For its fifth year of celebrating the crop of musical artists vying for a gold statuette, and the opportunity to hear them share craft and career tips, the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s “A Conversation With 2021 Oscar-Nominated Songwriters” will be held virtually, which means for the first time the event will be open to the public.
The program takes place Tuesday, beginning at 4 p.m. PST, and will be moderated by songwriters Nile Rodgers, who chairs the organization, and Paul Williams, himself an Oscar winner for co-writing “Evergreen” (with Barbra Streisand) for the 1976 version of A Star Is Born.
Over its brief history, the event has established a solid track record for attracting talent, and this year is no different. Artists behind all five nominated songs will be participating: D’Mile and Tiara Thomas, who co-wrote “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah; Daniel Pemberton, co-writer (with Celeste) of “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7; Savan Kotecha and Fat Max Gsus, co-writers (with Atli Övarsson) of “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga; Diane Warren and Laura Pausini, co-writers of “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead; and Leslie Odom Jr. and Sam Ashworth, who wrote “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami.
The annual showcase was borne out of the Songwriters Hall of Fame developing educational programs on the West Coast, including “Master Sessions” for USC students, exposing them to top-tier songwriters. As it became more tied to the Oscars, a separate event developed with nominees starting to come onboard. The first Oscar nominee panel was staged on the Fox lot with a lineup that included Justin Timberlake and Max Martin, among others, along with Bill Withers as moderator. The location then switched to L.A. Film School. It was there in late January 2020, just before the pandemic shut down such gatherings across the country, that the last SHOF affair attracted Oscar nominees Diane Warren, Common, Bernie Taupin, Cynthia Erivo and Marc Shaiman, among others, to share their wisdom with the assembled.