What’s in a song? That’s the question posed to Grammy-nominated artist Allison Russell

Whether it’s the raw lyrics from the heart or a head-banging hook, there’s no denying the power of a well-written song.

Grammy-nominated artist Allison Russell recently sold Carnegie Hall in New York, so she knows a thing or two about writing compelling songs.

These UC Santa Barbara students have a unique opportunity to peer into the mind of the songwriter in the first of a series of free public workshops featuring intimate conversations with veteran and highly acclaimed artists, hosted by the University Music Department and UCSB Arts & Lectures.

“I really love Americana Roots music and I was looking for ways to involve different parts of our university with the music department and offer something that we don’t really do – and also bring these giants of the field of songwriting – pop, blues, country, jazz – many different genres will be represented, and this first we have the incredible Allison Russell,” said Benjamin Brecher, who led the program and is the music chairman. at UCSB, at KCLU.

The way artists write songs can teach us not just about music, but also about storytelling, collaboration and creative work, Brecher said.

He says he hopes to bring together students with varying interests, as well as music students who spend their time studying classical music, to be introduced to Russell’s music and other genres.

Allison Russell says it’s not just an opportunity to inspire the songwriters of tomorrow, but to come out of the studio feeling inspired by the students herself.

“It’s always inspiring to meet young songwriters and people who are passionate about words and music,” Russell told KCLU.

“I’m always inspired and I appreciate the exchange. Music is about communication and it’s always enriching and useful.”

Russell says she was “under a rock” musically when she was growing up and relishes the opportunity to offer guidance to budding musical artists.

“I wish I had known that people who looked like me could write music. It took me a long time to learn that,” she said.

This is a unique opportunity to gain insight into the songwriting practice of successful artists.

For the full schedule of Songwriting Initiative workshops, visit music.ucsb.edu.

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