Five Questions with Singer/Songwriter Cat Lamondt-Barnard by Copyright Alliance
This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Cat Lamondt-Barnard.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a singer/songwriter and music publisher? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
Living in Africa and studying overseas has made me realize just how different Africa is from the rest of the world. It has fantastic advantages but also some hurdles due the lack of knowledge and education when it comes to the legal and business side of the industry. Songwriters were giving up writing and composing music because it was just not viable for them. That, more than anything, was my greatest inspiration to study Music Publishing and Copyright Law so I can help my people in Africa to showcase their incredible talent.
2. Can you take us through your process?
First, I really believe in “being the change.” In a continent riddled with Apartheid and racism, I wanted to prove to the world that music can bring the African people together. As a songwriter, I believe one should always co-write “up.” Write with people that know more than you, one is never too old to learn and be open to new ideas. It has taken me 8 years to just get our company to have offices in South Africa, Kenya, Nashville, Tennessee and Boca Raton, Florida. It also took us that amount of time to finally get into the inner circles where we can pitch our songwriters’ music to film and TV and Music Supervisors across the world.
3. Does everything you produce make money?
No, sometimes one verse from a song that we wrote is fantastic and the rest is not so good. The trick is in knowing that we learn through the process of working. When it comes to copyright and publishing, there are numerous times when I don’t make money. Not all songs that songwriters give to me to publish become a hit song or are marketable NOW. The fantastic thing about music is that it works like magic. As long as you have that song up your sleeve, somewhere, sometime, maybe at the most unexpected moment, somebody is going to need just that song, and then I will be ready to provide it.
4. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
There are a lot of artists who don’t realize how much heart and hard work goes into writing and composing a song. They don’t understand that a copyrighted song gets protected in South Africa as part of intellectual property. So using someone’s song without getting permission is a crime. As a publisher, I am amazed every day how little people actually know about the industry that they want to earn a living in.
5. When did you first became aware of copyright and why?
I was 18 years old when I wrote a song at University as part of our curriculum. After returning from the Christmas holidays, a fellow student had taken the song, recorded it and it became a hit song for her in the South African Industry. It broke my heart. But I had no proof to show that it was my composition, except for the word of my professor. Upon advice from the Dean of the University I then spoke to the head of the Law Faculty and they referred me to a copyright lawyer.