May 18, 2016

Brian McKnight, Monica, Desmond Child, MoZella, Brett James, Priscilla Renea, Randy Goodrum and Jennifer Higdon Perform at The ASCAP Foundation "We Write the Songs" Event

ASCAP President Paul Williams: "It’s a great honor to stand in front of you and recognize the one word we’re here to protect — copyright"

WASHINGTON, DC— May 18, 2016— On Tuesday night, in celebration of American songwriting, The ASCAP Foundation and The Library of Congress jointly held the eighth annual “We Write the Songs” event at the historic Coolidge Auditorium in The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. As part of this special event, ASCAP songwriters including Desmond Child (“Livin’ on a Prayer”); Randy Goodrum (“Bluer Than Blue”); Jennifer Higdon (“Our Beautiful Country” from Cold Mountain); Brett James (“Something in the Water”); Brian McKnight (“Back at One”); Monica (“Before You Walked Out of My Life”), MoZella (“Wrecking Ball”) and Priscilla Renea (“Somethin’ Bad”) donated manuscripts and lyric sheets to the library.

To kick off the performance part of the evening, ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams gave opening remarks, saying: “This evening is our way to say 'thank you' to our many many friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle. It's a great honor to stand in front of you and recognize the one word we’re here to protect—copyright. Behind every composition is a story of how it came to be written. You’ll be hearing about that process tonight from the creators themselves.”

Award-winning ASCAP songwriters performed some of their most beloved songs, introduced by members of Congress:

  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced Jennifer Higdon, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, who performed “Our Beautiful Country” from Cold Mountain.
    • Higdon: “It is a joy to be able to write music. It’s my life oxygen. I have to do it… ASCAP gave me my first professional commission. Everything I’ve written since that commission is because of ASCAP. I know ASCAP always has my back.”

  • Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN) introduced Randy Goodrum, who performed his single for Michael Johnson “Bluer Than Blue” and his Anne Murray hit “You Needed Me.”

  • ASCAP’s EVP of Membership John Titta introduced Monica, who performed her hits “You Should’ve Known Better” and “I Know.”

  • Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced MoZella, who performed her hit songs “Wrecking Ball” (Miley Cyrus) and “One Call Away” (Charlie Puth).
    • MoZella: “My dad was a politician. He imparted a lot of wisdom on me. Songwriters and politicians have a lot more in common than we think. We all set out with a dream when we were young… to make the world better. That’s what songwriters do.”

  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced Brett James, who performed “I Hold On” (Dierks Bentley) and introduced Priscilla Renea. They together performed their #1 Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood single “Somethin' Bad.” Priscilla then performed “Oceans.”
    • James: “This is an absolute honor to be here… I want to thank you all for being here tonight and supporting the great American art form, the great American export, that is American songwriting.”
    • Renea: “Thank you for being concerned about us and what we do. I know what it’s like to get a check for $17. The reality is there are some young kids out there who are going to get even less than that if we don’t do something.” 
  • Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) introduced Brian McKnight, who performed his R&B hits “Anytime” and “Back at One.”
    • Rep. Blackburn: “We could use someone [like Brian McKnight] getting everyone in Congress to sing off the same page.”
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced Desmond Child, who performed his songs “Livin’ on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi) and “Livin’ La Vida Loca" (Ricky Martin).
    • Child: “You’ve got to help us protect the value of music so that future songwriters can do this as a profession.”

The "We Write the Songs" event was followed by ASCAP's “Stand with Songwriters Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 18, when ASCAP songwriters and composers urged lawmakers to update the antiquated music licensing laws to ensure songwriters earn fair compensation when their work is performed or streamed online.

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 700,000 members representing more than 11.5 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. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

# # #