April 23, 2012

ASCAP EXPO's 2012 Writers Jam Inspires Songwriters and Incites Goosebumps

By Melissa Rapp


Priscilla Renea belts out her hits, including "California King Bed," "Who Says," and "LoveSpent"

ASCAP saved some magic for last alright!

Jonny Lang started off the round saying, "This is a song about getting your heart broken." The tune began with graceful fingerpicking and his trademark soulful vocal. Delicious! I also noticed his excellent use of the verse-lift-chorus format. AND he had a bridge that definitely took the song to new emotional heights! Excellent. Jonny is a true professional and quite a heartthrob too. ;)

Hillary Lindsey next shared the backstory behind "American Honey." The writers were sharing some whiskey and realized "American Honey" would be a perfect title. The resulting song isn't actually about whiskey but damn is it smooth! Hillary's vocals rocked and the chorus melody flowed beautifully. Lessons learned: songwriters should always be on the lookout for fresh titles and well, yes, whiskey can be a good source of inspiration for some. :)

Lindy Robbins described the backstory behind "Incomplete," her Backstreet Boys placement. Featuring a soaring melody and lovely harmony, the chorus packed some serious songwriting punch.

Next, Priscilla Renea told us about how she was discovered on YouTube. She helped draw attention to herself by using creative titles. "California King Bed" (placed with Rihanna) evolved from that. Wow! Priscilla has some pipes! I almost teared up by the first chorus...she can definitely emote. She got a standing ovation from roundmate Hillary Lindsey too. Well deserved...

The round continued back to Jonny who told us that he never writes a song quickly but this one came to him as he was going to bed one night. Note to songwriters: keep a pen and notepad on that nightstand! Jonny's falsetto on this song was incredible.

Hillary shared how the experience of writing "Jesus, Take the Wheel" definitely felt like "it came from a higher power." I love how she uses the title both at the beginning and end of the chorus - a strong technique. With a title like that, you definitely want to hear it twice! Hillary's got me wanting to move to Nashville.

Lindy took it away with "Tonight, Tonight," which broke Hot Chelle Rae. This melody is pure juicy pop perfection in every single note choice. The lyric specificity and personality also make it a true hit.

Priscilla continued to blow us away with her next song, "Who Says." May we all learn to write songs that have this much build! Loved the dynamics and vocal stylings.

The round continued and we all tried to absorb as much of this songwriting genius as possible. An epic finale to a truly epic ASCAP EXPO!

Thank you songwriters for sharing the magic.

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*ASCAP EXPO reserves the right to amend the program or participants without prior notice

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