American Songwriter is proud to announce the new judges for our bi-monthly Amateur Lyric Contest. With industry veterans like Scott Billington, VP of A&R/Producer at Rounder Records and Lee Dannay, VP of A&R at Warner-Chappell Music, the judging pool is stacked. One Grand Prize winner will earn a co-writing session with Lee Brice, the country music hit maker behind the smash single “Woman Like You.”
Think you’ve got the goods? Enter the contest here, and meet our panel of judges below.
VP A&R, Warner-Chappell Music
Lee Dannay has over 20 years experience in the music industry, including 15 years at Sony Music, as an A&R executive for both Epic and Columbia Records. At Sony, Lee signed, developed and worked with a variety of artists including John Mayer, Shawn Mullins, Five For Fighting, Anna Nalick, General Public and Train, and worked on numerous soundtracks, catalog compiliations and event records. Lee is currently VP of A&R for Warner/Chappell Music, working with both heritage and developing artists and writers. Her diverse and celebrated roster includes Gary
Louris of the Jayhawks, Brandi Carlile, Iron and Wine, Oscar winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of The Swell Season and Claude Kelly.
VP A&R/Producer, Rounder Records
With over 100 albums to his credit, among them two Grammy winners, eleven Grammy nominees, and many other award winners, Rounder Records VP of A&R/record producer Scott Billington has also been active in the music industry as a writer, multi-media author, graphic designer and musician–as well as half of the remix duo, Tangle Eye. Among the artists he has produced are Charlie Rich, Solomon Burke, Irma Thomas, Ruth Brown, The Soul Rebels and Johnny Adams. Founder in 1970, Rounder’s artist roster (including subsidiary labels) currently includes Alison Krauss and Union Station, Gregg Alman, Robert Plant and Kathleen Edwards.
Recording Artist, Grammy-nominated Hit Songwriter
Dave Barnes is a singer and hit songwriter who has toured the country extensively for more than ten years. Since graduating for Middle Tennessee State University in 2000, Barnes has released five LP’s, two EP’s and one Christmas album, amassing a sizable and loyal fanbase (not to mention Vince Gill, Amy Grant and John Mayer, who writes on his blog: “Go where this guy is taking you. My man’s aim is true!”). His career was elevated to a new level when county artist Blake Shelton took his song “God Gave Me You” to No. 1 in 2011 and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. In addition to Shelton, Barnes’ songs have been recorded by Marc Broussard, Bebo Norman, Matt Wertz, Andrew Ripp, Billy Currington and others. Razor & Tie Entertainment released his latest album, Stories To Tell, in March 2012. In his downtime, Barnes enjoys listening to Steely Dan, Toto, The Clash and Phil Collins’ melodies via Invisible Touch-era Genesis.
Head of Creative Services, Songs Music Publishing
Prior to joining Songs, DeSavia was a partner/VP of Creative for the Los Angeles-based independent publishing company Notable Music. He came to Notable from a long career at ASCAP, where he served as SVP of Membership, heading up the PRO’s pop/rock staff, managing offices in LA, NYC and Chicago. Earlier in his career, DeSavia spent six years in the A&R department at Elektra Entertainment where he both signed and developed talent and worked on projects with many iconic artists on the label’s historic roster. DeSavia began his career as a music journalist for the trade magazine Cash Box, where he served as West Coast Editor. He currently serves on the west coast board of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, previously he served on the board of directors for both the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).
Editor-In-Chief, American Songwriter magazine
Caine O’Rear has written about music and the music business for nine years. He has served as editor-in-chief of American Songwriter since 2010. During his time at American Songwriter he has read tens of thousands of lyrics as a judge for the lyric contest. He believes the lyric contest encapsulates everything that is great about the American Dream.
Music Supervisor, 35Sound / Songwriter, Composer
Carter Little is a music supervisor and producer for 35Sound based in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. His recent screen credits include PBS’s documentary series Circus (2010) and Half the Sky (2012), Amnesty International’s 50th Anniversary Celebration (2011), General Motors’ Chevy100 (2011) and HBO’s Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2012 winner of the Berlin Film Festival). Together with his partner, G. Marq Roswell, Little most recently served as music supervisor on the forthcoming Universal Pictures & Quentin Tarantino Presents Man With the Iron Fists (2012), and is a producer on the soundtrack album which features the music of Kanye West, The Black Keys, Wiz Khalifa, Wu-Tang Clan and Mable John. He is a co-author of the encyclopedic My Country Roots (2007), a comprehensive compendium of 100 years of country music songwriting, which he wrote with Alice Randall and Courtney Little. Little chased the songwriting muse from New York City to Music City in 1999 and lived his first musical life as a writer and performer, both as a solo artist and as a member of critically-acclaimed alt-country faves, Saddlesong. In the rare down times from life now as a music supervisor and father, Little looks for any opportunity to do what he loves most: weaving inspiration, lyric and melody into a song.
