November 07, 2013

Sachal Vasandani and Darhyl "DJ" Camper to Write and Record with Public School Students in New York

New York, NY, November 7, 2013: The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) presents its national songwriting mentorship program, the ASCAP Songwriter Residency, again this year with six songwriters leading workshops in five cities. Two of the upcoming workshops will be held in New York City: the first from November 13th-15th, led by Grammy-nominated songwriter-producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper; the second from December 3rd-5th, led by chart-topping jazz artist and composer Sachal Vasandani. The Residencies give ASCAP songwriters a platform to give back to their local communities by engaging and inspiring inner city students through songwriting and recording.

As part of the program, ASCAP selects a few of its talented members, ranging from rising stars to Grammy Award-winning artists, to collaborate with students over three two-hour sessions: co- writing a song during the first two sessions, and recording it in a professional studio during the third. The ASCAP Foundation, a public charity dedicated to supporting music education and talent development, funds the program.

DJ Camper

Darhyl "DJ" Camper

The ASCAP Songwriter Residency New York installment will include Grammy-nominated producer Darhyl “DJ” Camper (John Legend, Jay Z). He will work with students from the East Fordham Academy for the Arts on November 13th and 14th. Camper and the students will then record the song at Sugarbox Studios hosted by Goodpenny on November 15th.

Darhyl "Hey DJ" Camper Jr. is an American record producer, songwriter and musician, and a two-time Grammy nominee. Camper's music career began at the age of sixteen when his first single “Hoodstar” on Bow Wow and Omarion's album Face Off (2007) sold over 107,000 copies in its first week. The single “Hoodstar” went on to sell over 500,000 units. Since then, the South Jersey native has worked with many renowned artists such as Jay Z, Kanye West, John Legend, Chris Brown, Keyshia Cole, R. Kelly, Trey Songz, Tamar Braxton, Big Sean, Backstreet Boys, Ludacris, Mario, Estelle, Mindless Behavior and Chrisette Michelle. His style of production is influenced mostly by hip-hop and R&B.

Commenting on his reasons for joining the program, Camper said: "To give back. Letting the kids know that their dreams can – and will – come true. There is hope and I encourage them to go after all of the things that they believe in. I want to show them a piece of how I see things in life; how I see things musically. I want to share my musical experience with the kids as well as the program and I appreciate the invitation to do so."

Sachal Vasandani

Sachal Vasandani

The second ASCAP Songwriter Residency New York installment will include chart-topping jazz artist-songwriter Sachal Vasandani (Mack Avenue Records), who will co-write a song with America SCORES students on December 3rd and 4th. Vasandani and the students will then record the song on December 5th. The finished song will be included on a special compilation album made up of songs created from this year's six ASCAP Songwriter Residencies. ASCAP produces and distributes this collection to each of the America SCORES schools involved with the program, as well as to music industry influencers.

Sachal Vasandani is today's consummate jazz singer. Steeped in the tradition of jazz, Vasandani's flexible artistry heralds a fresh future for the music. Also a creative composer and lyricist, Vasandani has released three albums on the Mack Avenue label, featuring originals, standards and covers: Eyes Wide Open (2007), We Move (2009) and Hi-Fly (2011), the last of which immediately climbed to #1 on the iTunes Jazz chart and Jazz Radio nationwide. In demand as a touring artist and guest, Vasandani has performed internationally, headlining regularly at concert halls, festivals and clubs around the world. A recipient of Jerome Foundation and Chamber Music America grants, his large-scale compositions have been given international premieres to critical acclaim. He also is an active educator, giving master classes at programs and universities to eager students.

Commenting on the program, Vasandani said: “I'm excited for the residency because I'm sharing the thing I love most – songwriting – with young people I know I'm really going to enjoy working with. I hope to help them build good ideas into great ones. And most importantly, I'd like to be there as a reminder of how fun songwriting can be.”

The ASCAP Songwriter Residency launched in 2006 with founding partner America SCORES, a national youth development organization that combines soccer, poetry and service learning into a single life changing experience for inner-city youth. Serving approximately 5,500 children annually in 14 cities across the country, America SCORES provides after-school programming during the hours when children are most vulnerable. Using teamwork as a unifying value, America SCORES’ mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy lives, be engaged students and have the confidence and character to make a difference in the world. They have been recognized for excellence by the National Education Association, Reading is Fundamental, Charity Navigator, the Centers for Disease Control and received the 2008 Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES has been featured on Fox News Atlanta, Fox News Chicago, The New York Times and The Huffington Post. The 2011 commercial CD release of songs from the program, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was featured on iTunes and Spinner (AOL Music).

Rob Uvanovic of America SCORES says: “The ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES is a wonderful opportunity for our students to get to see the direct connection between the poetry that they write in our program everyday and songwriting. This is a special opportunity given to the winning team from our Community Poetry SLAM to work with an incredible artist and be inspired to achieve their full writing potential. By showing students that poetry is in the music that they listen to, it helps to inspire our students to deepen their love for poetry and creative writing.”

The ASCAP Songwriter Residency expanded in the last two years to include a partnership with the East Fordham Academy for the Arts, made possible through the PENCIL Partnership Program (, a program that has helped thousands of business and school leaders develop unique, school-based collaborations that have a lasting impact on the students, school community and school culture.

As a result of our first year of partnership between the ASCAP Songwriter Residency and East Fordham Academy, and having witnessed how powerful the music program was for the students, school Principal Tanicia Williams hired a full-time music teacher for the school, and is now hoping to become the first middle school in the Bronx to have a marching band.

Also participating in this year's ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES are chart-topping country music songwriter Walt Aldridge (Travis Tritt, Heartland) in St. Louis, MO; Grammy and Emmy-winning producer, musician and recording artist Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder) in San Fransisco, CA; blockbuster film-scoring composer Heitor Pereira (Despicable Me, It’s Complicated) in Los Angeles, CA; and five-time Grammy-winning rapper and producer Malik Yusef (Kanye West, Common) in Chicago, IL.

To listen to the songs created during last year's program, and view photos and videos, click here.

About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 470,000 members representing more than 8.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. 

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Press Contacts:
Bobbi Marcus
Bobbi Marcus PR & Events, Inc.

Sue Devine

Holly O’Donnell
Executive Director
America SCORES