OGDEN, Utah – Sean Bishop, a musical theatre major at Weber State University, recently won a 2009 John Lennon Scholarship from Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
The John Lennon Scholarships recognize the best and brightest young songwriters in the country. Bishop took third place in the competition, which included a $2,500 academic scholarship, for his song "The Real Me."
"The song is about being an anxious teenager and not knowing who your real friends are," he said. "It's all about self-exploration."
A Riverton High School graduate, Bishop began writing music when he was 13 and has already graduated from the American Musical Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. He cites Billy Joel and the Beatles as major influences on his music, which he describes as mainly piano-based bluesy, folksy rock 'n' roll.
Bishop originally learned of the BMI competition from a poster in the Val A. Browning Center. "I had just gotten out of a class where the professor (Catherine Zublin, associate dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities) told us to apply for everything, because you never know what opportunities you'll get," he said. "So I just took the application, filled it out, threw my CD in an envelope and got in just under the deadline."
That led to a phone conversation with a representative at BMI this past summer informing Bishop that he was a scholarship winner. "She told me I took third place in the scholarship contest, and I said, ‘Shut up. Who is this? No way!'" he said. "She laughed and I laughed; and I jumped up and down and screamed a little."
Bishop's winning song is just one of many songs he has written. "I have been writing music since I was 13," he said. "I have a notebook full of lyrics that probably has 150 to 200 songs total."
A junior at WSU, Bishop plans on completing his degree next year and hopes that the competition will further his career opportunities in musical theater or as a recording artist. "BMI has talked about doing a compilation CD with the music down the road, and they give you a lot of exposure," he said. "It's cool to know that my song is being passed around BMI, and a lot of people listened to it and obviously liked it."
"The Real Me" can be heard on Bishop's MySpace music channel at myspace.com/seanbishopmusic.
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