UMA’s Mike Taylor on Bali Songwriting Camp expansion
Organisers of the annualBaliSongwriting Invitationalannounced its global expansion with two new locations in France and the US, something the event’s co-founder (and MD of Universal Music Australia), Michael Taylor said has been in the pipeline for a while.
“We just kind of needed the artists to want to do it,” Taylor told TMN. “It comes down to having artists and producers who want to do a destination songwriting event.”
Following this year’s sixth event in Ubud, where producers and songwriters from differing musical backgrounds across the globe collaborate, next year’s pilgrimage will take in Antibes in France and the Buddy Rich Estate in Palm Springs, US. However they won’t be the first songwriting camps outside of Bali.
Organisers tested doing an international event last year on producer/engineerTomMisner’s yacht in Montenegro. Misner, whoowned 301 Studios, AMSNeve and School of Audio Engineering (SAE), sold each property and currently works as a producer out of Abbey Road.
“He kindly offered [his yacht] for a highly reduced fee,” Taylor laughed. “He participated himself as a songwriter.”
Organisers built in writing rooms on the yacht and among those in attendance was 6x Grammy Award winning producer Steve Lillywhite and multi-Platinum songwriter/producer Gary Go.
“We have a large amount of champions out there now for the event,” Taylor told TMN. “International producers and songwriters have attended and with all of them telling a lot more people about it – and us getting a lot more requests –we felt there was an opportunity to expand.”
Taylor and the Peter Coquillard (MD of Silva Music Publishing) co-founded The Invitational Group in 2013 when the decision was made to rebrand the event from the Bali Songwriting Summit to the Bali Songwriting Invitational. “The idea is that it’s a destination songwriting camp,” Taylor said. “So it doesn’t have to be in Bali per se.”
Taylor and Coquillard are looking to do another camp on TomMisner’s yacht in Antigua this year, preceding the events in Antibes and at the Buddy Rich Estate in Palm Springs.
Current partners Universal Music Publishing Australia, BMI and Native Instruments, who manufacture software for producers, will continue to be partners for the France event alongside new partner Tom Misner.
Taylor told TMN he spoke to Miles Copeland (manager of the Police), who has his own songwriting camp at his castle in the countryside, Château Marouatte. “We feel like we’re not in competition but they complement each other in many ways.”
The Palm Springs event will be ran in partnership with Roar, the management firm which works with Zac Brown Band, Aisha Tyler, David Alan Grier and Gaelic Storm. These partnerships help to keep costs down, making the initiative more attractive for those taking part.
“One of our core initiatives is to keep costs really reduced for people who attend,” said Taylor. “[So that] it’s not a barrier for attendance. Whether APRA or BMI or Native Instruments or Universal Publishing or all who have been partners through the years can help fund the overall costs, we also look for locations where we can keep costs down so they can focus on being creative and not have that added pressure of having a result out of the week.”
The camp will return to Bali, which has become its foundation. Helping to fund attendance in Ubud this year was APRA AMCOS’ initiative SongHubs, Universal Music Publishing Australia, Island Records Australia, BMI, and Native Instruments.
The seven artists and seven producers in attendance this year were:
Cathy Dennis (5 time Ivor Novello winning songwriter, with 8 #1s in the UK)
Steve Lillywhite (6x Grammy Award winning producer, U2, Rolling Stones, The Killers)
Maegan Cottone(Britney Spears, Iggy Azelea)
Mitch Allan(Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez)
Audra Mae(recent writing credits include Avicii, Miranda Lambert,Kelly Clarkson)
Grammy award winning M-Phazes(Eminem, Kimbra)
Blake Sennett of Rilo Kiley and Night Terrors of 1927
YouTube sensation turned Atlantic artist, Jasmine Thompson
Disney star and Hollywood Records signing Jordan Fisher
Australia’s indie darlingEAST
Warner US artist Greg Holden (the writer behind Phillip Phillips “Home,” American Idol’s highest selling debut song)
Australian artist Georgi Kay
US born / Australia based producer Robert Conley (Tina Arena, Darren Hayes)