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Blues Legend Taj Mahal and Grammy Winner Rudy Pérez to Serve as NYU Steinhardt Artists-in-Residence

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The Grammy-winning musicians will work with students in workshops and performances during the 2022-23 academic year.

Two photos side by side. The left is Taj Mahal holding a ukulele, and the right is Rudy Pérez holding a guitar.

New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development announced today that singer-songwriter, film composer and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal will be the 2022-23 NYU/Americana Artist-in-Residence. In addition, Rudy Pérez will serve as the inaugural NYU/Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Artist-in-Residence, an appointment that launches a new partnership to enhance the appreciation of the history and cultural significance of Latin Music.

A towering figure in roots music, Mahal has won three Grammys, including Best Contemporary Blues Award for TajMo, his 2017 collaboration with Keb’ Mo’. He will engage with students and faculty in multiple courses and will discuss and demonstrate roots music at “71 Generations: The Griot and Pan-African Tradition” a campus-wide event. Mahal begins his residency October 18.

“I’m honored to take on this role,” Mahal said. “It’s a golden opportunity to work with the diverse NYU student body and to explore and spread the word about the roots music that’s at the heart of so much of what I do and who I am.”

Mahal follows Rosanne Cash, who in 2021-22 served as the inaugural Americana Artist-in-Residence, a partnership between Steinhardt and the Americana Music Association Foundation that spotlights the music’s heritage, preserves its legacy and ensures its future.

“We can think of no artist more worthy of this honor than Taj Mahal and we eagerly anticipate his work throughout our Department of Music & Performing Arts Professions and, specifically, in our Songwriting Program,” said Jack H. Knott, Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of NYU Steinhardt.

Pérez has worked on more than 300 songs that reached No. 1 or the Top Ten on the music charts and has written and produced for Beyoncé, Julio Iglesias, Christina Aguilera, Il Divo, Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, Luis Miguel, José Feliciano, Marc Anthony, Jon Secada, Cyndi Lauper, Luis Fonsi, Jaci Velasquez, and Sam Moore. He was ASCAP’s Songwriter of The Year five times, the first Latin record producer to win the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks Producer of the Year for four consecutive years, and the magazine’s Producer of the Decade for 2000-2010. In 2013,  Pérez co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame with Desmond Child. 

“I am touched and honored to assume this role,” Pérez said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with the remarkably diverse NYU student body and to spread the joy and power of Latin music.”

When his residency begins in early November, the Cuban-born Pérez will share his knowledge of songwriting and producing through lectures, discussions, performances and classroom visits. He will discuss Latin music’s history and impact during an in-depth conversation with Director of Songwriting Phil Galdston in an episode of his WORDS & MUSIC series. He will engage with students and faculty in a number of courses, including Songwriters Forum, Production For Songwriters, Production For Producers, Drums, and Rights, Revenue, & Relationships, all of which will be opened to the MPAP community.

“We’re thrilled to launch our partnership with the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame through this residency,” Knott said. “Rudy, Desmond – a Steinhard alum, I should note – and their colleagues have done a remarkable job of bringing well-deserved recognition to Latin music and its creators.”

“We are excited to contribute to that effort through the education of our students, faculty, and staff and the greater NYU community,” added Marilyn Nonken, Chair of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions.

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