Eurythmics co-founder and producer Dave Stewart and The Voice executive producer Audrey Morrissey told Deadline that they’re glad they cleared up the legal issues around Songland after scoring an 11-episode order.
The show had a long and slightly bumpy road to the screen. They originally made a sizzle back in 2015 with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder but a year later, when it was in the casting stage, the project came under intense scrutiny after an intellectual property attorney posted a warning about the onerous contract applicants were asked to sign giving up copyright on any submitted song.
Stewart told Deadline, “The typical thing that everyone signs before they come on a TV show is a release but a lawyer thought we were releasing the song and giving it away.”
Morrissey, added, “It was a casting questionnaire. The language was broad enough for people to misinterpret. I’m glad it happened at the beginning because we could refine it.”
Songland, produced by Universal Alternative Television Studio, aims at giving talented up-and-coming songwriters the opportunity to collaborate with three music producers per episode who are responsible for today’s biggest hits.
Stewart thinks it’s a different spin to shows like The Voice or The X Factor. “The people who come on the show, I guarantee are much more likely to have a career as a songwriter than any other music show. You have an empathy immediately with these people, rather than they come on and sing ‘I Will Always Love You’,” he added.
In each episode five songwriters will perform their original tracks in front of three top music producers and a major recording artist on an intimate soundstage. The first episode features three-time Grammy nominee Charlie Puth as the recording artist along with a panel of producer-songwriters that includes Grammy winner Tedder, singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter Ester Dean and Grammy-winning country singer-songwriter Shane McAnally.
Each song’s lyrics, arrangements, beats, melody and story will be considered by the panel as producers discuss ways to creatively adapt them to better fit the style and sensibility of the recording artist of the week. After the performances, the recording artist will choose three songwriters to move forward to the studio and pair them each with the producer best suited to perfect their song. In the studio, the songs will take shape as the songwriter and producer duos work together to win over the recording artist. In the end, a winner will be chosen and their song will be recorded and released as the top artist’s next single.
Songland is produced by Live Animals in association with Universal Television Alternative Studio, Dave Stewart Entertainment and 222 Productions. The concept was devised by Stewart, Morrissey and Dudynsky. Stewart, Morrissey, Levine and Dudynsky executive produce. Josh Gummersall will serve as producer along with Ryan Tedder who is repped by Ron Laffitte, Dana Salant for Patriot Management.