Creativity and Collaboration Abound at All-Female ASCAP She Is the Music Song Camp

November 6, 2018

ASCAP and a group of talented songwriters made history with the all-female ASCAP She Is The Music Song Camp in Nashville. Taking place October 17-19, the camp brought together an all-star lineup of women music creators from across all genres - the camp included the legendary, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige, along with Priscilla Renea, Jillian Jacqueline, Ali Stone, Anna Graceman, Audra Mae, Caylee Hammack, Emily Weisband, Femke (a graduate of the ASCAP Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop), Ingrid Burley, Maria Ayerbe, Paris “PJ” Jones, Stacy Barthe, The Sisterhood and The Wildcardz. Music executive Ron Fair offered his state-of-the-art studio to host this groundbreaking event.

The song camp was one of the first fruits of the She Is the Music initiative, co-founded in 2018 by ASCAP member Alicia Keys, Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson, Grammy Award-winning engineer Ann Mincieli and WME partner and head of East Coast Music Samantha Kirby. Created in response to a recent USC Annenberg study detailing inequalities for women in the music business, the initiative aims to promote inclusivity and increase opportunities for female music creators.

Of the camp, Blige commented to Rolling Stone Country: “This event represents strength for us. When we come together as women, when we do something like this, we inspire and uplift each other. We encourage each other. And we encourage other people to do something similar.”

The camp was a fertile breeding ground for co-writing and collaboration, and also for meaningful discussion on the issues facing women in the music industry and the world. Singer-songwriter Jacqueline reflected on her own experiences, telling Rolling Stone Country, “It is a unique journey doing this as a woman ... A lot of times you are the only woman in the room and sometimes it’s easy to fall back into the role of the woman in the room with all the men. But I’ve learned over the years that it’s so important to not fall into that role and to be just as strong, bold and fearless as everybody else in the room is being.”

Hit songwriter Priscilla Renea, who has collaborated extensively with women across the industry (including Blige), spoke to Billboard about her own story as a woman in music. "There is a culture and there is a system in place that says if you're a woman, you're either a girlfriend, a wife, a runner, or you work at the label, you're an artist or you're here for my pleasure,” said Renea. “I've experienced this [where] I walk in the room and somebody will say, 'Oh, you're here with so-and-so.' And I'm like, 'No, this is my session.' I think that's the most encouraging thing about this [song camp]. Women are going to walk away feeling confident."

We cannot wait to hear what our powerful and prolific women writers created together at the ASCAP She Is The Music Camp, and to see what they will do to empower and uplift women music creators going forward.