Bonnie Hayes Named Chair of Songwriting

Nick Balkin
August 6, 2013
Press release
Bonnie Hayes

Berklee announces that Bonnie Hayes has been named chair of the college's Songwriting Department. Hayes, who has written songs for Bonnie Raitt, Cher, Bette Midler, David Crosby, Robert Cray, Adam Ant, and Booker T and the MGs, and produced more than 40 records, begins her tenure September 2, 2013. She succeeds Jack Perricone, who held the position for 26 years. 

Hayes brings to Berklee more than 35 years of experience as an educator, songwriter, producer, performer, and recording artist. During her career, she has been signed to five record deals and five writing deals, and toured as a side musician with Billy Idol and Cris Williamson. She designed the implemented the youth program for the Blue Bear School of Music, in San Francisco, and has taught piano, guitar, theory, songwriting, and composition to thousands of students at institutions throughout the U.S. Hayes is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and has spent time living in Los Angeles and New York. 

Hayes says she hopes to "streamline, modernize, and energize the curriculum with the goal of giving students the tools and support for viable careers in the current and future music industry, as well as activating the great teachers at Berklee by helping them create engaging and innovative programs." 

"I am very pleased to have Bonnie Hayes take over as chair of the Songwriting Department," said Perricone. "Before meeting her, I had admired her work as a songwriter, especially 'Love Letter' and 'Have a Heart' from Bonnie Raitt's Nick of Time. She brings to Berklee a lifetime of experience as a songwriter, performer, and teacher." 

Many of today's most successful songwriters began their careers at Berklee, including Gillian Welch, John Mayer, Tom Hambridge, Greg Becker, Eve Nelson, Makeba Riddick, and Bleu. Berklee's Songwriting Department prepares students to work in the music industry as songwriter, lyricist, singer-songwriter, arranger, and demo/MIDI production worker. During spring break each year, the department organizes a trip to Nashville where students meet and mingle with songwriters, industry professionals, and reps from various songwriting associations.