch songs and hip-hop beats, the Blancos similarly fuse disparate musical elements into their mix, but cap it off with a contemporary Brooklyn sensibility that’s both organically hip and haunting. After a clutch of critically received teasers like “She Calls It Love” and “Lemon Garden,” a full-length debut album is imminent.

Janelle Kroll

After relocating from her native Chicago to New York City in 2013, aspiring singer/songwriter Janelle Kroll landed the coveted role of providing vocals for Brooklyn electropop collective, Big Data, before following her restless muse into a promising solo career. Pairing classic, emotionally candid songwriting with a contemporary R&B edge, Kroll augments sleek, electronic beats with her versatile vocals, reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, whose “Down to You (My Confidante)” Kroll re-interpreted in 2015. Widely feted as a singer/songwriter to watch, Kroll is currently at work on her debut album.


Bubbling under from Southern California, fresh-faced alternative combo Weathers first made their mark on social media, cultivating a fervent army of fans who helped the band sell out a headlining gig at Los Angeles’ legendary Troubadour and land an opening slot for folk-pop duo Oh Honey, a sold-out gig at New York City’s Webster Hall. With ambitions to take their music to the next level, Weathers are currently working on their debut album with singer/songwriter Denis Lipari and Halsey producer/songwriter Larzz Principato.


Weaned on a steady diet of celebrated British bands like The Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen, New York City’s Drowners – their moniker lifted from the title of Suede’s debut single – play a suitably anglophilic blend of hook-laden guitar rock (leant extra credibility by a Welsh ex-pat lead singer). Renowned for short songs and sharp looks, Drowners may proudly wear their influences on the stylishly battered sleeves of their black leather jackets, but the end results are nothing short of immediate, striking a perfect balance between indie pop jangle and post-punky fuzz. With one rapturously received eponymous album already under their belt and On Desire, its purportedly darker follow-up, slated for a June release, Drowners aren’t going under any time soon.

March 18

BMI presents Acoustic Latin Sounds

311 W 5th Street

BMI presents Acoustic Latin Sounds at Departure Lounge will take place Friday evening highlighting top songwriters in Latin genres such as reggaeton, traditional Mexican, pop and more.

Performances by:

Pedrina Y Rio

Edna “Pedrina” Arcila and Javier “Rio” Ceron are a colorful duo from Bogota, Colombia, who are putting a quirky, kitschy and catchy spin on classic Latin American pop. Utilizing both electronics and a live band, featuring drums and trombone, to augment Ceron’s guitar and sultry chanteuse Arcila’s silky vocals, Pedrina y Rio are swiftly becoming a name to watch. Their debut album, Canciones Sin Ropa, dropped last June, and their video for “Enamorada” has already earned over 1 million views on YouTube.

Vanessa Zamora

Tijuana-born Vanessa Zamora is a young singer-songwriter who, after devoting herself to studying music, started re-interpreting pop songs and posting them on social media, while simultaneously honing her own brand of earnest, emotionally candid songwriting. She has since gone on to release both a debut EP, Correr, in 2012 and her first full-length album, Hasta la Fantasia, in 2014. Zamora’s heartfelt, personable songs have earned her multiple nominations for IMA’s (Indie Music Awards) in Mexico.

Joyce Santana

Hailing from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Joyce Santana is a swiftly rising star on the Latin hip-hop/trap scene who, since he started rapping in his bedroom back in 2011, has become renowned for his lyrically vivid depictions of street life through heartfelt interior monologues about heartbreak. The video for his new single, “Young Pablo,” is being touted as a gripping epic, bringing Santana’s gritty storytelling to life in a cinematic tour de force.


Specializing in songs that seamlessly blend contemporary alternative sounds with traditional Mexican music — along with a dramatic dash of cinematic flourish -- Mitre is a singer/songwriter who’s been turning heads for some time. His eponymous new album features contributions ranging from Austin singer/songwriter David Garza to comedienne Margaret Cho, and is poised to take his transcendent pop worldwide.