Evan Bogart

Evan “Kidd” Bogart wants the songs he writes to affect people in an emotional way. He wants them to be the soundtrack to people’s lives. He wants them to be events. The Los Angeles-based songwriter and music industry executive has achieved these goals numerous times over the course of his songwriting career, having had a hand in some of the most indelible hits of the past decade including Rihanna’s global No. 1 smash “SOS” and Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Bogart’s “Halo” was nominated for three Grammy Awards, winning one. Bogart has also had his songs recorded and released by a wide range of artists, including Madonna, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Enrique Iglesias, and many others.

Bogart is also that rare creative who combines a killer ear with ample business instincts. In addition to writing hit songs, his career trajectory includes time spent in the A&R department at Interscope Records (where he was instrumental in the label’s signing of Eminem). Evan co-founded several artist management and development companies, with clients who have included the group Kara’s Flowers and blues-rock singer ZZ Ward. His career also includes a stint working as an agent at the Agency for the Performing Arts and helped to produce the reality TV shows Platinum Hit (Bravo) and Majors & Minors (The Hub). Bogart’s success is born out of a mix of sheer talent, gut instinct, pop smarts, and considerable personality.

Q: Do you prefer to collaborate or write on your own?

Bogart: I hate writing on my own. I only prefer to co-write. I already know what I’m going to think. So, for me what’s exciting about writing is being in a room with someone and being able to share different opinions on the same subject.

Q: How do you prepare for a session?

Bogart: I lather peanut butter on my face, I’m just kidding. No, before a session I really like to zone out, listen to old classic music, and meditate, for about fifteen minutes. Just to really center myself and focus on what the job is at hand before I walk into a session.

When I’m not writing I like to do a lot of research about lyrics and concepts and think of stories I want to tell and stories from my life and other people’s lives. And then anytime I’m driving around, I’m always recording melodies into my phone. I feel like it’s really good to be prepared for a session but often there are times when I walk into a session I don’t even actually reference any of that stuff, it just kind of good backup.

Q: Are you nervous when writing with someone for the first time?

Bogart: I always get a little bit of the jitters when I’m writing with someone for the first time cause I guess you never really know how it’s going to go (I guess you never really know how any session is going to go). I get a little nervous just because of the unknown, but that’s also what’s exciting, it feels more like adrenaline then a negative nervousness it’s more of a positive nervousness.

Q: What’s been your biggest professional success to date?

Bogart: I guess my biggest songwriting success to date, probably from a cultural standpoint is “Halo” by Beyoncé. I feel like that song was not only commercially successful but it exists in the fabric of people’s lives. You know whether it’s good times, bad times, romantic times, in wakes. You know Beyoncé sang that song as a eulogy for Michael (Jackson) at her shows, she sang it with Chris Martin during the Haiti relief benefit for the earthquake. I feel like it’s those kinds of songs that are really the special ones. So, for that reason, Halo would be my biggest professional success, so far.

Q: What’s been your biggest disappointment professionally?

Bogart: Generally speaking, because I don’t think you can specifically name one biggest disappointment. But generally speaking, any time that I go to a session and I don’t give it one hundred percent and I’m not having fun and I leave the session feeling like I haven’t been myself, I’ve compromised myself, or feel I haven’t given all of what I can give, I am disappointed.

I feel like I’m grateful to be doing this for a living. I could be doing a million other things and I get to do what I love. So, I have to have fun when I’m doing it I want to I want to have fun with the people I’m doing it with. I want to feel like I’m giving all of my best. So, when I don’t, I am disappointed.