The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) hosted its 2018 Grammy Nominees Reception on January 27 at The Top of The Standard. The ASCAP Grammy Nominees Reception celebrated its talented artists, songwriters and music creators nominated for the 60th Annual Grammys.We spoke with ASCAP Board Member Desmond Child who is a legendary songwriter and producer. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.
Tell me about celebrating the songwriters today and what that means.
Desmond Child: Well, I’m a songwriter, and it’s always great when someone wants to celebrate us, because we’re really the unsung heroes of music. And, so, I’m very proud to be an ASCAP member, this is my 40th year anniversary at ASCAP, and so it’s a great moment. I’ve been in the business now five decades
And so tell me about how you got your start in music. What was your big break?
Desmond: My mother was a songwriter. Elena Casals, a Cuban bolero writer. And so I didn’t know people didn’t write songs. So I’ve been writing songs ever since I was a baby.
Were you born in Cuba?
Desmond: No I was born in Gainesville, Florida. And then my whole family immigrated to Miami and I grew up on Miami Beach.
So do you write in English and Spanish?
Desmond: I do. I’ve written a lot in both languages. I wrote and produced “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and “She Bangs”.
You’re a Ricky Martin collaborator.
Are you excited about him on the new Ryan Murphy show? Versace?
Desmond: Oh I love that show. Ryan Murphy’s a genius. And Ricky’s doing great. But the one that I’m just out of my mind about is Darren Chris. He should get every award possible. He did such a great job with that.
And so how did you first link up with Ricky? Because those were some of his biggest hits.
Desmond: After having a lot of successes with bands like Bon Jovi, I co-write “Living on a Prayer” and “You give Love A Bad Name.” I’ve been working with them their whole careers. And Aerosmith “Dude Looks Like a Lady”, “Angel”, “What it Takes”, I decided to go back to Miami in the mid-90’s and reestablish myself there. I went home. And so [Ricky] was like a neighbor, he lived down the street, so that’s how we got to meet.
What do you think of the influx of Latin music in our popular culture right now, with “Despasito” and all the interesting collaborations going on?
Desmond: Well, as a matter of fact I’m the chairman of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. And our induction gala La Musa Awards, we’re going into our sixth annual gala, which will be October 18th in Miami at the James L. Knight Center. And so last year “Despasito” was our song of the year. Well, we’re just so thrilled for Erika Ender and for Luis Fonsi, dear friends of mine. And not since “Livin’ La Vida Loca” had there been a song that generated so much excitement about Latin music. It’s a trailblazer, it’s busting down the doors, and there’s a whole new surge of new artists and music. It’s a great new Latin Music Explosion. So I’m very excited about it. I’m half Cuban so I’m very proud of Latin people.
And, what’s next for you?
Desmond: I’m performing at Feinstein’s 54 Below. My first show in 38 years. It’s my return to New York. March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. 7:00 pm shows and it’s going to be a very intimate night where I’m going to do a retrospective of all my hits.