ASCAP EXPO: Full Coverage
By Etan Rosenbloom, Director & Deputy Editor, Marketing & Communications • May 6, 2019
EXPO: DAY 3
“Creativity isn’t like a glass of water that you run out of. The more you give, the more you explore, the further you go.” - Victoria Monét
If two days of non-stop networking and learning had tired out our thousands of EXPO attendees, they sure didn’t show it on Day Three. If anything, the energy was even more palpable during the final day’s panels and performances.
After the intrepid morning crowd welcomed the day with an hour of body and mind expansion from ELLA Yoga, Saturday kicked off with a potpourri of panels on team-building, video game songwriting and stories from some of today’s top producers. EXPO alumna Priscilla Renea reminded us to “Be fearless. Don’t have any limits” during a panel with fellow boundary-blurring songwriters Steven Battey, Sam Hook and Leland. We heard a “state of the union” of music publicity in the playlist age, and learned about opportunities for music placement in the new crop of Latin film/TV projects.
One of the most talked-about panels of the entire EXPO came on Saturday afternoon, when four of Ariana Grande’s closest collaborators - songwriters Tommy Brown, Victoria Monét, and Scootie & Mikey of Social House - spoke with music video director Hannah Lux Davis about what it’s like to write some of the biggest bangers of our time (we also surprised them with special plaques commemorating the success of “thank u, next” and “7 rings”).
We ended our panel block with perhaps the most important topic of the EXPO: advocacy. Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) joined ASCAP President Paul Williams, ASCAP EVP & General Counsel Clara Kim, and ASCAP Board members Desmond Child and Michelle Lewis for an impassioned discussion of all the legislative and legal issues that face music creators today.
After we all got fired up to fight for our rights, the EXPO-ending Writers Jam gave us the perfect outlet for all that energy - four of today’s top songwriters, offering unreal performances of our favorite songs. Joelle James killed with her own version of her hit for Ella Mai, “Boo’d Up.” Jon Nite left the room breathless during his tender readings of country hits “Break Up in the End” and “Boy.” Steven Battey turned in a killer a cappella rendition of the Luke Combs #1, “One Number Away.” And Matthew Koma’s falsetto sent us heavenwards on his Zedd co-write “Clarity.”
During the intro to one of his songs, Koma said “I wish you all well with your journey of songwriting.” It was a beautiful way to send off an unforgettable three days.
EXPO: DAY 2
“The true magic, when something works, is in collaboration. You gotta find your tribe.”
Could you ask for a finer summation of the whole vibe of the EXPO? Nope. No you could not. Questlove wins. His keynote session with ASCAP President & Chairman Paul Williams was the bow that wrapped up another gift of a day at the 2019 ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO - their generous creative spirits just filled the room. Top 10 all-time EXPO moments, no question.
Earlier in the day, the information flowed fast and furious. Our panel of social media experts taught us how to keep it real online. Four women executives broke down the wild world of A&R, and some gospel music stars taught us how to keep your faith while navigating the industry. Digital marketing, making a living as a vocalist, music publishing - we learned it all.
The creative panels offered up one only-at-the-EXPO tidbit after another. This Is Us composer Siddhartha Khosla performed a song he wrote for the show, then showed how it was used in context. TOKiMONSTA and Yuna gave a glimpse into the future of electronic music (the future sounds pretty great, FYI). Wyclef Jean shared the stage with talented singers from his latest album – before inviting up dozens of audience members for an impromptu jam session. And the music en español all-stars on the Latin Goes Mainstream panel proved that language is no barrier for success if the music is good enough. Or as Oscar “Skillz” Salinas put it: “This is art, there are no boundaries.”
Stay tuned for more coverage, and follow @ascap on Instagram and @ascapexpo on Twitter for a peek into this insane event.
EXPO: DAY 1
“Write what you want to see in the world.”
With that pearl of wisdom, ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams kicked off ASCAP’s Annual Membership Meeting, the leadoff event of Day One of the ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO.
Where do we even start unraveling the giant ball of awesome that was yesterday? We rocked out with Portugal. The Man and were mesmerized by MILCK. We discovered out that world-class music creators from different backgrounds have a lot in common. We found out why Atlanta is one of the world’s hottest music cities, learned the unwritten rules to writing in Nashville, and traced the rise of emo rap. We got a crash course in music publishing, got schooled in negotiating film/TV contracts, and had our music evaluated live by score master Bear McCreary and a panel of urban music experts. And that was all before Lee Ann Womack, Stephen Bishop, Jack Tempchin and Wyclef Jean pulled out one jaw-dropping performance after another at our “Center Stage” showcase. EXPO Day 1 was epic.