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Pics of the Week: We Write the Songs

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Singer and songwriter Natalie Merchant performs at the ASCAP Foundation "We Write the Songs" concert in the Coolidge Auditorium, May 12, 2015. Photo by Shawn Miller.
Natalie Merchant 

Last week, the Library hosted the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation for its annual “We Write the Songs” concert, featuring the songwriters performing and telling the stories behind their own music. Taking the stage to perform some of their most notable music were Ne-Yo, Natalie Merchant (also formerly of 10,000 Maniacs), Donald Fagan of Steely Dan fame, Rupert Holmes and Rhymefest, who wrote “Glory,” the Oscar-winning song from the film “Selma.”

During the evening, the songwriters told some of the stories behind their music.



“Never had the guts to tell any of these girls how I felt about them,” said Ne-Yo of the girls who placed him in the friend zone. “Would write poems about them, the poems would stay in my little book and they would never see the light of day.”

Holmes, known for his hit “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” talked about a last-minute change to the famous catch lyric of the song – imagine having Humphrey Bogart as the earworm instead of a delicious cocktail!

“The final lyric came to me in one hour, and there were a lot of critics who think I should have taken two hours,” he quipped.

Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes

The Library is home to the ASCAP collection, which includes music manuscripts, printed music, lyrics (both published and unpublished), scrapbooks, correspondence and other personal, business, legal and financial documents, scrapbooks, and film, video and sound recordings.

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first United States Performing Rights Organization (PRO), representing the world’s largest repertory of more than 10 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from 525,000 songwriter, composer and music-publisher members.

All photos by Shawn Miller


  1. I am a song writer and I have a song for everything. I love music. When I was diagnosed with lupus, I sang and wrote inspirational songs until I was well. When I divorced after 31 years, I sang and listened to music that made me happy and heal. All of these artists are amazing. Ne Yo is young but oh so brilliant. Glad you show no distinction between genres as all music comes from someone’s heart, be it broken, hurt or joyous and anything that comes from the heart is pure. I hope to be there next year! Thanks for sharing.

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