“Singing Your Own Songs: How Female Songwriters Navigate Intellectual Property and Public Authenticity”, 2/26/21, 4PM
On Friday February 26th at 4PM, join HNAC and the UNCG School of Music at the next in the Irna Priore “She Can We Can” Music and Culture Lecture Series, “Singing Your Own Songs: How Female Songwriters Navigate Intellectual Property and Public Authenticity” with Dr. Jocelyn Neal.
When fans of today’s country music listen to a song, they hear many layers of voices: the narrative voice of the protagonist, the physical voice of the artist, the metaphoric voices of the genre and its intertextuality, and the creative voice of its songwriter, whose identity is often hidden behind the façade of the performance. Although the songwriter’s voice and persona have taken the spotlight at a few different times in recent history, more commonly, the one person who can rightly claim legal ownership of a particular song is displaced by the physical presence of the performer. The intersection between these layers of voices is even more complicated for female songwriters working in country music, where gendered representation underpins the genre’s core philosophies. In this paper we will explore the landscape of cultural ownership for contemporary female country songwriters and the challenges of writing songs in one’s own voice to be sung by someone else. Drawing on interviews, reception history, and close readings of individual songs, we will reflect on how a songwriter’s personal voice carries through to the fans, and what is filtered out by the same music industry that claims to crave an authentic, personal voice from its performers.