EVAN BOGART: NEW KIDD IN TOWN
June 12, 2010 Gail Mitchell
It took him a while to find his niche, but Evan "Kidd" Bogart (his actual name, including the quotes)—son of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart—is now busy cementing his songwriting credentials, which include Beyoncé's "Halo" and Rihanna's "SOS." He's also juggling executive producer duties for Bravo's new songwriter competition series, "Hitmakers."
Billed as "the hunt for the next great songwriter," "Hitmakers" is being developed in partnership with True Entertainment ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta") and the Writing Camp. The latter is the Hollywood-based songwriting/production/music publishing/music supervision company founded by Bogart and fellow writers Erika Nuri and David "DQ" Quinones. All three, together with Bogart's brother Timothy, serve as executive producers on "Hitmakers."
Open casting calls for undiscovered singer/songwriters were conducted in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Atlanta. Final callbacks are expected in the next few weeks, with shooting slated to begin in the fall. The winner will receive a cash prize, a publishing deal with Sony/ATV and a development deal with the Writing Camp for RCA/Jive.
"What we do at the Writing Camp is the driving force for creating this show," says Bogart, who penned "Halo" and "SOS" with his Camp colleagues. "I love co-writes; the human contact and passion involved are the fun part of songwriting."
As the son of Bogart and wife Joyce, who managed Casablanca's Donna Summer and Kiss, Bogart says he literally "grew up in music." But finding his true calling was another story. His journey took him from wanna-be rapper to A&R gigs at Interscope and Warner Bros. to management (producer JR Rotem). After a bout with drugs, during which he lost all of his money and clients, Bogart moved home to get sober and reinvent himself—this time as an assistant at a booking agency, where he met such acts as OneRepublic.
While trying to launch a girl group using Rotem's tracks, Bogart followed the producer's suggestion that he write to the songs himself. The group fizzled. But Bogart sold two of the cuts—one of which was "SOS." Since then, the BMI writer and self-described "hip-hop, trad pop and '80s pop head" has worked with Leona Lewis ("Happy") and Sean Kingston ("Take You There") as well as Britney Spears and Jason Derülo. He also segued into music supervision with the recent CTV movie "Turn the Beat Around."
Bogart's upcoming projects include a song on Travie McCoy's solo debut, "Lazarus"; writing collaborations with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder; and songs for Enrique Iglesias, JLS and Victoria Justice. Through a joint venture with Sony/ATV, the Writing Camp has signed three writers to mentor and write with as well.
"Songwriting is a collaborative art," Bogart says. "Even if you write on your own, there's always an A&R exec or producer involved. It's like making a cake every day with a different recipe. Some days the cake will taste like shit, other days it will taste real good."