Celebvocate: Ne-Yo on songwriter rights

November 20, 2013
HANDOUT IMAGE: Ne-Yo performing at the ASCAP event on the Hill Wednesday. In the background: Paul Williams, ASCAP president and veteran songwriter. One time use only. No sales.
Ne-Yo performing at the ASCAP event with veteran songwriter Paul Williams. (Rocky Wilson)

One in an occasional series on the stars who bring their causes to Washington. Wednesday’s visitor: Ne-Yo

Event: Creative Rights Caucus and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers panel discussion about the challenges songwriters face in the digital age.

Setting: Rayburn House Office Building.

Bona fides: Grammy-winning R&B singer and songwriter (he penned Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and Rihanna’s “Take a Bow”).

Back-ups: Veteran songwriter and ASCAP President Paul Williams (Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen,” “The Love Boat” theme song); Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP general counsel and vice president.

What he wants: To ensure that songwriters and music creators get fairly compensated in an Internet age.

How he looked: Fashionably casual in jeans and black sweater over a button-down shirt, topped off with a leather newsboy hat.

How he sounded: When he sang? Dazzling. The panel and Q&A session took breaks so he could croon some of his own hits, including “So Sick” and “Closer,” as Hill staff members mouthed along the lyrics and danced in their seats. And when he spoke? Passionate about getting the people who make the music the payments they deserve.

Sound bite: “Fame is the thing that allows you to have other streams of revenue. As a songwriter, you are not famous. . .. I promise you, there are no songwriter groupies.”

Read more about recent celebvocates and even more about celebvocates from past years.

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