Top song crafters from Nashville and Los Angeles melded their creative talents during a recent inaugural, three-day pop/country winter songwriters retreat. The event at Nashville’s Fontanel was created by BMI and Warner/Chappell, and presented by City National Bank.
Writers taking part included Danielle Bradbery, Ross Copperman, Dan+Shay, Michael Dulaney, Jesse Frasure, Nicolle Galyon, Haley Georgia, Marv Green, Ross Golan, Hunter Hayes, David Hodges, Breyan Isaac, Nolan Lambroza, Ammar Malik, Bonnie McKee, Wendell Mobley, Maren Morris, Cam Ochs, Eric Paslay, The Band Perry, Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart, Dave Thomson, Laura Veltz, Tony Martin, Maggie Chapman, and Jordan Reynolds.
“Last June I had breakfast with Ross Golan, who is a BMI writer,” says BMI’s Jody Williams. “He lives in L.A. but spends a lot of time in Nashville. It was his idea, so we all put together this writers retreat.” The initial idea was to pair six pop writers with six country writers on any given day, while also pairing artists in different creative combinations.
Los Angeles writers stayed at the Inn at Fontanel, and met with the Nashville writers at the Fontanel mansion to work. “We needed a place that would create a community for the writers,” said Warner/Chappell’s BJ Hill. “It also had to be suitable to have five co-writing sessions going on at one time, without there being any interference.”
“I always love being introduced to new co-writers that I hadn’t had access to before, and I always learn something,” says BMI and Warner/Chappell writer Marv Green. “When it comes to the structure of a song, and composing, we think a little differently so I always learn a new little bag of tricks.”
“Nashville and L.A. are two very different cultures and different communities, so I feel when you bring writers together with a different background, a different skill set, and a different approach to how they write music, it creates a whole new sound,” says Jessa Gelt, of BMI’s Los Angeles office.
Get an inside look at the retreat below.