Some of the top female songwriters in the music business are reflecting on their struggles in the industry while making time to collaborate live.
It was an evening of pointy heels and even sharper melodies at ASCAP Presents…Women Behind the Music: Stilettos & Soul-Live Song Collaboration held in NYC September 9. The event, which was held at the New World Stages, featured four of the music industry’s most acclaimed and successful female songwriters including: Cri$tyle "The Ink" Johnson (Mariah Carey, Natasha Bedingfield), Kristal "Tytewriter" Oliver (Raheem Devaughn, Danity Kane) and Pen Up Girls, which consists of members Natalie and Fendi (Karina Pasian, Bobby Valentino).
Before the event the ladies delved deep into what it means to be a female songwriter in the music business. For Tytewriter the event was a reminder of how far she has come in the.
“I had to overcome self-doubt; the doubt came from failure. With certain people, it motivates them, but it made me scared because so many others could do it well. I am now at the point where I believe in myself enough and I have enough confidence to handle it,” she said.
And handle it she is as proven by the current roster of artists she is collaborating with such as Lil’ Jon and Diddy.
Cri$tyle noted that she faced an opposite battle. Instead of self-doubt she dealt with the pressure of knowing she was destined for greatness.
“I feel like I was definitely put here to be great and that can frighten you. I can see where I’m gonna end up, but to stay on that path is hard,” she confessed. “It’s easier to sit down where you at and chill and be content with little small things, as opposed to getting up and reaching your full potential.”
Cri$tyle is achieving many amazing things these days. Besides currently working with Mariah Carey, Diddy’s Dirty Money Crew and Sugababes, she is gearing up to release an album from her first protégé, rock/pop artist, Paulina.
With any career there are major ups and downs and for the Pen Up Girls it’s about not taking those struggles personally.
“Men look at women as extra emotional, but in any business, it’s a business. So don’t wear your heart on the sleeve, and do the work and have fun,” recommended member Natalie.
Fun was certainly had by all at Women Behind the Music. After the night’s lovely and vibrant host, Jasmine Sanders of 107.5 WBLS’ “Middays with Jasmine,” introduced the women, they all went over to the piano and started the collaborative process. They were accompanied at the piano by Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer and keyboardist, James Poyser (Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu, Queen Latifah).
Each writer went back and forth with different ideas and harmony suggestions, while some lively audience members even interjected during the process with their own recommendations.
While the quartet didn’t finish the entire song they did sing a complete chorus over James’ pretty melancholy melody. The rest of the night turned into a cocktail social with tastemakers and the general public networking. According to ASCAP’s vice president of the rhythm & soul department, Nicole George, there will be many more of these events to come.
“We organized this event because we wanted to celebrate the wonderful contributions women have made in music. We had one in L.A., Atlanta and now, NYC and the response is great. So we are trying to make it an annual event now,” she said.
So, sharpen your heels and pencils for more collaborative songwriting celebrations of women in music.