Call for proposals: Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter

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The singer-songwriter has been a source of creativity and emotion for centuries: from troubadours in the Middle Ages, to John Dowland’s songs of the Renaissance, nineteenth century Lieder, blues singers in the Deep South, to the multitude of figures in the twentieth-century popular music industry. Our intention for the proposed volume is to offer a new perspective on the singer-songwriter, broadly defined, by including chapters that adopt a variety of scholarly angles.

We welcome proposals that focus on a single figure: be it Bob Dylan, Carole King, Randy Newman, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sting, Prince, Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco, or newer artists such as Jason Mraz or Amanda Palmer. In addition, we invite proposals that adopt a lateral perspective to the phenomenon of the singer-songwriter: a discussion of several active songwriters within a single scene (such as the 1960s New York folk scene, open mic nights, the Brill Building, 1970s Los Angeles); auteurs in African-American music (Robert Johnson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, Isaac Hayes, Kanye West); global perspectives; festivals (such as Lilith Fair) and open mics; figures that developed their songwriting talents as part of a band before going solo (Lennon, McCartney, Phil Collins, Sting, Ben Folds); individuals that emerged from behind the scenes to take centre stage on their own (Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, Missy Elliott, Jessie J); and wider discourses around such artists and genres (‘authorship’, mythology, the voice, gender, music production, industry and marketing).

We are also interested in approaches that embrace the teaching of songwriting and performance, as well as perspectives from the music industry. If you teach the mechanics of songwriting to budding singer-songwriters, or are an active singer-songwriter yourself, we would like to hear from you. Teaching songwriting in the 21st century involves contemporary concerns: how do you teach the necessary business skills? How do you negotiate the burgeoning online world of social media and internet fandom? How do you include technology in your career as a singer-songwriter, or in your classes? Do you use the internet as a learning and teaching resource? How do DAWs feature in your creative and pedagogical life?

Most importantly, we welcome proposals from authors who think outside a narrow notion of the singer-songwriter, and will help us to make this volume exciting, interesting, and informative. The book will be aimed at undergraduate and MA level popular music programmes as well as fans and general audiences of the genres covered. Our only criterion is that the focus be individuals who write and perform their own material.

250-300 word abstracts/proposals should be sent by  01 Sept. 2013 to CCtoSingerSongwriter@gmail.com

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Justin A. Williams (University of Bristol)

Dr. Katherine A. Williams (Leeds College of Music)

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