Ivor Novello Award-winning musician and producer Nile Rodgers surprised a room full of songwriters, music industry workers, and academics on 8th August, emerging as the unannounced keynote speaker for the Songwriting Studies Research Network event held at The Ivors Academy in London.
Billed as a conference around the activities of an academic research network, delegates had expected a day full of panel discussions, debates, and papers, but alongside the advertised schedule they also witnessed an intimate, 1-hour+ discussion between Rodgers and music manager Merck Mercuriadis. In a rapid-fire exchange the pair covered a variety of topics, including the future of music publishing and the secrets of songwriting success, before answering questions from the crowd.
Research project leader, Dr Simon Barber from the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research at Birmingham City University, said:
“Getting these kinds of rarefied insights from people who have ascended the upper echelons of the music industries is priceless. We can’t thank Nile and Merck enough for spending time answering our questions and sharing their expertise with the network.”
The event – the second in a series of national forums organised by the network – also saw the launch of the Songwriting Studies Journal, a new publication edited by Barber that will develop and share work from researchers and practitioners related to the culture and practice of songwriting. Delegates went away with details of the first issue and an invitation to contribute.
Following the event at The Ivors Academy, Rodgers and Mercuriadis will join Dr Barber and his colleague Brian O’Connor this evening for a live recording of their renowned podcast Sodajerker On Songwriting at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as part of the Meltdown Festival, capping off a day when the role of the songwriter was the focus for all.