Congrats to ASCAP Writers Eliza Spear, Lindsay Gitter and Rachael Williams for the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award

August 24, 2020

The ASCAP Foundation is pleased to announce that ASCAP members Eliza Spear, Lindsay Gitter and Rachael Williams were awarded the 2020 ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award for their original song “If I Don’t Try.” The song, which received the highest votes from a panel of judges, is a commentary on the fight for justice.

Eliza Spear is a Los Angeles-based artist. She wrote her first song about her dog at the age of 13, and through walking into venues and telling them why they should let her perform, she booked her first gigs. Eliza’s successful first EP offered her an invitation to the iHeartRadio offices in New York. She was later asked to perform at the ASCAP EXPO in Los Angeles, where she was featured as part of the She Rocks Showcase. Her style has been compared to Joni Mitchell’s, and her writing creates an alternative Americana sound that feels just as classic as it does new.

Lindsay Danielle Gitter was born and raised in Los Angeles to a family of talented singers and artists. She began her journey as a songwriter in New York where she was studying to become an actor. As a final school project, she decided to write a musical. She never looked back and has been writing songs across various genres ever since. Lindsay is a graduate of NYU Tisch School for the Arts and has starred in numerous musicals and plays, including an Off-Broadway musical at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre.

Rachael Chloe Williams, born and raised in Pacific Grove, California, has been singing since she could coo and writing since she could grip a pen. A classically-trained soprano, Rachael made her way through her heart-land of musical theatre and dove into the world of bands. A natural collaborator, Rachael loves nothing more than to bring her muses into rooms to dance with other creatives and innovators. This is especially true of her co-writing partnerships with Eliza Spear and Lindsay Gitter.

Jay Gorney
Jay Gorney

Eliza, Rachael and Lindsay met through the mentorship and guidance of long-time music publisher, Judy Stakee. The three bonded over a deep yearning to tell stories that mattered. Eliza approached both Lindsay and Rachael after writing the first version “If I Don’t Try.” She wanted the writers she trusted the most to assist in writing this track as she knew that a song of this topic needed to both be genuine and to motivate listeners to continue in the fight for justice. Before arriving at the finalized version of this song, almost every lyric was rewritten about 10 times. Spear would call Gitter and Williams repeatedly throughout the span of two weeks to discuss the minute details of each word she had chosen.   

The ASCAP Foundation Jay Gorney Award was established by Gorney’s late wife, Sondra, and his son, Dr. Roderic Gorney. In the spirit of Jay’s song, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” which he wrote with lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, this award is presented for an original song based on its message of social conscience or social significance as well as overall craft, artistry and compositional elements.

Listen to the award-winning song, “If I Don’t Try” below.