VERSED: The ASCAP Podcast / Ep. 21 - Amythyst Kiah
February 26, 2021
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VERSED is a bi-weekly podcast illuminating the heart and soul of music. Featuring in-depth interviews with songwriters and composers, plus tips and insights to help you navigate your music career. Brought to you by ASCAP, home of the world's greatest music creators.
As part of ASCAP’s Black History Month celebration, we talk to Amythyst Kiah - the provocative and powerful East Tennessee singer-songwriter and member of the acclaimed Americana supergroup, Our Native Daughters. Last week, Kiah released a new solo recording of her Grammy-nominated song “Black Myself” - and Our Native Daughters has a brand new documentary out on the Smithsonian Channel, called Reclaiming Our History. We also talk to Wayne Barrow, film producer, manager, entrepreneur, and co-founder, along with Mark Pitts, of ByStorm Entertainment about his experience working with the late, great Notorious BIG and the new documentary Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, dropping on Netflix on March 1. Then we’ll revisit our recent ASCAP Experience panel which brought together gospel stars Jason Nelson, Erica Campbell of Mary Mary and Tye Tribbett to discuss how the gospel community has responded to the social and spiritual challenges we face today.
EP. 21 FEATURED INTERVIEW: AMYTHYST KIAH
With an unforgettable voice that’s both unfettered and exquisitely controlled, the Tennessee-bred singer/songwriter expands on the uncompromising artistry she most recently revealed as part of Our Native Daughters, an all-women-of-color supergroup whose Kiah-penned standout “Black Myself” earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the 2019 Folk Alliance International Awards. When met with the transcendent quality of her newly elevated sound, what emerges is an extraordinary vessel for Kiah’s songwriting: a raw yet nuanced examination of grief, alienation, and the hard-won triumph of total self-acceptance. This new studio version of "Black Myself" is a glorious collision of two vastly different worlds: the iconoclastic alt-rock that first sparked her musical passion, and the roots/old-time-music scene. Produced by Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Amos Lee, Andrew Bird) the track was recorded at the legendary Sound City Studios in Los Angeles.
EP. 21 SPECIAL GUEST: WAYNE BARROW
Wayne Barrow is an American film producer, talent manager, businessman and humanitarian. He is CEO of Stormtroopers Entertainment, Co-Owner of ByStorm Entertainment and ByStorm Films. Responsible for selling over 250 million records worldwide, he has fostered the careers of several recording artists, including but not limited to Wreckx-N Effect, J. Cole, Nas, Miguel, Loon, Shyne and Ro-James, and continues to manage Voletta Wallace and the Estate of The Notorious B.I.G. Barrow produced the films Notorious (2009), Blue (2009), Kicks (2016), The Life of the Notorious B.I.G. (2017), I Got a Story to Tell (2018) and City of Lies (2018). He is currently President of Brooklyn's Finest, Inc, a digital technology company, and Vice Chairman of the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, and serves as Goodwill Ambassador of Ethical Entertainment in Nigeria, Liberia, Ghana and Ethiopia for The SAFE Campaign, an NGO for the United Nations.
EP. 21 INTERVIEWER: NICOLE GEORGE-MIDDLETON, ASCAP SVP of MEMBERSHIP
As a lawyer by trade and a devoted music lover at heart, Nicole George-Middleton is currently taking on a role that puts all of her diverse talents and experience to use. As Senior Vice President of Membership at ASCAP, a membership association of more than 825,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers, Nicole is responsible for the oversight and daily operational management of ASCAP's Rhythm and Soul Membership department on a worldwide basis. The fact that running the Rhythm and Soul department requires both a strong business mind - knowledge of intellectual property law and the rights of music creators - as well as a personal touch - networking with ASCAP members and promoting their careers - suits Nicole’s smarts and savvy, as well as her charismatic personality, very well.
EP. 21 INTERVIEWER: SARAH FINEGOLD, ASCAP MARKETING COORDINATOR
Sarah Finegold, an original yinzer from Pittsburgh PA, is a writer and music fan working in the Marketing department at ASCAP. After graduating from Cornell University in 2015 with a BA in English and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies – with a minor in Film Studies just to shake things up – Sarah moved to New York City and shortly found her home at ASCAP. When she isn't indulging her love of travel and all things edible, she relishes going to the movies, Broadway musicals, making friends with strangers’ dogs on the street and being overly competitive while playing board games.