Columbus Songwriters Association creates community for local artists
Columbus is a sweet spot for local musicians. While the music scene may not get the notoriety of Los Angeles or Nashville, one group is working to grow Columbus into a music city.
The Columbus Songwriters Association is an organization whose mission is to create a community and provide opportunities for local songwriters. Cofounders Derek Dupont and Joey Hendrickson, both songwriters and OSU alumni, have worked to turn their passion for music into a business that ultimately supports the entire Columbus music scene.
Members of CSA have the opportunity to take part in performances, events, panels and workshops to gain exposure and education, as well as increase their network within the music industry.
CSA began in the summer of 2012 as an idea that sparked around the campfire at Hendrickson’s parent’s home. “It had been a really inspiring summer,” Hendrickson said.
“[Derek and I] noticed all of these pockets in the music community. We wanted to bring people together to do something different. I thought if we could just bring [musicians] together into a pool, we could get so many more opportunities together than we could alone.”
The two pitched the idea to 20 songwriter friends and set up their first showcase performance at Mission Coffee Co. in October 2012. That night, all of the performers in attendance paid dues, becoming the first members of CSA.
“At that point we knew that we were on to something,” Hendrickson said. “We could tell that this was something that people really wanted.” CSA’s membership has grown from 20 songwriters to more than 150 over the past three and half years.
Notable members include Chris Jamison, a contestant on season seven of NBC’s “The Voice”; Chris Winter, who is currently opening for Brett Eldredge, and Kelly Zullo of Kelly Zullo & the Invisible Circus.
In addition to monthly showcase performances, CSA hosts a year-end finale showcase competition. At this performance, members have the opportunity to perform for publishers and producers, as well as other recognized members of the music industry.
This year, Barbara Cloyd of The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville who is a hit songwriter and songwriting coach, George Schwindt, the drummer of Flogging Molly and CEO of 26F Publishing in Los Angeles and Jerry DePizzo, a producer, songwriter and member of O.A.R., shared their expertise with the performing artists.
The winner of the 2015 Finale Showcase was 13-year-old Maya Mougey. Whatever you are seeking as an independent artist, Dupont said CSA can cater to your interests and desires.
“You can get as much out of (CSA) or as little out of it as you want,” Dupont said. “You can join and grow a huge network. You can join and have educational and performance opportunities. It’s a very personal organization. We love to talk to members and find out what they want to do so we can link them up with the right route to get to that specific dream.”
Those dreams, Dupont said, can very well be made possible locally.
“(Columbus) is very accessible,” Dupont said. “It’s an amazing place to make a name for yourself.”
CSA supports not only local songwriters but also the city from which they reign.
“Local music is valuable,” Hendrickson said. “It’s not only valuable socially and culturally, but (artists) can make money doing it. Businesses can make money supporting local musicians. The city can grow by supporting its local music community. Local music goes well with everything.”
For more information on becoming a member of the Columbus Songwriters Association, visit http://columbussongwritersassociation.com.