Legislative Session: From left: Gregg Vickers, VP customer marketing, EMI North America; Congressman Lamar singer Smith; singer Shaila Durcal; Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; and Sergio Lopes, Sr. VP Capitol Latin, at an impromptu recording session at Miami's Hit Factory.
"Together we can stop online piracy - do it the right way and click to pay!"
The words were uttered in unison at a Miami recording studio booth by an unlikely duo: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic Congresswoman from South Florida and Lamar Smith, Republican Congressman from Texas. Both put party differences aside in their joint sponsorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), currently before Congress. As part of their work on the bill, Wasserman Schultz and Smith visited recording studio The Hit Factory in Miami to witness first-hand how a recording is made. There, they were walked through the intricacies of a recording session, with final artistry courtesy of Capitol Latin recording artist Shaila Durcal, who laid down vocals (with no auto tune) to a pre-recorded track.
"We wanted them to understand all the processes," said a low-key Durcal, who showed up with her manager as well as with Sergio Lopes, Capitol Latin's Senior VP and head of regional marketing for Latin America, and with Gregg Vickers, VP customer marketing, Emi North America. Also present were Rafael Fernandez, SVP, state public policy and industry relations for the RIAA helped set up the get-together, and Neil Crilly, senior executive director of the Florida Chapter of the Recording Academy.
"Obviously, for people who don't work in music, seeing someone so up close sing with so much passion is something very special," said Lopes. "And, without auto tune!"
Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz discusses music-making with Capitol Latin recording artist Shaila Durcal
"We've been able to quantify intellectual property and it costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year," said Smith, explaining why he was sponsoring the bill. "We want to have a healthy intellectual property economy and frankly protect your time and talent and make sure no one steals from you."
Following Durca's recording session, it was time for the lawmakers, who used their studio time to record a PSA supporting SOPA.
"Though we don't always agree on everything - one thing we can all agree on is that online piracy is a threat to our nation's economy and innovation," read Wasserman Schultz from her script. "And we must stop it."