WATCH: Bill Withers, Aloe Blacc Talk Influences, Music Biz, Elvis at ASCAP EXPO


In a rare public appearance, Bill Withers—the iconic singer-songwriter of the soul generation—joined Aloe Blacc onstage for a public conversation about his life and work during ASCAP’s 10th Annual ‘I Create Music’ EXPO in Los Angeles. Okayplayer TV's cameras were there to capture it all. Watch video of the on stage interview as the reclusive musical genius discusses influences, religion, the difference between music and the music industry--and why he refused to cover Elvis Presley -

Previous master sessions, performances and panels have included everyone from Wyclef to Don Was, Chaka Khan to Bon Jovi, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to Jill Scott. Bill Withers’ talk with Aloe exemplifies the value of these game-giving sessions as the usual banter about musical influences turned quickly to a much broader discussion of the things that shape us–in Withers case the early childhood trauma of being a stutterer and the religious ideas of some of his overzealous relatives (“I always say, if you ever find me dead in an alley somewhere, one of my relatives beat me to death with a bible.”).

The personal reminiscences included a strong dose of real talk about confusing music with the music business and in one of the interview’s most striking moments, Withers speaks candidly about his reaction to a record label executive who wanted him to cover Elvis Presley‘s “In The Ghetto” (“Well that just pissed me off. I wrote ‘Grandma’s Hands’ because I had a grandma. If you see me in the ghetto, brother, I’m passing through.”).

If you’re not hip to the music game, ASCAP stands for the American Society Of Composers, Authors & Publishers and the ASCAP EXPO is the pretty much the premier conference, not only for songwriters and composers but also artists and producers in all genres of music. Featuring creative and business-focused panels, workshops, master classes, keynotes, one-on-one sessions, networking events, state-of-the-art technology demonstrations and performances, the ASCAP EXPO is open to anybody–and anybody in the field of music can benefit from the knowledge shared therein (registration begins on October 30th). More Info On ASCAP EXPO 2016.