Four hit ASCAP writers traded #1 country songs and new material alike on January 14 at the intimate, magical ASCAP Experience "In the Round” concert in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe. The four writers — Chris DeStefano, JT Harding, Brett James and Cassadee Pope — were gathered to share stories of their past attendance at ASCAP conferences, and preview the 15th annual ASCAP Experience (formerly ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo) which takes place this year April 1-3 in Los Angeles.
(l-r) Brett James, Cassadee Pope, Chris DeStefano & JT Harding @ The Bluebird Cafe, Jan. 14, 2020
At the famously cozy Bluebird, these veteran writers of dozens of beloved hits were introduced by ASCAP Vice President of Membership Mike Sistad. They sat in a circle, literally in the round, and bantered about how they wrote their hits, often with one of their other Experience "In the Round” colleagues, and about how their time at ASCAP Experiences affected their careers. JT Harding talked about giving advice to young writers at a panel (where he also met Chris DeStefano for the first time), and then right after that, running into one of his own songwriting inspirations, Eric Bazilian, at a Starbucks, and getting advice from the “One of Us” writer. Pope reminisced about the thrill of being on a panel with Meghan Trainor, while Brett James talked about the wonder of being on a diverse cross-genre summit with Rob Thomas, Desmond Child and Brian McKnight.
All four performers have also participated in ASCAP's annual Song Camp in France. In fact it was that Song Camp where DeStefano, James and Priscilla Renea co-wrote "Somethin' Bad," a #1 country hit for Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
Chris DeStefano performs
JT Harding, mid-bringing the house down
Brett James at the ASCAP Experience "In the Round" at the Bluebird
Cassadee Pope performing
Brett James performs
The four performers with the ASCAP Nashville crew
This year's ASCAP Experience takes place April 1-3, 2020 in Downtown LA at the InterContinental Hotel. Previous keynote speakers and panelists have included Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Justin Timberlake, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Katy Perry and Tom Petty.
Entering its 15th year, ASCAP Experience is the largest conference of its kind in North America, attracting thousands of music creators for three days of panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes and one-on-one sessions with the industry’s top hitmakers. It is the only music conference completely dedicated to music creation and what it takes to be a professional music creator today. ASCAP Experience panelists participate because they want to give back to the next generation, and the feeling of community and giving back is authentic, infectious and inspirational. Many who come to the Experience walk away saying that it is a life-changing event.
For tickets and more information about the 15th annual ASCAP Experience, click around this here website.