Producer, Hit Songwriter
Marshall Altman began his music career in the mid 90′s, fronting the band Farmer, which was subsequently signed to Aware Records. After several US tours, Marshall found himself drawn more to developing and recording new artists than pursuing his own recording career, and after a series of recordings with Citizen Cope (that resulted in Citizen Cope signing to Capitol Records), Marshall seamlessly transitioned into A&R. Despite his successes inside the label system, he left Columbia Records to embark on a full time career as a writer/producer. In his first five years of producing, Altman has firmly established himself as one of very few writer/producers who can work across virtually all genres of music. Known for defining the emotional currency of the artists he has worked with, his producer credits include: Matt Nathanson, Marc Broussard, Elliot Yamin, Kate Voegele, William Fitzsimmons, Walker Hayes, Rosi Golan, Brooke Frasier, Adema, Matt Wertz, Trevor Hall, Caitlin Crosby, Kim Caldwell, Tom Morello and others.
Owner/Partner, Parallel Music
Upon graduation from Middle Tennessee State University and armed with a degree in Recording Industry Management, Tim started his own record label, Rhythm and Grooves Records. The label had strong initial success with a hit video on BET and a charted single on Billboard. Ultimately, Hunze sold his interest in the company. In 1993 he took at job as archive manger at Great Cumberland Music Group (later renamed to Hamstein Music). After a year as archive manager, Tim garnered his first cut with Giant Records artist, Clay Walker. This cut turned into his first single, which peaked at No. 14 on Billboard. Hunze was promoted to creative director in 1995 and procured cuts with artist such as Tim McGraw, George Strait, Diamond Rio, John Michael Montgomery, Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney. In 2000, Hamstein sold to Mosaic Music Group and then to Stage Three Music Group in 2005. Tim was appointed to General Manger, and under his tenure, Stage Three had more than 15 No. 1’s. In July 2010 Stage Three Music was sold to BMG Rights Management and in July 2011, Hunze started Parallel Music Publishing, a partnership with JP Williams and CT Wyatt of Parallel Entertainment. He currently has Thom McHugh, Brian Maher, Blake Bollinger and Blake Chaffin on his writing staff.
VP Membership, Pop/Rock, ASCAP
Sue Drew is the Vice President, Membership, Pop/Rock for ASCAP. Prior to joining ASCAP, she was an A&R person for nearly 20 years, having signed such artists as Phish, They Might Be Giants and Michelle Shocked. She has A&R’d records for Barenaked Ladies, Bette Midler, Shelby Lynne, Dave Koz, Peter Wolf and Taylor Dayne among others. She has been VP of A&R for Elektra, Chrysalis/EMI and Reprise. She also worked as an independent A&R consultant for various labels and artists.
Manager Special Projects, SESAC
With the company since 2006, Jocelyn Harms is responsible for facilitating all aspects of SESAC’s special events including awards events, music conferences and songwriter festivals. Harms is also involved in the planning and implementation of all of SESAC’s social media efforts as well as assisting in the website content management for the SESAC website. Harms is based in Nashville and is a member of the CMA, Americana Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Prior to joining SESAC, Harms held positions at Lotos Nile Media and Dualtone Records and has worked with such artists as Charlie Robison, Cowboy Jack Clement, Hayes Carll and Walt Wilkins.
Senior Director Writer/Publisher Relations, BMI
Bradley Collins was promoted in 2012 to BMI’s Senior Director Writer/Publisher Relations. His first music job was in the creative department of legendary Acuff-Rose, which later sold to Sony/ATV in 2003. Collins has been with BMI for a little over a decade working with writers and publishers. He’s always attending showcases, on the lookout for new songwriters and new ways to help them with their careers. Some of his favorite songwriters include Jamey Johnson, Scotty Emerick, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) and Casey Beathard. He’s a newlywed who enjoys making iTunes playlists, after many glorious years of making Maxcell mixtapes.
Creative Director, American Songspace
John Ritchie is the Creative Director of American Songspace, home to The American Songwriter Coffeehouse Tour contest, The “Country Cut” contest and “The Pub Deal” contest. His background includes work in music licensing, publishing, artist management and television writing.
Born and raised in South Florida, Ali was a student of music, singing and playing several instruments. At 14 she was discovered in Miami by Marty Cintron, famed lead vocalist for the hit group No Mercy. After producing her demo he introduced her to Grammy-winning producer Frank Farian, who signed her as an artist to his label, AME. All of her music was recorded analog and Ali was so fascinated with the process she went on to enroll in Audio Engineering School of Miami, graduating in 2009 with certification in Production and Audio Engineering.While recording in Miami, Ali met iconic producer Jim Jonsin who signed her as a singer-songwriter to Rebel Rock. She collaborated with Jim and Rico Love on Beyonce’s 2009 album I Am Sasha Fierce (“Save the Hero”). In 2010 Tamposi moved to Los Angeles to pursue a songwriting career full time. Since then she’s collaborated with producers John Shanks, Greg Wells, David Ryan Harris, Tricky Stewart, Rodney Jerkins, Pop & Oak, Fernando Garibay and Jorgen Elofssen, who signed Tamposi to his publishing company, Perfect Storm/SonyATV. She spent a majority of her time writing in LA and Sweden with Jorgen, which led to several key collaborations, most notably the No. 1 Kelly Clarkson smash, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”. Other artist collaborations include Christina Aguilera, Keith Urban, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Hillary Duff and many more. Ali resides in LA and feels blessed to have the opportunity to express herself through her music.