During my journey as a songwriter I have had the friendship and support of a number of individuals and organizations. I have found that there are so many people who are willing to share their expertise and advice if you show a sincere interest in learning. You want to be part of the best artistic community possible, and I've found that it's good kharma to promote good and talented people. So here are the links of some of the friends I've met along the way:
I first met Victoria Shaw at SESAC when she graciously consented to be interviewed by Tom Murphy and I for our radio show "The Songwriters." Currently she is the Adopt A Shop pro for the Long Island NSAI workshop for which I'm co-coordinator. Victoria is wonderful songwriter who is also a successful producer (she oversaw the first Lady Antebellum album.) She wrote "The River" with Garth Brooks and opened for Garth in front of 300,000 people for his historic concert in Central Park. Victoria, a native New Yorker, hosts the successful "Under The Covers" songwriter's series at Birdland in New York City and has brought some wonderful songwriters on stage with her in Manhattan.
Bill Maier Is a talented songwriter in Nashville who was the co-coordinator with me for the Long Island NSAI workshop when he lived on the Island. We just completed a new song entitled "Lifetime Of Love" so Bill will be moving over to the co-writer section shortly.
You can check out his website to purchase his excellent CD's at TenGallonFat.com
NSAI is connected to most of the good things that have happened to me as a songwriter. NSAI was created by a group of songwriters including Kris Kristofferson who were concerned that the songwriters were not listed on records. Today they have evolved into a not for profit organization that supports songwriters' rights as well as running an extensive education programs as well as the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. I've been a coordinator for NSAI running the Long Island workshop for 16 years.
Beth Fichet Wood is a talented songwriter who for years has run a wonderful writer's night in Laguna Beach along with her husband Steve. Steve Wood was Kenny Loggins' music director and currently scores a number of IMAX films, including one on which he partnered with the Dave Matthew's Band. It's a pleasure to be part of the creative and diverse songwriting community that they have pulled together during the months that we are staying in Southern California.
I met Katrina Lenk when I was running songwriter's nights in LA for Dramatico. We got together a few weeks later at ASCAP LA to write. We had a great, heartfelt session and hopefully someday we'll finish our song (it's an Edith Piaf influenced song that relates a woman's internal monologue about her fears of commitment at the moment she and her lover are taking the plunge and moving in together.) For now Katrina's life is full and exciting as she has moved to New York and is appearing on Broadway in the hit musical "Once" following a stint as Arachne in "Spiderman-Turn Off The Dark." She is currently performing in a new play, "Indecent" at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City. Katrina and the ensemble have gotten rave reviews and the run has been extended to mid June. Her photo is featured on the poster.She's an incredible talent who lights up the stage and I'm thrilled for her well earned success!
Shane Adams was the first NSAI Adopt A Shop Pro for the Long Island NSAI workshop and he and I have been friends for the past 15 years. Shane teaches songwriting online at the Berklee School of Music as well as working with writers in Nashville and throughout the country. The past TWO years, Shane has been honored with Grammy nominations as a music educator.
I had breakfast with Shane last year the morning after he heard the announcement of his first nomination, and it was a pleasure to share his excitement on a beautiful sunny morning. We met again this year at the Phunky Griddle and caught up earlier this month. Among other projects, Shane is the songwriter in charge of education at the Music and Words program based at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. He is currently scoring an independent film in Nashville.
Though I started off as a SESAC writer and still have a SESAC publishing company (Sound Road Music) I am currently affiliated with ASCAP both as a writer and a publisher (Sound Avenue Music.) In Nashville I have received great support from Michael Martin who is the Senior Creative Director in the Nashville office, and from Michael Kerker in New York and LA who is ASCAP's Director of Musical Theatre and runs the amazing ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop hosted by Stephen Schwartz. Both Michael Martin and Michael Kerker represent the best of the music industry; both are passionate about their fields and work tirelessly supporting and promoting writers, and both are incredibly decent and honest.
Gary Burr is one of my favorite songwriters. When Tom and I were doing interviews for our radio show, "The Songwriters", Gary generously invited us into his home in Nashville to tape an interview. His combination of talent and wit make his live shows a pleasure, and it's now possible for New Yorkers to see this for themselves because Gary and his wife, the talented Georgia Middleman, have launched a new songwriter's series at the Cutting Room in Manhattan. Gary has toured and written with Carole King and Ringo Star and he and Georgia have formed a group, the Blue Sky Riders, along with Kenny Loggins. I highly recommend checking out Gary's website and listening to his marvelous CD's. I participated in Gary's first Master Class in Nashville last April with Georgia, Don Schlitz and Mike Reid.
Song U was the creation of two Nashville Songwriters, Sara Light and Danny Arena. I knew Sara and Danny from my early days in NSAI, They were two of the songwriters with original songs in "Urban Cowboy," Shortly after "Urban Cowboy" Danny and Sara created an online songwriter's university, and it's now been going strong for 10 years. Along with NSAI, Song U provides a connection to the Nashville songwriting community for writers throughout the country and beyond.
I owe so much to Hugh Prestwood. I took his class on songwriting at the New School in the early 90's during which Hugh shared everything about his writing process. It was an exciting time because at the first class he had just received the track of "The Song Remembers When" which went on to become one of the most iconic and admired songs in contemporary Country music. Hugh pointed the way for me to Nashvile and NSAI, and he generously sat down for the first interview for our radio show. It was Hugh's name that gave us the credibility to interview so many other great writers in Nashville. Over the years Hugh has taught in countless song camps in Nashville and donated his time in support of NSAI. One of my highlights was playing in the round with Hugh at a songwriter's night promoted and organized by Stella Davie.
Steve Seskin is one of the best songwriting teachers that I know, and I have attend a number of his workshops in Nashville, New York and even California. He has the extraordinary ability to take you through his writing process, citing examples of multiple revisions that he made to his own songs to illustrate how he hones his songs. That's why I was thrilled when he came to Long Island and taught a two evening workshop for us that was jointly sponsored by Five Towns College and NSAI. Steve was brilliant, as usual, those two nights and really cemented the relationship between LI NSAI and Five Towns that has since flourished. As a songwriter, Steve is a master storyteller, and his CD's are filled with astounding songs, many of them major hits. A couple of years ago Steve created an online songwriting curriculum which can be accessed from his website.
Korby Lenker is a wonderful songwriter from Nashville who I met in New York City at one of the Dramatico writer's nights that I was hosting. Years ago he won the song contest at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival and recently he was chosen as a finalist in the New Song contest and performed at Lincoln Center. I think that Korby has one of the best websites which I urge you to check out at korbylenker.com.