Austin-based songwriter exchange program House of Songs will soon make it’s national PBS debut on Oct. 31 when KLRU-TV’s “Arts in Context” takes a closer look at the program.
The House of Songs was founded in 2009 by musician and producer Troy Campbell as a year-long project meant to bring together international and American songwriters to bridge cultures and for the musical joy of collaboration.
The project became successful and began expanding to include artists from all over the world. Songwriters stay for two weeks, giving them the opportunity to step outside of their box and learn valuable lessons from the Austin music scene.
“This is a global handshake,” Campbell said. “By bringing people from different cultures together to share creative ideas, we cultivate greater understanding and ultimately help Austin export creative talent by building bridges with other creative centers around the world.”
With financial assistance from the Danish Society for Jazz, Rock and Folk Composers DJBFA, and DPA, an association of composers and lyricists, Campbell rented a house in south Austin and furnished it with instruments.
Support for the organization has come from across the globe. Austin-area artists have written with songwriters from Australia, Japan and Africa, among other places around the world. Austin artists have also participated in creating Northern European hits because of this program, which has allowed them to tour and generate income and exposure.
You can find a list of artists online that have been a part of the program and listen to collaborations born from the House of Songs. Several artists also participated in a House of Songs camp at a 16th century Danish castle, while other countries, like Canada, are now offering funding for reciprocal participation. Countries from around the globe are now seeking information about starting similar exchange programs.
The House of Songs is branching out into other creative endeavors, including a nonprofit to help the city of Austin share the work of its local artists and connect with other creative centers globally. Most recently, The House of Songs partnered with the I’ll Fly Away Foundation, based in Bentonville, Ark., and brought in artists from Australia to complete a few “lost” songs by songwriter Albert E. Brumley, who penned the popular “I’ll Fly Away.”
KLRU-TV’s “Arts In Context” is a series that explores the life and living conditions of an artist and the process of creation through collaboration. The series hopes to incite curiosity and inspire people to learn more about the arts. For anyone interested in contributing, The House of Songs accepts donations to help the program continue to thrive. Anyone interested in getting involved can find more information here.