Powerful Women: BMI Vice President Catherine Brewton Shows the Power in Getting “Back to the Basics”
(AllHipHop Features) In the early stage of our conversation, her genuine level of care could be felt, but would not overshadow her esteemed resume. Brewton is one of the music industry’s leading executives. With an ear for current trends as well as an appreciation of legacy artists, she is a trusted advocate for the music thriving creative community. As BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Brewton directs outreach to songwriters and music publishers in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. She leads many of BMI’s marquee annual events, including the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards and installments of BMI’s popular “How I Wrote That Song” panel series focusing on the industry’s most talented and successful songwriters and producers. Throughout her career, Brewton has worked with A-list stars in both gospel and R&B/Hip-Hop including Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, Pharrell, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Al Green, Nicki Minaj and many more.
Brewton is involved in numerous organizations, including NARAS, Women Executives of America, BESLA (Black Entertainment Sports Lawyer Association), Starkey Hearing Foundation, and the Atlanta Songwriter’s Association. She also serves on the boards of USO (United Services Organizations), The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) and COCM (Community Outreach Christian Ministries)/Harvest Center. Continuing to feed her philanthropic passion, through her production company Crescent Productions, Brewton is the executive producer and founder of “Hope For Harvest,” a five-day fundraiser to support the ongoing efforts of feeding the poor and underserved in the Charlotte, NC community.
Brewton has been recognized in top publications including Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” issue and the Hollywood Reporter “10 Grammy Greats” spread. Most recently she was featured in Vibe magazine’s “30 awesome and inspiring” list for Women’s History Month in addition to being featured in Root magazine for the second year in a row as one of their “Top 20 Gospel Industry Power Players.” Brewton has also been featured in Ebony magazine for its “Style Spotlight” column in addition to her feature in Marie Claire magazine for its “Mogul Maintenance” column followed by a day in the life shoot in collaboration with Lancome cosmetics. In 2013 Brewton was named one of the “Top Women in Music” by Billboard.
AllHipHop was able to get a moment of her time to ask some questions and share a bit of her story as a woman in the music and entertainment industry:
AllHipHop: Could you explain what your job entails:
Catherine Brewton: Well, it’s not typical. I deal with the creative side, managing all genres from hip-hop to gospel and develop vast relationships where I am a trusted advocate when it comes to making great music.
AllHipHop: What’s the most enjoyable part of the job and your duties:
Catherine Brewton: I love that I don’t have a typical day. I love that I can be a part of different sessions, I’ve sat in with Michael Jackson, The Fugees and have been a part of a lot of careers. I started young, but learned quickly and had some great people help me, especially on the Hip-Hop side.
AllHipHop: What is the hardest part:
Catherine Brewton: The hardest part sometimes, is understanding your legacy. It’s overwhelming at times. If you think about it, it’s so few of us that are at the executive level. That sometimes is a lot of pressure, but it comes with the territory. “To whom much is given, much is required,” you know.
AllHipHop: Who inspired you to become a leader or boss in the industry?
Catherine Brewton: I believe our foundations and inspirations should come from our parents. That is where I gained my inspiration, specifically from my mom. I learned two very important things. 1. to know your worth and 2. that God is your source for everything. So when you go out in the world there will be haters, but you will always have that foundation of know your worth. Another person that was very inspirational to me, is Joel Katz. He has been a Godsend. He saw me one day and said “I was special.” I was a financial analyst at the time, but I had to realize if what I was doing was actually what I wanted to be doing. You have to always think are you seeking what you want or what others what for you. Seek purpose over money.
AllHipHop: How do you balance work and personal life?
Catherine Brewton: Its CRAZINESS and sometimes I don’t have the energy, but I believe the best way to balance, is knowing when to shut down. You have to allow yourself to check out sometimes.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to you to be a powerful woman and a boss in the music and entertainment industry?
Catherine Brewton: Being a boss or powerful woman in the industry is kind of all about perception. I’ve accomplished what I have because I’ve used my platform to do things that matter, and that’s power. With power comes responsibility and as a woman, you have to always remember who you are and you will then find solace and peace.
AllHipHop: Any final thoughts or words of advice?
Catherine Brewton: Celebrate women of every walk of life. I often go back to my values from my mom. She taught me the basics. You can get caught up in so much around you and what others are doing, but you have to somehow “get back to the basics.” The basics are owning your beauty, stop alluring over fake things and false representations that define what the world thinks beauty is, find the beauty in yourself.