The BMI Pop Awards Red Carpet was chock full of star power, stellar songwriters and the night’s big honoree, stylish super-producer and performer Mark Ronson.
He received the BMI Champion Award, which acknowledges both his creative accomplishments and extensive philanthropic work.
He’s hard at work on a new album, and talked about how he knows when a song has the right sauce.
“You have a little bit of an instinct. Sometimes it’s like leaving the table in Vegas, you won $300, let’s quit while we’re ahead,” he said.
The show featured a tribute to the songwriting stalwart, curated by Ronson himself. Two of his protégés, the husky-voiced King Princess and the melismatic maven Yebba, covered some of his most-famous songs, to great effect.
His ear for fresh sounds has served him well through the years.
“The songs I’ve had that have really had success, like ‘Rehab’ or ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ or ‘Uptown Funk’ – they don’t really sound like anything else on the radio at the time. They’re a little unusual for what’s going on,” he said.
Songwriter of the Year winner Justin Tranter talked, nay, gushed about the joy of writing with female singers.
“When I was young all I cared about was female singer-songwriters. Whether it was Lauryn Hill, Aretha, or Ani Difranco, or Tori Amos or Paul Cole, I just wanted to hear what women had to say. So to get to witness and collaborate with women is really exciting,” he said.
Tranter wrote massive hits for women last year, most-notably for Julia Michaels’ ‘Issues’. He also wrote a smash with the members of Linkin Park called ‘Heavy.’
Mike Shinoda, one of the band’s founders, talked about his new solo work and what it felt like to write songs about his late bandmate, Chester Bennington.
“It started in a dark place, in a sense claustrophobic and very down. Just like with most people who suffer loss and trauma, you don’t stay there. You’re trying to come out of it,” he said.
Shinoda has a long history with BMI, having been nominated for songwriting awards 14 years in a row for his work with Linkin Park. A presenter from the night shared a touching moment onstage, tears in her eyes, talking about the group’s first gigs in Hollywood all those years ago.
Flanked by hitmakers Ross Golan and Tranter, Shinoda talked songwriting schools of thought, about how everyone in the room has their own approach.
“At an event like this, you have different philosophies of thought about how to write a song, or how to write a hit, or how to write something that’s just worth listening to,” he said. “I’m a rational and a creative person. I want to marry the right and the left brain when I’m doing it”
Another heatseeking songwriter is Edwin Perez, who took an award home for co-writing Justin Bieber’s ‘Let Me Love You.’ He shared his thoughts on studio superstitions:
“Two worst things you can say in a studio is ‘this is a hit’ and ‘we’re gonna be rich.’ [laughter] I’m like ‘ahhh shut up’ when people say that.”
Perez is a diligent worker, prolific. He’s seen it all, and still gets surprised sometimes.
“I’ve gotten huge budgets to do albums, and I’m like, this is the one and nothing happens. And I’ve spent 12 minutes doing a song, a little bit out of key, and I bought my mom a house with it. So, go figure.”