ASCAP Songwriters Share Musical Message with Members of Congress at We Write the Songs Concert in DC

By Erik Philbrook, ASCAP Editor in Chief  •  May 18, 2018

Jason Mraz, Brandy Clark, Michael McDonald, Suzanne Vega, Mike Love and The Beach Boys, Johntá Austin and More Performed at The ASCAP Foundation’s 10th Annual “We Write the Songs” at Library Of Congress

On Wednesday, May 16th, The ASCAP Foundation and The Library of Congress co-presented its 10th annual “We Write the Songs” event at the historic Coolidge Auditorium in The Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The event was hosted by Librarian of Congress Carla D. Hayden and ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams and featured performances by a dynamic group of ASCAP's leading songwriter and composer members.

Performers at the event included Johntá Austin, who performed his hits - Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You”; Brandy Clark, who performed her hit written for Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart,” and her own hit “Hold My Hand”; Michael McDonald, who performed The Doobie Brothers’ classics “Takin’ It to The Streets” and “What a Fool Believes”; Jason Mraz who performed “I’m Yours” and “Won’t Give Up,” and who was joined by Senator Tim Kaine on harmonica and students from SPARC’s Live Art music education program; Suzanne Vega, who performed her songs “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner”; and Mike Love and The Beach Boys, who closed the concert with “California Girls” and “Good Vibrations.”

As is tradition, Members of Congress introduced performers from their home states. This year’s presenters included Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who was among those who introduced the Music Modernization Act in the Senate, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who sponsored the original Music Modernization Act, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and California State Representative and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Several Members of Congress and ASCAP members spoke about the importance of passing the Music Modernization Act, which was unanimously passed by the House and is now gaining great support in the Senate.

Celebrating its tenth year, “We Write the Songs” has become a Washington tradition and an exclusive invitation-only event for legislative and cultural dignitaries.

With a packed house attended by a great number of U.S. Senators and Representatives and numerous standing ovations throughout the evening, this year’s We Write the Songs was night of unforgettable music and stories, and a great reminder of music’s universal value.

“We Write the Songs” took place the evening before ASCAP’s “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. On Thursday, May 17, many of the “We Write the Songs” music creators met with Senators to discuss the challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and urged them to cosponsor the Music Modernization Act— bipartisan music reform legislation that was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and was recently reintroduced in the Senate.