Evan Bogart Talks Hit Songwriting and ‘Spinning Gold,’ the Biopic About His Dad, Casablanca Records Founder Neil Bogart
The entertainment business is filled with polymaths, but this week’s “Strictly Business” podcast guest, Evan Bogart, is a rarity even by its standards: He’s a songwriter of hits for Beyonce, Rihanna, Lizzo and others; owner of the large publishing company Seeker Music; chair of the Recording Academy’s new songwriters and composers wing; and not least, son of the late, legendary Neil Bogart, founder of the 1970s powerhouse Casablanca Records, which brought the world Kiss, Donna Summer, Parliament-Funkadelic and the Village People. Neil is the subject of “Spinning Gold,” a biopic directed and written by Evan’s older brother Tim, for which Evan is executive music producer, and which comes out March 31.
Needless to say, art and entrepreneurship run in the Bogart family genes, even though Neil passed away in 1982 when Evan was just four years old, and he and Tim share their father’s zeal for both. They also have more than a little of his larger-than-life personality. “I wrote a song with Donna Summer for her [final] album,” Evan recalls, “and she kept staring at me because she said she felt like she was in the room with my dad. And one time I went to Kiss’ management offices to pick up concert tickets, and this guy was just looking at me. I was like, ‘Yeah?,’ and he said, ‘I’m sorry, I feel like I’m having an acid trip — you look just like your dad.’”
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Over the years he’s worked in virtually every sector of the business — working at record labels, agencies and as both a manager and rapper in his early years before his songwriting took off with Rihanna’s “S.O.S.” and Beyonce’s “Halo,” along with hits for Lizzo, Madonna, Demi Lovato, Jason DeRulo and others. But like his brother, he has the ability to quickly shift gears from creative to business — “I’ve tried focusing only on creative or only on business,” he says. “But when I do, I feel like part of me is missing. I love doing both.”
He’s continuing to do all of the above, with his current focus on “Spinning Gold,” leading his creator-focused Seeker Music publishing company through acquisitions of catalogs by Christopher Cross, songwriters John Ryan (One Direction, Maroon 5, John Legend) and Jon Bellion (Miley Cyrus, Camila Cabello, Eminem) among others, and writing the music for his and Tim’s next film, “Verona,” a musical based on the real Romeo and Juliet, for which filming recently wrapped.
Bogart talks about all of the above, particularly his memories of his dad and the bittersweet experience of working on the film, in this week’s “Strictly Business.”
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