VERSED: The ASCAP Podcast / Ep. 1 & 2 - Paul Williams (Plus Bonus Wellness Episode)

December 5, 2019



In Episode 1, we talk with Paul Williams, the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning, Hall of Fame songwriter and President of ASCAP. Paul talks about unexpected opportunities and shares the inspiring story of Phantom of the Paradise, a commercial film flop that evolved into one of the most influential works of his career, and amazingly netted him an Album of the Year Grammy 40 years later. PLUS: From the ASCAP archives, Captain Marvel and Fortnite composer Pinar Toprak talks!



Paul Williams is one of the most beloved and respected music creators in the world today. An Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe and Ivor Novello award winning lyricist and composer who has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, his timeless love songs range from “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “You and Me Against the World” and “The Rainbow Connection” to "Touch" and "Beyond" on Daft Punk’s chart-topping Grammy Album of the Year, Random Access Memories. As President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP, he is also a leading spokesman for music creators in the digital age. 

Williams’s standards have been recorded by such diverse musical icons as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, The Carpenters, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Willie Nelson, Gonzo and Kermit the Frog. His songs and scores have received six Oscar, nine Grammy, six Golden Globe, and two Emmy nominations. He and co-writer Gustavo Santaolalla received a World Soundtrack Award for their “Apology Song” from The Book of Life and they have re-joined Guillermo del Toro for his upcoming stage adaptation of Pan’s Labyrinth.

While publicly lauded for his work as a songwriter, author and actor – most recently for his recurring role with Billy Bob Thornton in Goliath – Paul predicts he’ll be remembered for playing Little Enos in the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy and for his lyrics to The Love Boat theme. However, it is the lyrics from Bugsy Malone that most aptly sum up his philosophy: “You give a little love and it all comes back to you; You’re gonna be remembered for the things that you say and do.”

Visit Paul Williams online // Follow Paul on Twitter & Instagram

Pinar Toprak

Pinar Toprak is one of the most refreshing voices in film music today, and is the first woman to ever score a Marvel Superhero movie. Pinar wrote the score to Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel. She also wrote the score for the Pixar short Purl. Her most recent work includes the DC Universe TV series Stargirl, the Syfy TV series Krypton, the massively popular video game Fortnite from Epic Games alongside composer Marco Beltrami, as well as additional music for Warner Bros.’ Justice League, her second collaboration with producer Wendy Yamano for the dramatic feature It’s Time, and Sumatra Films’ The Angel directed by Ariel Vromen for Netflix.

Pinar’s past work includes the thriller The River Murders, an anguished, haunting accompaniment, scored the tenderness and optimism in the period drama The Lightkeepers, and articulated the hard-won triumph of Michael Clarke Duncan’s final screen appearance in the boxing drama The Challenger. Her work can also be found in Epic Pictures Group’s The Monster Project. Toprak has tackled action (Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil), animation (Light of Olympia), and romance (Say It in Russian). She also composed music for the Xbox 360 game Ninety-Nine Nights, the PBS documentary The Wind Gods, and the MRB Productions documentary, In Utero.

Toprak was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, where she began her classical musical education at the age of five. After studying composition and multiple instruments at the conservatory, she moved to Chicago to study jazz, then Boston for a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music. She then came to Los Angeles, earned a master’s degree in composition at age 22, and has quickly become an active and reinvigorating new voice in a male-dominated Hollywood community. In 2019, she earned the Shirley Walker Award at the ASCAP Screen Music Awards. 

Visit Pinar Toprak online // Follow Pinar on Twitter & Instagram

BONUS EPISODE: Paul Williams on Recovery and Wellness

In addition to being a legendary songwriter, Paul Williams is uniquely qualified to speak about how essential health and wellness are to one’s music career. Sober for nearly 30 years, Paul is passionate about recovery and works tirelessly to destigmatize alcoholism and addiction. His work in recovery was chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, Paul Williams Still Alive. He is a certified Drug Rehabilitation Counselor. And he co-wrote a best-selling book with Tracey Jackson called Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life. As ASCAP launches our new member wellness program, ASCAP TuneUp, designed to help nurture the mind, body and spirit of today’s music creator, Paul shares how recovery and attention to wellness has helped him thrive, and how others can find a healthy balance in their own lives.

Order Gratitude and

Watch Paul Williams Still Alive on Amazon or iTunes

Mama, I'm going home.

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