Okayplayers know that the only thing rarer than a Bill Withers interview is a Bill Withers public appearance (and the only thing rarer than rare is an album of new Bill Withers songs. Maybe if we all close our eyes at the same time and wish really, really hard…). Which is why we were shocked and delighted to learn that the iconic singer-songwriter of the soul generation would not only be attending ASCAP’s 10th Annual ‘I Create Music’ EXPO in Los Angeles this spring, but would join Aloe Blacc onstage for a public conversation about his life and work. Shock and delight ascended to near-panic attack levels of ecstasy when we determined (after a few, ahem, inquiries) that OKP TV’s cameras would be allowed to film the conversation for posterity.
Today we are extremely proud to debut the fruits of that musical chat-for-the-ages in conjunction with ASCAP as they announce the dates and details for the 11th Annual ASCAP EXPO, taking place April 28th-30th 2016 in L.A. If you’re not hip to the music game, ASCAP stands for the American Society Of Composers, Authors & Publishers and the ASCAP EXPO is the pretty much the premier conference, not only for songwriters and composers but also artists and producers in all genres of music. Featuring creative and business-focused panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes, one-on-one sessions, networking events, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations and performances, the ASCAP EXPO is open to anybody–and anybody in the field of music can benefit from the knowledge shared therein (registration begins on October 30th).
Previous master sessions, performances and panels have included everyone from Wyclef to Don Was, Chaka Khan to Bon Jovi, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to Jill Scott. Bill Withers’ talk with Aloe exemplifies the value of these game-giving sessions as the usual banter about musical influences turned quickly to a much broader discussion of the things that shape us–in Withers case the early childhood trauma of being a stutterer and the religious ideas of some of his overzealous relatives (“I always say: if you ever find me dead in an alley somewhere, one of my relatives beat me to death with a bible.”) The personal reminiscences included a strong dose of real talk about confusing music with the music business and in one of the interview’s most striking moments, Withers speaks candidly about his reaction to a record label executive who wanted him to cover Elvis Presley‘s “In The Ghetto” (“Well that just pissed me off. I wrote ‘Grandma’s Hands’ because I had a grandma. If you see me in the ghetto, brother, I’m passing through.”) Get all the highlights of this illuminating convo by watching the full OKP TV feature below, and hit the link for more info on ASCAP ‘I Create Music’ EXPO 2016.