*The 4th Annual American Society of Composers (ASCAP) Presents … Women Behind the Music series celebrating contributions of women in the music industry met with resounding success. The empowering event honored top industry females at events in New York (Oct. 16), Los Angeles (Oct. 17) and Atlanta (Oct. 18). Each city featured different honorees, entertainment, and a special sponsor.
During the panel discussions manned by a celebrity moderator, honorees candidly addressed questions around mentorship, balancing work, benefits of a male dominated industry and the rewards of their career. Each honoree received a commemorative music medal for her exemplary contributions in the entertainment industry.
ASCAP’s 3-day, 3-city series was designed to encourage and recognize women in the music community, highlighting not only women songwriters and artists, but women working in all facets of the business, including managers, attorneys, label executives and music publishers.
“We created the Women Behind the Music series to recognize the immense contributions that women make across all areas of the music business,” explained ASCAP vice president of membership, rhythm & soul, Nicole George. “Each woman we have honored since our inaugural event three years ago is a legend in her own right, and I’m thrilled to continue this amazing series with another round of outstanding and deserving honorees.”
The 4th annual event kicked off in New York City at the exclusive Tenjune, located at 26 Little West 12th Street, in the trendy Meatpacking District. The event honored DJ and Black Girls Rock! Inc. founder Beverly Bond; Island/Def Jam Music Group vice president of business & legal affairs Nicole Wyskoarko; and Universal Music Publishing senior vice president and co-head of east coast operations Jessica Rivera.
During the panel discussion moderated by George, each honoree shared the most rewarding aspect of her career. “This is exciting for me. I am being recognized for the thing that gave me my foundation,” said Bond. “I saw greatness that came before me, and I tried to make sure that I respected the game. I wasn’t a model DJ and I wasn’t someone that was getting a pass because I was a girl. I really went the extra mile to make sure I was respected for my skills and for what I brought to the table and then I continued that on with Black Girls Rock! To even speak out from within about what was inappropriate that was being projected to our young girls.”
Rivera, spoke about her magical meeting with Q-Tip when she toiled as a recording studio receptionist and the role she plays in finding talent at Universal Music. “We have an amazing roster and we’re always building the roster with new talent. That’s something we pride ourselves on,” said Rivera. “I remember when we signed Keri Hilson as this young songwriter, and all of the sudden she became a huge artist and not just a songwriter. We pride ourselves on really recognizing talent because I love the talent and giving them the attention they deserve.”
Attorney Wyskoarko offered “In a lot of ways, law is very important in what’s going on in music today. Law encompasses all of the digital environment, because there are so many new ways of exploiting music.” Wyskoarko went on to talk about the importance of legal rights. “Lawyers are the ones who kind of come in and set the boundaries for how music is going to be exploited, how the writers and artists are going to earn money. Then if you look at an album, there are so many rights involved, you’ve got to get the samples cleared and things like that,” she concluded.
The evening featured music by DJ Fame Cohen and a special performance by RCA recording artist Sterling Simms who rocked the house with his stirring rendition of Sam Cook’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Red Bull was the event sponsor.
MC Lyte moderated the Los Angeles run at Bardot Hollywood, 1737 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA, honoring Recording Academy West Regional Director Lizzy Moore; FOX Broadcasting Company vice president of music and production, on air promotion Mamie Coleman; ICM Partners Concerts Agent Caroline Yim; and R&B award winning singer/songwriter Ledisi. The evening featured a special performance by Epic Records recording artist Nylo.
The series concluded at Vanquish, 1029 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA and honored B. Lawrence Watkins & Associates Attorney Bernie Lawrence-Watkins; songwriter and recording artist Crystal Nicole; and Grammy Award-winning songwriter and singer Tameka “Tiny” Harris. The evening was moderated by V103 radio personality & HGTV host Egypt Sherrod, and featured a special performance by R&B singer-songwriter Mylah. Rémy Martin V was the evening’s sponsor. (Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta)
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 450,000 members representing more than 8.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. http://www.ascap.com
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.