CMA Awards 2018
Songwriter Erin Bowman Talks Oscars Sync, Performing on 'Good Morning America' & More
We already have our first Oscar winner, and its independent recording artist Erin Bowman.
Bowman, who signed a publishing deal with Kobalt Music in 2016, has been living out her Academy Award dreams ever since her song “Good Time Good Life” was picked to be the soundtrack for this year’s commercials leading up to Sunday’s (Feb. 26) ceremony on ABC. The song will also be played during the red carpet as well as all post-show events Sunday.
It will be a huge moment for the Hamilton, N.J., native -- and she can’t wait to watch. “That is my favorite part of the Oscars. You see everyone looking so pretty,” Bowman tells Billboard. “It is going to be really exciting.”
Bowman has been on a rocket ride since the first promo -- which features Oscar nominee Natalie Portman reciting the line, “People like to believe in fairy tales,” from her new movie Jackie -- aired on the network one month ago. Since then, her phone has been ringing off the hook. On Friday, she scored a major coup when ABC's Good Morning America invited her to perform the song live on the show.
“It is crazy to see how much things have changed," she says. “You put in so much work in this business and it can be so tough, and moments like [appearing on] Good Morning America happen, and you hang on to it all day. That's some hard work paying off.”
The day she discovered her song was selected for the prestigious honor was surreal, she says. Kobalt pitched several of her songs to the Oscars, and while she knew two, including “Good Time Good Life” were in the running, she did not know which one would be selected -- if any at all. Then, she got the shock of her life when her cousin sent a text that she had just heard the song on television.
”I had no idea it actually went through,” she says. “I found out about it the day it started airing, which was super exciting. It is such an incredible promo. To have my song along with those movies is incredible.”
The song is a lucky charm for Bowman, who wrote it with Umana & O Donis in the summer of 2016. Kobalt immediately began to shop the song for sync opportunities. The 26-year-old songwriter was thrilled when she was told her song was going to be featured on the NBC hit show This Is Us.
“My sister and I kept seeing them talking about this new show, and couldn’t wait to watch it. Then, I got an email from Kobalt telling me that they wanted to use my song,” she says. “When you get to be a part of something you are super excited about you can't get any better than that.”
Soon after, other media outlets wanted to get in on the action. CBS reached out to use the song on the show Hawaii Five-0, and then national retailer Target picked up the song for its Thanksgiving campaign last November. Bowman just received word that the HBO show Girls is going to showcase the song on its March 19 episode.
“It's such a cool show and it's going to be so fun to hear my song,” she says. “I'm so curious to see what the episode will be about and where it is fitting in.”
The song, which features the lyrics, “I never over think it/ Do what I want and I do it my way,” is an upbeat, positive track that captures the spirit of celebration with horns and a toe-tapping, catchy chorus radiating good vibes.
“We wanted to write a song that made people feel good and that you were happy to listen to,” she says. “It's all about being confident and positive and being yourself and having a good time. We just wanted a feel good song and I think that's what we got.”
Since the song’s release, it has earned over 17,000 searches on the app Shazam, and its numbers are growing every day.
“It's so nice to see people responding to it,” she continues. "It makes you feel good, so I think that's why people are using it so much. During a time where it's a little whacky these days, it's nice to have music and songs that put you in a better mood when things aren't going your way”.
This victory has been a long time coming since Bowman graduated Steinert High School in 2008 and headed off to New York City to pursue her musical dreams. She scored her first professional victory right away, working with producer JJ Appleton. That led to her first recorded work, singing the theme song for the Pokémon television series.
“I still have people Facebook messaging me, tweeting me talking about Pokémon, still to this day,” she says. “It's a very special thing, and they have a very loyal fan base.”
From there, she hooked up with manager John Weston and continued to network and write with other songwriters. Her first single, “Problem,” found success on on Sirius XM’s 20 on 20, becoming a a top five requested song in just two weeks. In addition, "Problem" was placed on Oxygen’s The Bad Girls Club and E’s Kourtney & Khloe. Her follow-up, ”King Boy,” fared even better, and before long she was invited into writing sessions with prominent songwriters, including Warner Chappel’s Larzz Principato, who scored the hit, ”New Americana” with another Jersey girl -- Halsey.
"That was a huge cut for him," Bowman says of Principato, who also collaborated with American Idol Season 14 album, Jax, on her current EP, Funny.
Bowman and Principato teamed up to create the single ”Hey Summer” and later were approached in 2014 to tackle another season -- winter -- for a then unnamed client. That collaboration, ”Keep Me Warm,” was picked up just ten days later by McDonald's for a national campaign, and is still featured as a holiday song on Sirius XM’s holiday channels and other radio formats.
"Sirius has been so supportive since day one and I feel so lucky to have Sirius XM in my corner,” Bowman says. “They have played all of my singles, and most of them can be heard on Venus. It's incredible to have that kind of support while being an independent artist.”
The rest of 2017 is shaping up nicely, she says. The singer is going to perform on the first stop of the Give A Note Foundation’s “Music in Our Schools” tour with Radio Disney on March 3 at the University of Missouri. Little Big Town is also performing on the tour, which promotes keeping music education alive in schools across the nation.
“It's tough to be an independent artist but it's been working for me so far," Bowman says. "If a major label is interested and the right deal came up who knows what will happen. Still, being an independent artist performing on Good Morning America with my picture up there in Times Square is a pretty crazy thing to wrap your head around. But it happened. And I'm so happy it did."
"I just love music," Bowman says. "I love singing, performing and writing. I'm hoping this is my year."