Blues titan Taj Mahal has been named as the 2022-23 NYU/Americana Artist-in-Residence at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Rudy Pérez will serve as the inaugural NYU/Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame Artist-in-Residence. The latter appointment launches a new partnership to enhance the appreciation of the history and cultural significance of Latin Music.
Three-time Grammy-winner Mahal will begin his residency on October 18, engaging with students and faculty in multiple courses and discussing and demonstrating roots music at the campus-wide 71 Generations: The Griot and Pan-African Tradition event. He follows Rosanne Cash, who was the inaugural Americana Artist-in-Residence for 2021-22. Mahal won his latest Grammy in 2018 for Best Contemporary Blues Album for TajMo, his collaboration with Keb’ Mo’.
The school, founded in 1890, prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media, and psychology. “I’m honored to take on this role,” says Mahal. “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.”
Jack H. Knott, Gale and Ira Drukier dean of NYU Steinhardt, says: “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.”
Pérez, who has worked on more than 300 songs that reached No.1 or the Top Ten, has writing and/or production credits with 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’s been ASCAP’s Songwriter of The Year five times, was the first Latin producer to win Billboard‘s Hot Latin Tracks Producer of the Year for four consecutive years, and the magazine’s Producer of the Decade for 2000-2010. Pérez co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame with Desmond Child in 2013.
“I am touched and honored to assume this role,” said Pérez, who takes up his new role in early November. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with the remarkably diverse NYU student body and to spread the joy and power of Latin music.” He will share his songwriting and producing expertise via lectures, discussions, performances, and classroom visits.
Buy TajMo on vinyl, with a digital download, at the Taj Mahal store.