ASCAP announced its highest ever paid attendance for its ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO with an increase of 19% over 2014. The premier event for songwriter education and career networking took place at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles from April 30th – May 2nd with well over 2600 participants.
EXPO attendees enjoyed three days of expert sessions on the craft of songwriting and composing, featuring many of today’s top music creators. Top names like Richard Marx, Ingrid Michaelson, Mike Reid, Claudia Brant and Da Internz treated the EXPO to intimate performances at their Master Sessions. Marx later took advantage of EXPO sponsor Squarespace’s direct-to-vinyl recording studio to record a track which he will auction off to charity.
One of the most anticipated sessions of the conference took place on Friday afternoon when hit songwriter Aloe Blacc interviewed Bill Withers. The packed Dolby Ballroom was enthralled by their conversation, peppered with witty aphorisms from Withers on subjects including songwriting (“The hardest thing to do is to be profound and simple”) and privacy (“Everything is not public information…unless you are a Kardashian”).
Darrell Brown, hit songwriter for Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and more, held his customary EXPO “Live Multi-Genre Song Feedback” sessions, this time for seven hours straight. ASCAP singer-songwriter Jason Mraz (“I’m Yours,” “The Remedy”) secretly joined the audience for five hours, providing anonymous feedback to audience participants who bravely accepted critiques on their recent works.
Savan Kotecha, mastermind of some of today’s biggest hits from Maroon 5, One Direction, Britney Spears and more, played his original voice demos from hits like Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” and shared some candid opinions on the legislative issues facing songwriters. ASCAP’s annual, sold-out lunch roundtables and One-on-One sessions put attendees face-to-face with many of EXPO’s other top panelists, including the brothers of Hanson.
During the closing Writers Jam performance, featuring Aloe Blacc, Andrew Bird, Andrea Martin and Ashley Gorley, Blacc led the crowd in a group singalong to Withers’ “Lean on Me” to bring the EXPO to an end. Blacc attended the 2010 EXPO specifically to hear Withers in conversation with Justin Timberlake. His performance represented a fitting end to his first EXPO as a panelist – and a reminder of the continuing importance of the EXPO to music creators at all stages of their careers.