Pictured: James Fauntleroy (center, with hands together) with 20+ international songwriters and staff from the Ojai songwriting retreat
In mid-March, Dave Stroud (VocalizeU) and long time music executive Big Billy Clark hosted a four-day songwriting retreat at a resort in Ojai, California for about 20 handpicked songwriters from all over the world. The Special House Mentor for the week was mega-songwriter (and ASCAP EXPO veteran) James Fauntleroy, fresh from writing the Bruno Mars album 24K Magic. The retreat was a relaxing getaway where the selected songwriters could have a tranquil environment to write music, and have James critique each song to mentor these up-and-coming songwriters to be the best they could be. James taught the songwriters tricks that he uses during his writing sessions with artists like Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake. There was a private chef on-hand, cooking around the clock for the songwriters, to ensure that they didn’t have to focus on anything during the camp aside from being creative! With dozens of guitars, keyboards and computers placed all around the resort, the writers were able to co-write and create music 24/7.
“It was amazing to have James give me feedback and insight into what I was doing right and wrong when writing music. The way his mind works is incredible! I will never forget this experience!” one writer said.
On the final day of the retreat, a handful of publishers came up to meet the songwriters. Universal Publishing’s Sterling Simms, Sony/ATV’s Lou Al-chamaa, Red Bull Music Publishing’s Buffy Hubelbank, Reach Global’s Nancy Matalon, Disney Music’s Peter Lloyd and Gold Star Music/Kobalt’s Erika Nuri were all on hand to discuss opportunities and give feedback to the music.
Each of the attendees received a special hoodie with the ASCAP logo on the front.