Behind every great song is an even greater songwriter. Their praises, however, often go unsung as the recognition goes to the celebrity out front.
But Tuesday night at Beverly Hills’ Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the songwriters headlined Broadcast Music, Inc.’s 63rd annual Pop Awards, where the masterminds behind the past year’s hottest tracks were recognized.
Receiving the highest honor was Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, who was bestowed with the President’s Award for her storied career in songwriting.
“It's super fun, because it’s for songwriting and that’s my love,” she told the Times on the red carpet.
On stage, in a pink, vintage Valentino caped gown, she noted the power of songwriters to speak truth through the music they compose.
“You all supply the pens and we attack the paper, or the melody, or the boyfriend, in my case,” she said.
Sharing the award for songwriter of the year – in a five-way tie – were Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Noel Zancanella, Benny Blanco and Tim Berling, better known as Avicii. John Legend clinched the BMI Pop Song of the Year honor for co-writing “All of Me.”
Ahead of the event, songwriters gave their advice to those looking to get into the industry. We’ve compiled some of their words of wisdom below.
Songwriter: Bonnie McKee
Writing credits include: Katy Perry's “Roar,” “Teenage Dream” and “Wide Awake”
Advice: “It’s a numbers game. Try to create something every day. Don’t be too precious about songs. Every song you write, you learn something new."
Songwriter: Noel Zancanella
Writing credits include: Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” and Maroon 5’s “Maps”
Advice: “Play an instrument -- you don’t have to be a virtuoso -- and that’ll give you the confidence. Then, just go for it. And write your [butt] off.”
Songwriter: Andy Grammer
Writing credits include: his own two albums (self-titled 2011 debut, 2014's "Magazines or Novels")
Advice: “It’s all about having a point of view and not being jaded. Songwriting is all about putting your heart on your sleeve, and most of [the songs that come from that] aren’t good. But you've got to come inspired to write and don’t get frustrated.”
Songwriter: Evan “Kidd” Bogart
Writing credits include: MKTO’s “Classic”
Advice: "Don’t be so precious with your music. Start a fire yourself. Get a laptop, make your music and put it on the internet for free. Stay true to yourself and just go.”
Songwriters: The Weepies (Deb Talan and Steve Tannen)
Writing credits include: Five studio albums whose songs have been licensed for shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "Sex and the City," "Gossip Girl" and "How I Met Your Mother"
Advice: “Keep writing. Keep digging. That’s where the heart of everything is.”
Songwriter: Phillip Phillips (“American Idol” season 11 winner)
Writing credits include: Two studio albums including the hit song "Home"
Advice: “You’ve got to know how it feels to suck. You’ve got to be humble and learn as much as you can. Just because you’re an amazing singer doesn’t mean it’s going to get you a lot of places. You’ve got to know what you want out of your career.”
Songwriter: Brandi Carlile
Writing credits include: Five studio albums, including 2015's "The Firewatcher's Daughter"
Advice: “My advice is community -- play with other people, write songs with other people. Don’t get too far inside your head and don’t compete.”
Songwriter: Benny Blanco
Writing credits include: Iggy Azalea's “Black Widow,” Rixton’s “Me and My Broken Heart” and Maroon 5’s “Maps”
Advice: “If someone says you can’t do it, say ... them and keep doing it until you’re done.”
Writing credits include: Six studio albums, over 40 million copies (and 65 million singles) sold worldwide
Advice: “Writing your story, to me, is a necessity. You can be pretty, slim, have nice shoes, be popular, but if you have nothing to say, then I’m not listening. ... The more uncomfortable you are, the more honest you're being, the better the outcome will probably be.”