Founded by radio executives as a non-profit, BMI now boasts more than 600,000 members. According to its website, “BMI is the bridge between songwriters and the businesses and organizations that play their music publicly. BMI serves as an advocate for the value of music, representing 7.5 million musical works created and owned by more than 600,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.”
African-Americans in top executive roles at the major media companies is often viewed as progress. We have had a tough time historically infiltrating the higher echelons of the music industry. Those days have definitely changed and may be seen as a thing of the past. Recently, we had a chance to talk with one of the movers and shakers in the industry who inspires and elevates us to believe change is here.
BMI Vice President, Writer-Publisher Relations, Catherine Brewton is an example of someone who has excelled and has not let anything stop her and encourages others to believe.
E8: What do you hope people can learn from your career path?
Catherine Brewton: I’ve always been an innovator in my career. I’ve never been the type of person who just shows up and does what’s outlined for me to do, and as a result of that I’ve been able to accomplish and do some really amazing things. So hopefully people can learn that with hard work, perseverance, and with faith all things are possible.
E8: What has been your greatest lesson in life?
Catherine Brewton: Nothing prepares you for losing a parent. Sometimes we get stuck in sorrow and are not cognizant of things that are happening around us. Nonetheless, God will one day awaken you and allow you to come out of your grief to aide other people, and in turn, that brings you to a place of peace. Learning to use my own strength spiritually has been a skill that I have honed. During that period of my life which was so dark, God gave me a supernatural strength to get past my grief and help other people. So I think my greatest lesson in life has been, even at your lowest, you have to be willing to give back to others. That will give you ultimate peace and a sense of purpose.
E8: Who is your hero and why?
Catherine Brewton: I’ve never had to go outside of my house for a hero; my mother was a champion. ‘Hero’ doesn’t really do justice to her legacy or her life. I feel like if there was a 13th disciple, Barbara Brewton-Cameron would have been the 13th. I was put in a place where my business could have made me somebody contrary to who I am and I think the balance, the faith, the constitution and the fear of God that she instilled in me equipped me for what I’m doing in my career and life. So when you talk about a hero, my mom is my mentor and my hero and will forever be. Even though in the physical she’s not here, I will always look to her and God for strength.
E8: What encourages you to get up and go on? Do you have a mantra or saying that you recite and live by?
Catherine Brewton: Each new day God gives me that I’m able to do something that matters, that’s not in vain, is what encourages me to get up and go on. The mantra I live by is ‘to whom much is given much is required,’ and I have embraced that notion now more than ever because God has given me such favor and such an abundance of purpose that my everyday life is to inspire others.
E8: What is the most shocking fact about you that people don’t know?
Catherine Brewton: Most people don’t know that I’ve dedicated my life to continuing my mother’s legacy of feeding and clothing the homeless and continuously giving back to the underserved at Harvest Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Some may find it shocking; I find it rewarding.
E8: What do you want to do this year?
Catherine Brewton: I want to continue to brand myself, as well as more hosting and speaking engagements. I’d also like to explore and produce more content.
E8:How has this project/ time in your life changed you and made you better?
Catherine Brewton:The Trailblazers project has been so near and dear to me and it has become such a big undertaking in terms of what it’s become. The mere fact that we can renew the sound of classic gospel music and honor the legends and icons of gospel has been a real joy to me. The fact that we can bring these icons in the room, showcase their music, and show we still value and honor them for paving the way, for so much of what they’ve done, is such a great testament of our abilities. I thank God for giving me a platform and using me to take this platform to a bigger audience, but also for a greater cause.
E8: What do you want your people to know?
Catherine Brewton: My core is a byproduct of a remarkable woman, my mother. She gave so much to those who had nothing to give. She was a champion for the poor and disenfranchised. I have learned to not only be concerned about the less fortunate, but also that we are all equal in God’s eyes and when you do for the least of them he honors that wholeheartedly. I have been blessed to have worked with and honored so many greats like James Brown, The Jacksons, The Gap Band, Commission, Andrae Crouch, The Winans and many others. God gave me this platform because he knew he could trust me; for that, I give him the praise and honor.
Make sure that you check out Catherine on Instagram: C_brewton is her handle.
Make sure to check out our gallery fro this year’s BMI Gospel luncheon below:
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