Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Grammy and Oscar Winning Composer, Lyricist Paul Williams "In Conversation" at Southwestern April 24, 2014
Grammy and Oscar Winning Composer, Lyricist Paul Williams "In Conversation" at Southwestern

Paul Williams, one of the most beloved and respected music creators in the world today, will be the next guest for the "Conversation With..." series, presented by Southwestern's Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute. Professor Steve Krone, Director of the Biederman Institute, and Professor Jay Gendron will conduct the discussion on Wednesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Southwestern.

A lyricist and composer, Williams won an Oscar Award, two Grammy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards, and earned induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs, from "We've Only Just Begun," to "The Rainbow Connection," have touched millions of people for generations. As President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), he is also a leading spokesman for music creators in the digital age. Earlier this year, he received a Grammy Award for his collaboration as a vocalist and composer with Daft Punk on the band's Album of the Year, "Random Access Memories."

"Jay and I couldn't be more excited to have the opportunity to explore art, life and the music business with Paul," Professor Krone said. "We're both enormous fans of his work and his humanity."

Williams' standards have been recorded by diverse musical icons that include: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Willie Nelson, REM, Anne Murray, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, Diana Krall, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah McLachlan, Jason Mraz, The Dixie Chicks, Gonzo and Kermit The Frog.

Although Williams has been an actor in dozens of films and on television, it is his inspiring musical legacy for which he is best known. He has released 24 albums and provided songs and scores for dozens of films. The hit songs he wrote dominated the charts and became staples, including Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song," The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun," Oscar winning "Evergreen," from the Barbra Streisand version of A Star is Born and the iconic "Rainbow Connection," performed by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie. Williams is currently working with Gustavo Santaolalla on songs for The Book of Life before moving onto Guillermo del Toro's stage musical adaptation of Pan's Labyrinth.

His career, life and work in recovery have been chronicled in the acclaimed documentary, Paul Williams Still Alive, for which Paul wrote the critically acclaimed title track. Sober 23 years, his humorous observations of life, love and creativity, augmented by the education and knowledge he gained through his studies and certification from UCLA as a Certified Drug Rehabilitation Counselor, will be shared in an upcoming book: Gratitude and Trust: Recovery is Not Just for Addicts, co-written with Tracey Jackson. Recovery being his number one passion, he considers writing this book the greatest opportunity of his lifetime to carry the message to the masses that recovery works for all.

Since being elected ASCAP President and Chairman of the 450,000+ member organization, Williams has been a tireless advocate for defending copyright both at home and on the world stage. He has frequently led delegations of some of today's leading songwriters and composers to Washington, DC to visit with policymakers, discuss music creator rights and perform at the U.S. Library of Congress. He is a much sought-after speaker at conferences around the world for his vision, humor, knowledge of the issues and strong communication skills, as well as his gift for fostering common ground among diverse constituencies. As such, he is called upon often to testify before Congress on vital Intellectual Property matters.

Williams was also elected President of The ASCAP Foundation in 2009. He helps lead the public charity's work in supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs, including songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, community outreach and humanitarian programs for songwriters, composers and lyricists.

The "Conversation With..." series at Southwestern features prominent leaders in entertainment and media, including executives, attorneys and creative artists from the worlds of film, television, music, sports, interactive entertainment and other creative industries. The dialogue format allows the special guest to explore timely and vital issues confronting the entertainment and media industries in an informal setting. Audience members are invited to ask questions, and the conversation is followed by a reception.

The free event will offer one hour of CLE credit and be held in the law school's Bullocks Wilshire Building. Reservations are requested and can be made through the Institute Office. Parking is available on campus for $9. Click here for a map and directions to campus.

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