ASCAP has added multi-platinum songwriter and artist Ne-Yo and Grammy-winning artist-producer Jermaine Dupri to the 2018 ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO lineup, joining an illustrious roster of Hall of Famers and chart-topping music creators set to appear.
The country’s largest conference for music creators, May 7-9 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, has also released its full schedule of programming at https://2018ascapexpo.sched.com/.
The 13th annual event will feature three days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions with the industry’s top hitmakers.
Dupri will appear in an “Under The Hood” production discussion on Day One and Ne-Yo will participate in a master session on Day Two. Panel topics and times have also been set for Meghan Trainor, St. Vincent, Jason Mraz, JoJo, Marcus Miller, Desmond Child, Billie Eilish and many more. This year’s discussions will range from “Emo’s Impact on Pop” to “The Publisher-Songwriter Relationship” to “Building a Career in Gospel Music.”
DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS – MONDAY, MAY 7
The 2018 ASCAP EXPO kicks off with the Billboard-sponsored “We Create Music” panel, an event that has become a staple of EXPO’s opening day over the years. “We Create Music” brings together hitmakers from across genres for a conversation on the sacrifices, challenges and triumphs that bind all music creators together. This year’s panelists include multi-platinum recording artist Jason Mraz, ASCAP Latin Songwriter of the Year Claudia Brant, noted film composer Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Batman v. Superman) and ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter of the Year and multi-time #1 country songwriter/producer David Garcia.
St. Vincent also stops by on Day One of ASCAP EXPO on the heels of her fifth studio album MASSEDUCTION. The latest release from the ASCAP Vanguard Award honoree earned her first Top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 and “Best of 2017” designations from the New York Times, LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, Variety and many more. The Grammy winner appears in conversation with 19-year-old Mark Ronson-signee King Princess, whose debut single “1950” has topped 40 million streams on Spotify.
Jermaine Dupri will walk EXPO attendees through his storied career in music, including 20 #1 hits on the Billboard charts as a producer and artist. Dupri will detail his iconic work with Usher (the Diamond-certified Confessions), Mariah Carey (“We Belong Together,” Billboard’s highest-charting single of the 2000s), Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child and Ludacris.
In addition, a collection of Nashville power players will break down “Making it in Music City” with the help of multi-time #1 songwriter Adam Sanders. Sanders will map out his journey from performing in dive bars to collaborating with country’s biggest names: Cole Swindell, Luke Bryan and Dustin Lynchamong them. Onstage with his early supporters at ASCAP and from the worlds of publishing, management and more, Sanders and team will unmask the seemingly daunting challenge of breaking into today’s Nashville.
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In an era in which recording artists are writing hit Broadway musicals, legendary hip-hop producers are scoring acclaimed TV shows and pop songwriters spend half their time in Nashville, “Writing Between the Lines” will reveal the benefits and drawbacks of a cross-genre career. With songwriter, producer and Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Bray and singer-songwriters and TV composers Leland, Michelle Lewis and Kay Hanley.
Monday evening features “I Create Music” Center Stage with some of music’s biggest songwriters performing their best-loved songs in an intimate, in-the-round setting. This year, Johnta Austin (“We Belong Together”) joins Claudia Brandt, Marc Cohn (“Walking in Memphis“), Edwin McCain (“I’ll Be”) and Jason Mraz (“I Won’t Give Up,” “I’m Yours”). Later, EXPO’s ultimate new artist showcase – EXPO Factor – is back for a second year, moving up in venue size and featuring a wider field of performers. A star-studded panel of judges including Brandt, Mraz, A&R executive Lee Dannay and “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” producer Lindsay Rush will select their favorites until one winner remains. The EXPO Factor champion will receive a grand prize valued at $5,000 from RSPE Audio Solutions and a 1:1 session with YouTube on developing a YouTube channel.
DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS – TUESDAY, MAY 8
ASCAP EXPO’s second day will continue with insights and inspiration from some of the most influential women in songwriting. “Renaissance Women in Music” will see chart-topping artist Betty Who, multi-genre standout songwriter Priscilla Renea (Rihanna, Miranda Lambert, Madonna), Forbes 30 Under 30 selection Lindsey Stirling and Kanye West collaborator Gizzle share stories of busting through boundaries to become some of the most successful music creators in the world today.
