Who, What, Why


17th October 2019


Colleen Livingston is a first-year student from Freiburg, Germany, studying Songwriting at BIMM Institute Hamburg. We caught up with her to find out more about her life in music and her time at BIMM Institute Hamburg so far.


WHO are you listening to at the moment?

I am constantly listening to new music so ask me that again in a week and I will probably say something completely different. Right now, I really love listening to Tori Kelly’s new album Inspired by True Events. I also love the concept of her live shows: it’s just her with her guitar and another guitarist, and that’s it. The way she can command a room with her voice and songs is simple yet so powerful.

Currently I am also listening a lot to James Bay. As an alumnus of BIMM Institute, I find him very inspiring and I love his songwriting. I was already a fan of his, but I started listening to him constantly when I found out that I was accepted at BIMM Institute Hamburg.I still can’t believe I get to study at a college that has such incredible alumni!

I also enjoy listening to Larkin Poe at the moment because they are just so awesome and badass. They’re two sisters with an electric guitar and banjo playing really cool Blues Rock songs. I find it very interesting when songwriters play with different perspectives in their narratives and the world definitely needs more women in Blues Rock!

John Mayer will always be my answer to ‘Who are you listening to at the moment?. I worship his live Album, Where The Light Is from his show in 2008 in LA. If I could turn back time, I would definitely see that show. It must’ve been so amazing! Not only is he one of the best guitarists of our times but he’s also an incredible songwriter and such an inspiration to me.

WHAT do you love about Hamburg and BIMM Institute Hamburg so far?

‘I love this city, I love this place, this is my saving grace’ – these are the words to my new love song to Hamburg, a city that I have already completely fallen in love with although it’s only my second week at BIMM Institute Hamburg. I’ve also gotten my first regular gig at a 5 star hotel every Friday night where I can play my own songs after only being in Hamburg for a month. 

Being in this place where I can finally follow my dream of honing my skills as a songwriter makes me incredibly happy. Not only is it a beautiful city surrounded by water (I love sitting at the Elbe and watching the boats go by), but it also has such a rich and interesting music scene that goes back to the Beatles performing at the Reeperbahn and finding their sound and image there.

BIMM has already made it possible for me to take part in a Songwriting Masterclass with Bosse when I won the Wild Card and I am so excited to learn from him and the other great musicians!

WHY did you choose songwriting?

I started writing my own songs and playing the guitar when I was 12 and it’s been my way of dealing with the world ever since. I hear my songs with a band when I compose them, and I can’t wait to find other musicians here to enrich my songs even more. I am also a huge fan of Dirk Darmstaedter (his solo albums and the Jeremy Days) and it’s an honour to be able to learn from him. As an American who grew up in Germany, I chose BIMM Institute because I finally get to speak English with other native speakers.  

For more information about studying at BIMM Institute Hamburg, sign up for an Open Day or contact our Admissions Team on +49 303 11 99 186 or [email protected]

To apply now, visit the BIMM Institute Hamburg website.