Chart Toppers: An Inspirational Evening

The Songwriters Hall of Fame, along with the Los Angeles-based GRAMMY Museum presented a Chart Toppers: Songwriters/Producers-in-the-Round event at the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater on Monday, October 15th. The event featured a stellar gathering of some of today’s top songwriter/producers speaking about their craft and the stories behind their hit songs: Dan Wilson (Adele, Dixie Chicks, Semisonic), Greg Kurstin (Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Lily Allen), Evan Bogart (Beyonce, Rihanna, Sean Kingston), Tim Pagnotta (Neon Trees, Kris Allen, Sugarcult) and Rodney Jerkins (Justin Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga/Beyonce). Wonderfully moderated by Phil Gallo, Senior Correspondent at Billboard Magazine, the audience was enthralled as each participant spoke of their processes and craft of creating and writing hit songs.

As compelling as the presentation was for all, it was especially so for a group of young songwriting students from USC Thornton School of Music. Thirty students from Associate Dean Chris Sampson’s Popular Degree Program attended, and each was inspired; taking away a new insight that fed into their hopes to become successful songwriters, as evidenced by the extraordinary thank-you notes they subsequently wrote (see below). Their experiences directly speak to the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s mission; not only celebrating songwriters, but educating and nurturing the development of new songwriting talent through scholarships and events such as these.

This exceptional evening was hosted by Mary Jo Mennella, chair of the SHOF West Coast Committee and Rita George, the GRAMMY Museum’s Facilities and Operations Director. Kudos also go to West Coast Projects Committee members Barbara Cane and Loretta Munoz, who co-chaired the event. All proceeds from the In-The-Round series are to benefit the educational programs of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grammy Museum.

Read more highlights from the Chart Toppers event in an article on by Melinda Newman here.

Quotes from some of the USC Thornton School of Music Popular Degree Program students who attended:
“Thanks so much for the opportunity to attend last night’s event.  I went home and wrote a song in two hours!” -Brett Fromson

“It was amazing to hear so many personal insights from today’s most in-demand and successful writers. I really related to what they had to say, and it gave me great hope for my future as a songwriter.” -Barry Harris

“Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be a part of last night’s event. It was awesome to get insight from such profound people in the songwriting industry, and I definitely took away many good things. Thanks again!” -Daniel Vanchieri

“Thank you for the invitation to the songwriting panel on Monday and we are honored that you would think of us. It was an exciting and insightful panel that has inspired me as a songwriter and artist. We are eager for opportunities like this and I hope you will continue to consider us in the future.” -Chase Baldocchi

“Thank you so much for finding a way to get us all tickets to the songwriting forum at the museum. It was such an illuminating conversation, and I felt lucky to be in the room. Your gesture truly means a lot to a student and songwriter.” -Katie Gavin

“Many thanks for allowing us to be a part of last night’s songwriter happening. Surely, the insight I received will come of use at some point in my life.” -Michael Groome

“Thanks so much for having us on Monday! It was incredibly inspiring for me to hear from these songwriters and to hear the stories behind these songs that we all know, and I know my class mates felt the same way!” -Max Quilici