As women in music production, engineering and songwriting increasingly look to each other to collaborate, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) is jumping in with its first ever “She Is the Music” song camp. Scheduled for October 17 to 19 at producer Ron Fair’s Faircraft Studio in Nashville, the performance rights organization recruited Mary J. Blige to usher in its inaugural edition. Also slated to participate are Audra Mae, Priscilla Renea, Emily Weisband, Kesha Lee and Maria Elisa Ayerbe.
ASCAP’s effort, similar to the YouTube-sponosored SheWrites camp in Los Angeles last week, comes in reaction to a report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative that was released in January. It demonstrated appallingly low numbers of female producers (only 2% of the top songs sampled) currently working in the music business.
“She Is the Music” was launched in response to the Annenberg report as well, and was cofounded by Alicia Keys, Universal Music Publishing Group Chairman and CEO Jody Gerson, Grammy Award-winning engineer Ann Mincieli and WME partner and head of East Coast Music Samantha Kirby.
The PRO has hosted song camps before, from which collaborations have made their way to such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez and Ellie Goulding, among others. One such song was the country hit “Somethin’ Bad,” written by Priscilla Renea, Brett James and Chris DeStefano, which would later be recorded by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood and released in 2014.
“ASCAP is thrilled to be part of this trailblazing effort and bring this incredible group of talented women together for our first ‘She Is the Music’ song camp,” said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews. “As a company, ASCAP is proud to have a large number of women in executive leadership positions, and we have a long history of successful song camps that have brought men and women together to write some of the biggest hit songs. We believe that still more can be done to further an inclusive music industry culture.”
Added Blige: “We all have the power to create change. As we continue to lift each other up, we will be unstoppable.”