In a master session, Ne-Yo will share the formula that’s delivered him five #1 albums, a dozen Top 10 singles and multiple Grammy awards during his incredible career. In addition to his decorated solo work, Ne-Yo has also helped write some of the era’s most ubiquitous hits for other artists, including Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and Rihanna’s “Take A Bow.”
Rising star Billie Eilish will also be on hand, to discuss her ascent to “Pop’s Next It Girl” (Vogue) status and her 2017 debut EP dont smile at me, which has been streamed over 200 million times on Spotify. Eilish will appear in conversation with her brother and close collaborator Finneas O’Connell, who comes to EXPO as a panelist after first attending the conference as a 16-year-old aspiring songwriter in 2014.
“Welcome to Splitsville U.S.A.,” led by multi-platinum and ASCAP Founders Award-winning songwriter Desmond Child, along with composer Alex Shapiro and pop, R&B and hip-hop producer Deputy will explore a vital issue for songwriters: how and why co-writers must establish an amicable agreement on splits – in writing – that add up to exactly 100%, and share accurate publishing info with each other.
The rarely seen world of the music director will be exposed in “Unsung Heroes: Making it as a Music Director.” “The Voice” music director Paul Mirkovich, keyboardist and Stevie Wonder/Michael Jacksonmusic director Greg Phillinganes and composer Kevin Teasley will describe what it takes to make it as an MD, and how MDs tie all the elements together for a flawless concert tour, award show, opera or musical, every single time. Moderated by renowned composer and jazz bassist Marcus Miller.
Nighttime performances will include the Women’s International Music Network’s “She Rocks” Showcase, featuring EXPO’s finest undiscovered talent alongside a performance from hit songwriter and powerhouse vocalist Priscilla Renea. That same night, [iStandard] will celebrate the tenth anniversary of their Producer & Rapper Showcase, which will see attendees show off their best beats and bars in front of hip-hop’s most influential figures and a live audience.
DAY 3 HIGHLIGHTS – WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
A keynote conversation between pop icon Meghan Trainor and Spotify’s reigning Secret Genius Songwriter of the Year J Kash will highlight ASCAP EXPO’s final day. The Diamond-selling Trainor will detail her journey from first attending EXPO as an unsigned teenager in 2010 to writing seven multi-Platinum singles for herself (including #1 mega-hit “All About That Bass”) and what’s next for a 24-year-old seemingly at the height of her powers. J Kash will add insights from his rise to penning some of 2017’s biggest hits, including Charlie Puth’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” Maroon 5’s “Don’t Wanna Know” and the Jason Derulo, Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign collaboration “Swalla.”
Two-time Album of the Year Grammy-winner Dan Wilson (Adele, Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift) will bring his popular tour and Instagram series “Words & Music” to life at EXPO, sharing personal advice, tips on songwriting and performances of the modern day classics he’s penned, including Adele’s Grammy-winning “Someone Like You,” the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice,” and more.
A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and composer Adrian Younge will discuss collaborating on the soundtrack for the Emmy-winning Netflix series Luke Cage. The duo, who previously came together to produce Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered, will discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that the medium of film/TV scoring presents.
Earlier that day, ASCAP will hold their Annual Membership Meeting, a review of the membership association’s work fighting for songwriters, composers and music publishers, creating opportunities for its members and 2017 achievements. Along with a few surprise performances, ASCAP President & Chairman Paul Williams, CEO Elizabeth Matthews and EVP of Membership John Titta will detail how ASCAP has spent the year advocating for its music creators.
Finally, as is tradition, Day Three will wrap up with the Writer’s Jam, featuring some of EXPO’s most beloved music creators performing and collaborating in a loose, celebratory environment. Recording artists JoJo and Betty Who – who both have reached #1 on the Billboard charts – will be joined by Grammy-winning producer Prince Charlez and multi-time chart-topping songwriter Andrea Martin.