Studio offers clinic in master songwriting

Breanna Fields, Reporter

The best in the music industry  gathered in Bakersfield for a one-day clinic to discuss the craft of songwriting inside the studio.

Opening its doors to amateurs and professionals, American Sound Recording Studios  hosted a series of Master Songwriting Clinics that offered aspiring songwriters and artists the opportunity to expand their musical knowledge through instruction by world-class artists.

The first clinic was held March 31, with a packed house during the songwriting session and a sold-out concert the night before.

Rick Stevens, manager of American Sound Recording Studios, said that these clinics are not genre specific and offer knowledge for all skill levels.

“They learn from the best songwriters in the business,” said Stevens. “They’re either Grammy Award-winning songwriters or major hit-maker songwriters that are doing these clinics.”

Among the master songwriters who attended the last clinic was three-time Grammy and Emmy award-nominated artist Steve Dorff, who has composed music for Kenny Rogers, George Strait and Eddie Rabbit, as well as a number of television and movie soundtracks. Also at the clinic was Randy Sharp, whose music has been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris, The Dixie Chicks, Reba McEntire and many others. His daughter Maia, produced by Grammy-award winner Don Was, was also there to share her talent.

“The idea is to give songwriters and artists an opportunity to advance their career in songwriting and artistry,” said Stevens, whose own resume boasts a diverse musical background as a producer, as well as an opening act for Martina McBride, George Jones and Tracy Byrd.

These clinics will give artists the opportunity to hone their skills and further their education on subjects like song structure, songs in movies and commercials, the importance of publishing and the representational aspects of a musician’s career, such as producing demos.

“The songwriting process is not as easy as people think that it is,” said Stevens. “I guess anyone could sit down and think they could write a song but writing great songs is a real art. It’s a real talent and it doesn’t just come to anyone.”

The night before each clinic, there will be a concert featuring all of the master songwriters and their work.

During the clinic, there will be a critique session where musicians are encouraged to bring in original recordings for feedback by the instructors.

Apart from the Master Songwriting Clinic, Stevens is also working on a reality TV show titled, “America, Is It a Hit?” through his own project called VSaR Entertainment Group.

The concept is that songwriters are split up into three different genres (pop, rock and country) and will compete on weekly episodes where viewers can vote for their favorite artists, much like “American Idol.” A panel of judges will decide the fate of each artist that performs.

A pilot episode of “America, Is it a Hit?” has been filmed, and Stevens is now in the process of waiting for it to get picked up by a network.

At its core, the studio provides recording services for local artists and has expanded by offering to host corporate events and birthday parties.

The recent addition of the Master Songwriting Clinics has proved to follow in suit with its appeal to local musicians who seek to craft and learn the elements of songwriting.

The concert is $20 and the clinic is $149, which includes lunch at the studio’s in-house Hot & Smokin’ BBQ.

Although the date for the next clinic is still pending, Stevens says that they expect it to be the last week of June.

More information can be found at or call 864-1701.