Catherine Brewton is the powerhouse behind Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). As Vice President of Writer-Publisher Relations in Atlanta, she signs new talent to the company and works closely with songwriters. As the Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards approaches, Brewton spoke with Sheen Magazine about the hectic week leading up to the awards and her goals for the new year. Her charisma and outstanding character spoke volumes as she expressed her excitement for what was to be expected from the awards this year. This is one show you don’t want to miss!
What’s a typical day in the office for you?
(Laughing) A week like this week is non-stop. I get up in the morning and try not to be too engaged, but when I’m in production or show mode, I am literally trying to mentally manage what needs to be done for the week. Historically, I wake up, pray, and meditate to process what is ahead of me for the day. I try to touch base with my team to plan what we have to do for the day, and by the time I get in the office, my day is basically scheduled for me. I try to stay away from doing any outside appointments because I like to do more in the office. This week is an exception. If I am in show mode, I typically have 14-16 hour days and generally I average 8-10 hours. Things that would generally be normal for me this week are far from normal!
How did you begin your career in the music industry?
I was recruited. I was a financial analyst. I worked in finance for General Electric then fresh out of school, I moved to Atlanta to take this job. I had a friend that works in PR and was working with the mayor’s office. The guy she was working with represented Joel Katz, who is a well-known entertainment attorney in the game. Joel represented the Grammy’s and the Grammy’s Merit Chapter was looking for one to start in Atlanta, and they recruited me to open the Atlanta office. My first job was the Grammy’s and my second job was me opening the Atlanta office for BMI. I really didn’t pursue it, it was more predestined.
In school, what was your primary focus?
I wanted to be in marketing and public relations. My mom said as a little girl, I just wanted to travel the world, and obviously I didn’t know what that looked like. I was always analytical and gave great insight and very creative. I wouldn’t say music is what I pursued. I saw myself as a corporate businesswoman, and now I am an executive in a creative position. So now I have budgets to manage, I produce and host. I can play both sides of the fence. It really is a blessing and it has helped me to be a well-rounded executive. I’ve been gifted enough to be both analytical and creative.
What are some important lessons you have learned on your journey?
You are constantly a work in progress. When people feel they have arrived, they get comfortable. You wake up everyday inspiring to be a better you. For every mistake own it and every accomplishment own it. Balance all ups and downs and good and bad. When I am wrong, I own it. I am a very type A personality and ‘A’ type people function thinking others think like them. I have to make sure I communicate with other people to process that everyone including myself is a work in progress.
What can we expect from the awards this year?
Greatness! You know what’s so weird? Of all the things you do in your career, I never thought what we started years ago would be a TV show, and it was just a pure place. I wanted a platform to recognize some of the greats [because] kids get invested in popular music and don’t see who the trendsetters and trailblazers are. It is humbling in every sense of the word. There will be great performances. BeBe and CeCe Winans, they are iconic giants [and] there are things about their career that set the tone. Mary Mary came in and really made gospel music almost like hip-hop and R&B, which really pushed the envelope, but still integral. Our MV singer/songwriter Tommy Sims has been a participant and involved. I am excited about where we are. I think it will be a great night of music for Atlanta.
What do you look forward to every year at the awards?
Oh my gosh, I don’t know! I’m excited to see Tamia, Deborah Cox and Fred Hammond together, and Jonathan McReynolds. I can’t wait for rehearsals! I think we assembled one of the best ever! This is going to be our best I promise, and I am so super excited! Last year, Tasha Cobbs came to rehearsal and she literally ran her whole song, and by the time she was done every eye in the room was far from dry. Maybe 30 people in the room were bawling and got caught up. It’s just amazing!
What’s next for you?
That’s always a question asked of me and I keep mental notes. I will become more extensively involved in production and hosting. There is a place in Charlotte that was inherited to me by my mother, who passed away, to help the homeless, so my desire is to provide more time and resources there. I want to be involved in more production outside of BMI.
Follow Catherine on Instagram @c_brewton