Songtrust Spotlight, Client Spotlight

Songtrust Spotlight: Brigitte Mena

Chantelle St. Clair
Chantelle St. Clair on May 9, 2018

Brigitte-1 BASED IN Dallas, TX, Brigitte Mena is a singer-songwriter, that, over the years, has been involved in several music projects including folk pop duo, TBA, and former Dallas indie rock band, Oakheart. She’s known for her powerhouse voice and writing lyrics with a raw and pure nature. Most recently, she released her debut solo album, “Maslow” and has plans to tour locally. In addition to songwriting and performing, Brigitte enjoys learning about the business side of music and collaborating with other artists.                         line-5

When did you write your first song and what inspired you to write it?

I’ve been writing songs since I was about 12 years old, but I’d say my first “real” one was when I was in high school. It’s called “Reaching” and it’s basically about being there for someone in times of need. Starting high school was very scary for me because I was super shy and felt like I didn’t quite fit in with the people around me. It’s a whole new ballgame being surrounded by people who don’t even quite know who they are themselves, while also feeling pressure to discover who you are overnight. I wrote this song for a friend who was experiencing the same situation as me. Thinking back now though, I think a lot of people could have connected to this song at the time.

Where do you do your best writing?

Definitely when I am alone. It’s funny, growing up my mom used to eavesdrop on me outside my room and I would get so angry at her. There’s comfort in being alone while I’m writing. It’s a very vulnerable experience, so being alone allows me to express exactly how I’m feeling.

What was the first time you recognized yourself as a songwriter?

I’d say when I was around 17. Songwriting was a daily thing for me at the time, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I’d come home from school and just sit in my room with my guitar for hours. I remember running out of pages from this little notebook I wrote all of my songs in and feeling like I had accomplished something meaningful for the first time.

What is your favorite songwriting tool?

I think my best writing comes out of my own personal experiences, but I’ve also written some songs based on what other people are going through. I like to focus on the super raw experience, not really letting a formulaic song structure hinder the expression. I also draw a lot of my inspiration from psychology.

Do you have a trick when you face writer’s block?

I actually just experienced this for the first time a couple years ago. It was right before my band at the time broke up and I couldn’t get anything out. I remember feeling frustrated, defeated, and useless. I kept trying to force songs out, but the best advice I can give someone who is facing writer’s block is to know it’s okay and just take a break for awhile. My best songs come out when emotions are loaded and heavy, but I’m not always feeling this way. I had to learn that it’s okay and natural to not always be writing.

How did you find out about Songtrust?

One of my friends works at Songtrust. She knew I was looking for a music publishing company since I just released my album. I looked into their services and was impressed with the amount of help and resources I received from several employees.  

As a new writer and client of Songtrust, how do you interact with our community during the time that you’re waiting for royalties to come in?

Songtrust has already provided me with several resources and connections to other musicians, which is really more than I had expected from them. I’m a part of the Songtrust Facebook Group where I can interact and collaborate with other musicians. In fact, I have already had a couple other clients reach out to me about collaboration through this group. I’m also subscribed to their weekly newsletters and participate in their events, like the most recent webinar, which provides music business resources that really help me become a better business person. The community they’re building is really unique.

We heard you’re releasing a new album soon, what are the themes or backstory behind it?

My album “Maslow” is based on the psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.” His theory focuses on human fulfillment through behavior and modes of survival. There are five successive layers, each one being achieved by the attainment of a lower layer. Some of the lower levels include physiological and safety needs and then progresses into belongingness, love, esteem, and finally, self actualization (reaching your full potential). As previously mentioned, I’ve always been inspired by psychological theories, and after learning about this theory in college, I was immediately fascinated by it as I truly and wholeheartedly believe in it. My album is a very personal journey through this hierarchy, each song referencing a different layer. Instead of a “triangular” model though, I take on a “circular” approach, focusing on the continuous cycle of different emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

Finally, what is your favorite song to listen to?

This is a hard one for me to choose. I’ve been really obsessed with Phoebe Bridgers lately. Her songwriting and voice is so pure and fragile, and I can’t get enough of it. One of my favorite songs she sings is “Killer.” If you haven’t heard of her, definitely check out her album, “Stranger in the Alps.”

Related Articles

Industry Spotlight: AFEM

AFEM (Association for Electronic Music) is the trade body for the entire ecosystem of Electronic Music, from Labels to Live, Managers to Media, Technology to Talent. They connect their worldwide membership to develop business opportunities and drive change in the industry where needed. 

Jan 16, 2019

Songtrust Spotlight: Royalties Team

JOHN COSENZA graduated from Oneonta State University with a degree in Music Industry. John has always been in bands and loved audio recording & production, but felt it was important to learn the business.  His first job after school was at the Harry Fox Agency, and then moved on to Warner Music on the label side where he then moved over to publishing at EMI/Sony/ATV as an Income Tracker.  Prior to joining Songtrust, John ran Royalties & Income Tracking at SONGS Music Publishing.

JAMIE FRANZESE'S aspirations to become a rock-star died ten years ago; he then realized the next best thing to do was to help musicians get paid for their craft; accurately & efficiently. He's been with Downtown since 2012 doing just that and looks forward to continuing to provide unparalleled services to our clients.

ANNA MICELI born in New York, but raised on the road, spent most of her early years on tour with her family, thus sparking her affection for music. She attended the College of Saint Rose and studied Music Industry, where she cofounded Rose Record Label and SMAN Music Publishing. As a fellow songwriter, Anna is proud to have been one of the first few royalty members for Songtrust. She currently helps manage the ever-growing royalty department.

SAMANTHA SHANK recently graduated with her MBA in Music Business where she developed a deep interest in music publishing and the massive business surrounding the song. After learning about Songtrust’s aim to make the complex music publishing accessible to all writers, she knew she wanted to work there. Today, Samantha works hard every day as part of the Royalties team to make sure Songtrust is collecting every last penny out there for their writers.

NIKKI BROWN studied Undergrad at Syracuse University, where she majored in I.T and minored in Music Industry. She wanted a career at a place that bridged the gap between tech and the music industry, which is what brought her to working in Royalties at Songtrust.

STEVE GUIGLIANO graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a degree in Digital Media Production and has written and performed music most of his life as a guitarist. His love for music compelled him to find a career within the music industry and now is a member of the Royalties team at Songtrust as a Coordinator. 

MACKINGOSH ZUMARRAGA found his love for music through playing the piano and singing since the age of four. This passion prevailed throughout his school years and after graduating from Pace University with a degree in Arts and Entertainment Management, he decided to pursue a career in music publishing. With his experience in royalties, he aspires to help music creators develop not just artistically, but also financially, to provide them a better opportunity to impact the world. 

Dec 12, 2018

Songtrust Spotlight: NexGen

NEXGEN MUSIC is a worldwide independent record label group recognized for its pioneering sound representing underground and cross-mainstream music. Converging from countries across the globe, NexGen artists, composers and musicians showcase their talent of creating music that "pushes the envelope."

Through their various imprints the label showcases a wide range of musical genres and styles such as: Downtempo, Chill-Out, Nu/Future-Jazz, Drum & Bass, Bass Music, Dubstep, UK Garage, House, Electronica (EDM), Trap, Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop, Soul, Funk, Leftfield, Experimental, Dance, Pop and more.

NEXGEN MUSIC is an artist-centric brand devoted to creating a forward-looking, inclusive and multifaceted musical community. They foster a philosophy of artistic growth, collaboration and experimentation, uniting promising new talent with established music production artists.

Dec 5, 2018