New York, NY, November 6, 2009: ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and America SCORES have teamed up for a fourth year to present its national songwriting mentorship program, ASCAP Songwriter Residency @ America SCORES. Established in 2006 to create collaboration between songwriters and students, the program utilizes songwriting and music as another engaging and inspiring way for kids to express themselves. As part of the program, ASCAP selects its talented members from a variety of musical genres to teach songwriting workshops during America SCORES after-school poetry classes.
This year’s program features a diverse group of music creators and an animation filmmaker who are visiting schools in three cities across the country: Atlanta, Los Angeles and St. Louis. In Atlanta, the songwriting workshops are being led by Grammy award-winning songwriter and recording artist, Johntá Austin (Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You,” Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together”) and chart-topping songwriter, Cri$tyle “The Ink” Johnson (Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Angel”), who are collaborating with a group of 32 students (16 boys and 16 girls), ages 8-11, from Carter G. Woodson Elementary School (1605 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30318). The first classroom session led by Johntà Austin took place on November 5 at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, with a second session to follow November 10 (3pm-4:30pm). Classroom sessions led by Cri$tyle “The Ink” Johnson will be held at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School on November 12 & 17 (3pm-4:30pm).
After the classroom sessions are completed, the students will join Johntà and Cri$tyle in the studio to record their songs. Johntà’s recording session with the children is scheduled for November 12 (3:30pm-6pm) at PatchWerk Recording Studios, 1094 Hemphill Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, while Cri$tyle will record with her team on November 19 (3:30pm-6pm) at Icon Studios, 710 Berkeley Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30318. By the end of three sessions, the ASCAP members will have co-written and recorded a song with the SCORES kids. Both enthusiastically shared sentiments on the experience leading the workshops:
“I think this opportunity is important because it shows them the true origin of the songs they love so much. It also exposes them to opportunities behind the scenes that are important to what they see on TV, hear on the radio, or even see at concerts. I know when I was in school, music gave me other options and later in life I’ve been able to experience so many things because of my passion for music. Writing is therapeutic and can give a child the chance to express themselves about things they may not be able to tell their parents or friends,” expresses Cri$tyle.
“When I was young, I didn’t have anyone to inspire me creatively. It wasn’t until I was encouraged to explore my creative side that I discovered my musical talents. This ASCAP/America SCORES program is so important because it shows kids what goes into making a song. So many young people are interested in being artist, but don’t really know how to write a hit song. It’s great for them to know how creative they can be,” shares Johntà.
The kids also learn about the importance of labeling their own creative work with the copyright symbol, year and their name just as they would see on any published, professional creative work. To further support this unique program, ASCAP produces a special compilation CD of the songs created, which is distributed to each of the schools involved, as well as to music industry decision makers. The ASCAP Foundation, a public charity dedicated to supporting music education and talent development programs, funds the program.
ASCAP would like to thank Shock City Studios in St. Louis, PatchWerk Recording Studios and Icon Studios in Atlanta for generously supporting the program by donating free studio time.
During the first three years of the program, songwriting workshops have taken place at schools in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco and Washington, DC, featuring Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Adonis Shropshire (Mariah Carey, Usher, Ciara); indie rock band Birdmonster; singer-songwriter Algebra Blesset; hip-hop group Da Internz; Grammy-winning children’s songwriters Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer; Americana/rock songwriter John Francis; songwriter/producer Chris Keup (Jason Mraz, OAR); Americana roots-rock artist Johnny Lloyd Rollins; songwriter/producer Dan Mackenzie (Joss Stone); songwriter/producer Michael Pruitt; songwriter Dwayne Simmons; Latin music songwriter Roberto Poveda; hip-hop artist Psalm One; songwriter/film-TV composer David Rice; rock/alternative/indie songwriter Vince Scheuermen (from the band Army Of Me); hip-hop songwriter Lysette Titi; and rapper, actor and spoken word artist Saul Williams.