The music community was saddened today by news of the passing of Frances Williams Preston, longtime head of BMI and one of the pioneering female executives in the music industry. This morning, many of the artists she helped and executives she worked with reacted to her passing. We've compiled a few of these reactions below.
"Frances Williams Preston was a force of nature. She was smart, beautiful, tenacious, and generous. She put BMI on the culture map and shaped the careers of many: especially mine. Though we mourn the loss of a great leader and friend, she lives on through a legacy that is literally set in stone. The BMI Nashville building and her wing at Vanderbilt Hospital are two monuments that were erected by her and stand in tribute to her passion and drive for those she loved. God speed, dear friend." -- Del Bryant, BMI, President & CEO
"She was a huge mentor for me. She was a friend to songwriters and a major influence in helping other women in this town. She helped generations in this town. She was demanding. She was the best. She worked her butt off, but had a sense of class." -- Joe Galante, entrepreneur and former chairman, Sony Music Nashville
"Frances was awe-inspiring. I looked up to her so much -- she was a charming, powerful woman in an entrenched boys club. She rose to the top, and gathered admirers as she advanced, rather than enemies. She had a lot of grace, a keen eye for business and a true love of music." -- acclaimed singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash (via Tennessean.com)
"She was one of those remarkable people, an icon in the Nashville music industry and beyond." -- Thom Schuyler, signed to BMI music by Frances Preston, who went on to write songs recorded more than 200 artists including Kenny Rogers, John Conlee, Dan Seals and LeAnn Rimes.
"She's one of the grand matriarchs of country music, and a friend to all songwriters" -- Don Schlitz, ASCAP writer whose credits include "The Gambler," recorded by Kenny Rogers and "Forever And Ever, Amen," recorded by Randy Travis.
"Frances was a class act. She helped create the exciting energy that makes Nashville the 'Music City' it is today. I remember when you couldn't open a Billboard without seeing a dozen pictures of her. She knew how to treat people in ways that made them feel respected and important. That's how she got the best out of people. She really was a role model not just for female executives in a male-dominated industry, but for executives in general. We will miss her." -- Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA
"Through the years, we worked with Frances on many domestic and global issues that would have affected both ASCAP and BMI songwriters in the same way. Whether we were competing or cooperating, Frances was always a class act, intelligent, elegant and very gracious." -- John LoFrumento, CEO of ASCAP
"Frances Preston helped shape the music business ecosystem through her profound respect for songwriters and mentorship of several generations of executives. She is without a doubt the single most important figure responsible for making Nashville 'Music City.'" -- Jody Williams, BMI, VP Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville
The music community lost a great lady Frances Preston was a pillar in the foundation of Music City .We are not apt to see her equal
- Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) June 13, 2012
Frances Preston helped everyone.She was generous and unstinting with her gifts and support…Jim Halsey, Impresario
- The Oak Ridge Boys (@oakridgeboys) June 13, 2012
Such a loss, Frances was strength with grace and vision.,A great leader. I'm privileged to have workedfor her. blogs.tennessean.com/tunein/2012/06…
- hannabolte (@hannabolte) June 13, 2012