Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Valerie Simpson, who has co-written some of the most iconic songs in the history of popular music, will come to NYU on April 2 as the featured guest at the next edition of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions at NYU, a collaboration between the Hall and the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions of the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Simpson will discuss her five-decade career as a songwriter, producer, and performer with Phil Galdston, NYU Faculty Songwriter-in-Residence and Master Teacher in Songwriting.
“Valerie Simpson, with her husband and musical partner, the late Nick Ashford, has written songs that span generations and genre,” noted Dr. Ron Sadoff, Director of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, and its Songwriting Program. “Her extraordinarily rich and living body of work is indelibly embedded in our culture.”
“We are fortunate at the Songwriters Hall of Fame to have a lot of depth in terms of songwriting talent,” said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. “Val stands tall even in a land of giants. She is one of our finest songwriters, performers, and musicians, and is also among our most knowledgeable and experienced Hall of Famers. Her way with words and her unexpected comedic skills make her especially exciting to interview, and will clearly make this an unforgettable event.”
Ashford & Simpson created an unprecedented catalog of chart-topping hit singles and albums, collecting 22 gold and platinum records and more than 50 ASCAP Awards. Some of their classic compositions, productions and recordings include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” “Your Precious Love,” and “You’re All I Need to Get By” for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, “Let’s Go Get Stoned” for Ray Charles,” Is It Still Good To You?” for Teddy Pendergrass, “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and a customized version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for Diana Ross, and “I’m Every Woman” for both Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston.
Ashford & Simpson enjoyed widespread success as recording artists and performers. In addition to sold-out concert tours and a two-person show about their career, they scored hits with “Solid,” “Don’t Cost You Nothin’,” “Street Corner,” and “Found A Cure.” They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and were the recipients of ASCAP’s highest honor, the Founder’s Award, and the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award. Their songs are featured in the Tony-nominated, “MOTOWN: The Musical.” Simpson has released three solo albums, including 2012’s Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again. She continues to tour across the nation and to run NYC’s popular Sugar Bar, a restaurant and nightclub she and Nick Ashford founded to showcase new musical talent.
Launched in 2011, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions were established to bring to the NYU community the great songwriters who have inspired music creators and music lovers, alike. Part lecture, part performance, and part in-depth interview (including a Q&A with students), the Sessions are curated and moderated by GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and producer Phil Galdston. Previous editions have featured the late Hal David, Jimmy Webb, Glenn Frey, and Nile Rodgers.
“We’re very fortunate to have Valerie join us for a Master Session,” said Galdston. “Our students will have an extraordinary opportunity to benefit from her unique experience and insight into the art and craft of music-making and a the reality of a career in the business.”
The Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Sessions at NYU are held at The Provincetown Playhouse, 133 MacDougal Street, between West 3rd and West 4th streets. For more information about the Songwriting Program at NYU Steinhardt, visit http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/songwriting/.
About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases, and scholarships. The Hall’s East Cost educational activities currently take place at New York University, where both organizations collaborate on presenting the Master Sessions. West Coast educational activities are held at The GRAMMY Museum, which hosts the permanent Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery, and at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
About NYU Steinhardt Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions:
Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions was established in 1925. Today, 1,600 students majoring in renowned music and performing arts programs are guided by 400 faculty. The department’s degree programs—baccalaureate through doctorate—share the School’s spirit of openness and innovation that encourages the pursuit of high artistic and academic goals. Music and Performing Arts Professions serves as NYU’s “school” of music and is a major research and practice center in music technology, music business, music composition, film scoring, songwriting, music performance practices, performing arts therapies, and the performing arts-in-education (music, dance, and drama).