The pathway past the Spanish-style home in the hills above the San Fernando Valley leads to a writing and recording studio with a piano, an array of guitars and every inch of wall space filled with awards from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This serene setting is the workshop of Latin Grammy-Award winning songwriter Claudia Brant, a 2016 Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.
Claudia Brant's credits are multitude, with songs for Latin superstars like Ednita Nazario, Gloria Trevi, Luis Fonsi, Thalia, Alejandro Fernández, David Bustamante and Paulina Rubio; crossover artists Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Il Volo; and pop hit makers Fifth Harmony, John Legend, Josh Groban, Fantasia, Michael Bublé and Barbra Streisand.
With collaborators including Diane Warren, David Foster, Toby Gad and Lindy Robbins, among many others, Brant relates a valuable lesson she learned from writing with Desmond Child. “We needed to find a title for a song, and every one I suggested he rejected. Finally he told me, ‘Whenever you have to title a song, picture it on the Number One position of the Billboard charts. How is it going to look?’ It has to be something unique.”
In the late ’90s, when she first arrived in Los Angeles from her native Argentina, Brant was not yet a platinum songwriter. “But I was on fire,” she says. “I was looking for a publishing deal. I had no clue. I would open up the LA Weekly and I would lose it because it was such an amazing and diverse scene. I didn’t know what club to go to first. I would have meetings in studios and be introduced to artists whose names I had only seen on records.”
In this era, Brant now invites artists to her home to co-write. “I block out three to four days. This includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I get to know and understand them, and find what they want to say at this stage in their lives. I become a little bit of a therapist and make them comfortable. I have kids and dogs, and it’s fun. I am a very social person. This is what I have been doing the past four or five years.”
Brant also travels, having just returned from Medellin, Colombia where she worked with a young reggaetón group. She is anticipating writing sessions in Italy, and has an upcoming trip to Brazil where she will be co-writing with a wish list of legendary songwriters.
Stateside, she is involved in a project of artist development with Bruno Mars that is still under wraps. “Bruno is way younger than me, but he is one of the few artists who is bringing something interesting to the table. He can play instruments; he can write, sing and dance. And he’s cool.”
She is equally enthusiastic about the Spanish artist Pablo López, who she met in 2014 when he was nominated for a Latin Grammy. “He had never written with anyone before. When he was in Los Angeles recording, he took an afternoon off, came here, and we wrote two songs. One is going to be part of his record. He could perform in a stadium or connect on guitar or piano, and people love him.”
At the awards gala in Miami this Fall, Brant will be inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. “It sounds like I’m a dinosaur,” she laughs, “but I’m super happy. I’m going to take my kids and my mom. It’s a big achievement, but at the same time it encourages me to do more.”
In addition to her writing expertise, Brant is an accomplished producer and an evocative vocalist. Her most recent artist project, Manuscrito, tracked live in the studio, features her versions of songs that were recorded by others. She is envisioning a future release with more of her songs, performed in the quintessential Argentinian style of Bolero.
As perhaps the most visible Latin songwriter in her adopted city, Brant reflects on her amazing span of success. “I love people and travel, and I’m lucky enough to have a career that embodies all of that. I think it’s just me. I really love what I do.”
For a complete discography, visit Claudiabrant.com