Prolific songwriter Claudia Brant prepares for her ASCAP Music Cafe debut
Claudia Brant has written more than 4,000 songs. Of those, 1,000 have been recorded either by her or other artists, she says.
Those artists the singer-songwriter-composer-producer have worked with include musicians of a smattering of genres — everyone from Carlos Santana, Barbara Streisand, Josh Groban, Ricky Martin, Michael Bublé, Fantasia, Il Volo, 5th Harmony, John Legend, Enrique Iglesias, The Tenors, Nathan Pacheco, Frankie J, Kenny G, Marc Anthony and Jennifer López and more.
Brant is set to sing some of the songs she wrote with those artists, as well as some from her recently released Grammy-nominated album “Sincera,” at the ASCAP Music Cafe 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, and Monday, Jan. 28.
“I’m looking forward to it, because I’ve never been to Sundance,” Brant said. “I’ve performed at ASCAP Music Expo; it’s been such a pleasure. So the fact that I’ll be playing at Sundance is great, especially since I’m a movie fan. I’m mostly into indie movies and stuff, so it will be fun to meet some cool people from the movie industry.”
Brant, who grew up an only child in Argentina, doesn’t know where her musical talent came from.
“My parents are music lovers but not musicians, and we listened to vinyl — a lot of jazz records and Brazilian records.”
Brant was prone to boredom because she had no brothers and sisters and didn’t like playing with dolls.
“When I was six, my parents had the wonderful idea of getting me a guitar,” she said. “I started taking lessons and singing, and I would spend hours trying to come up with chords. So, my guitar became my best friend.”
During her early teens, Brant began putting lyrics to her chords to emulate her musical idols.
“I was a fan of Paul Williams, who is now the head of ASCAP,” she said. “I loved the Carpenters, Stephen Bishop, Carole King and James Taylor — that singer-songwriter style. When you think of the amount of songs that came out of those incredible creative minds and hearts, it’s just astounding.”
When it came time for Brant to choose a career, her parents sent her to college.
“They wanted me to have a degree in something, because they thought I was going to starve my entire life if I went into music,” she said with a laugh. “I went along with them and studied architecture. I really hated it, but it was the most creative thing they would allow me to do. It was either (becoming a) doctor, lawyer or architect.”
Two years after she started her studies, though, she decided to go into music full time.
“I was already writing songs and singing in bands on the side, so when I turned 21, I started actively working as a singer,” she said. “I got a recording deal and became an artist in my country, while writing songs for other people.”
After she was dropped from the label, a friend asked her to pack her CDs and move to Los Angeles in 1998.
“I started hitting meetings right away, and people asked who my publisher was,” Brant said. “I didn’t know what that meant. So I ended up with a bunch of deals on the table.”
Over the years, Brant has reached a level of songwriting where she doesn’t even have to pitch her songs.
“Ninety-nine percent of my sessions are with artists who want to work with me, and that’s fascinating,” she said. “I’m thankful for that, because it’s a privilege to one day work with an alternative rock artist and the next day to work with a ranchera or urban artist. I really enjoy that, because the artists I work with look at music in different ways.”
The thing that remains constant in her songwriting is her personal standard of quality.
“I do know that music I write, whether it’s for me or another artist, has to be a good song no matter what genre,” she said. “The melody has to be beautiful. The harmony has to be interesting and the production has to be cool.”
While Brant said the awards and accolades are nice, there is nothing like reaching an audience.
“When Enrique Iglesias sings a song we wrote during a concert and you have 30,000 souls sing along with him, you can’t compare that with a Grammy or a Golden Globe.”
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