October 06, 2014

ASCAP Song Camp Brings Songwriting Royalty to French Castle

Brett James & Chris DeStefano knighted for #1 country hit “Somethin’ Bad,” written at castle

ASCAP invited 18 top songwriters and producers to write the hits of tomorrow at its fourth annual songwriters retreat in France.

Held from September 17th - 25th at the 14th-century Château Marouatte in the Dordogne region of France, the retreat was designed to produce hits and get cuts in a variety of genres. Each session placed a producer, a topliner and a recording artist together to write and record in a different room of the castle. By the end of the retreat, nearly all the participants had worked together. They left France with hard drives full of professional-grade demos, ready to pitch to artists and record labels.

Château Marouatte is owned by famed music industry executive Miles Copeland, founder of IRS Records. Copeland once brought music legends like Jeff Beck, Jon Bon Jovi, Belinda Carlisle and Desmond Child to high-level songwriting summits at the Château. In 2011, ASCAP convinced Copeland to revive the tradition, and has brought a new group of songwriters and producers to France every year since.

The 2014 participants hailed from around the world and across the genre spectrum. They were: Anjulie, Martin Brammer, Ashley Campbell, Mike Daly, Chris DeStefano, John Fortis, Elyar Fox, Dia Frampton, JT Harding, Brett James, Giovanni James, Brian Kennedy, Emmy Palmer, Autumn Rowe, Amir "Azeem" Salem, Sharon Vaughn, Peter Wade and Oren Yoel.

In an undisputed highlight of this year’s retreat, ASCAP songwriters Brett James and Chris DeStefano were knighted by Miles Copeland. They received the honor for the #1 success of their Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood single “Somethin’ Bad,” which they co-wrote with Priscilla Renea at the 2012 retreat.

The ASCAP retreat at Château Marouatte has a proven track record of producing cuts for successful artists. In addition to “Somethin’ Bad,” songs written at the retreat have been cut by Plain White T’s (“Should’ve Gone to Bed”), Ellie Goulding (“In My City”), Jon Bellion (“Carry Your Throne”), Mika (“Step with Me”) and Jacob Latimore feat. T-Pain (“Heartbreak Heard Around the World”).

Gibson, Taylor, PreSonus and Audio-Technica donated the gear and instruments used throughout the retreat. The Cain Foundation generously underwrote the retreat for the fourth straight year.