December 15, 2009

Sill-y Songwriters!

The 2009 Lester Sill Workshop Takes On the Art and Business of Songwriting


Fourteen talented songwriters, fifteen special guests, two workshop organizers and dozens of cookies. It all added up to one enlightening, unforgettable experience for the participants of the 2009 ASCAP Foundation Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop. ASCAP's Brendan Okrent and Etan Rosenbloom led these talented songwriters, selected from hundreds of applicants, in eight seminars centered on the art and business of songwriting. The class commuted to the Los Angeles ASCAP offices from as far away as Nashville and New York to be inspired by the workshop's guests and learn from each other.

Singer/songwriter Peter Himmelman treated the group to his offbeat take on creativity and his infamous extemporaneous songcraft. Hollywood Records' legal executive Jonathan Haft and Pen Music Group's Michael Eames laid out the changing terrain of the publishing industry. Hit songwriter Lindy Robbins and Hollywood Records A&R exec (and ASCAP hit songwriter) Jon Lind talked about the close relationships between songwriters and A&R teams, while producer/songwriter Greg Wells (Katy Perry/Mika/Adam Lambert) told his inspiring story and offered up heartfelt reactions to several participants' songs. ASCAP's Jeff Jernigan moderated an informative Film/TV night with Secret Road Music exec Michele Wernicke, Walt Disney Pictures'Kaylin Frank and independent music supervisor Thomas Golubic. Publicist Daniel Gill and manager Brian Klein discussed alternative marketing strategies with ASCAP's Josh Briggs, and during the final session, Sony/ATV's Jim Vellutato and songwriter Michelle Lewis critiqued songs and gave valuable advice about the dynamic between songwriters and publishers.

As in past years, the 2009 Lester Sill Songwriters Workshop was capped by a special showcase at Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles. It was an appropriately cheery end to another terrific year of education, inspiration and camaraderie.