Songwriter Groups – What’s in it for Me?

By Barbara McMillen


I was sitting next to DSA member Tom Douglas when he pitched his songs to Paul Worley at a songwriting seminar. Tom’s songwriting career took off when Collin Ray recorded his song “Little Rock” which was on the cassette tape that Paul took back to Nashville.  (Yes, this was a few years ago when we actually pitched songs to publishers in person.) Tom has since won a Song of the Year Grammy for “The House That Built Me,” recorded by Miranda Lambert.

I watched DSA member and former President, Ron Grimes, approach a very young LeAnn Rhimes at a DSA monthly meeting where she came looking for songs for her first album. Co-writing with LeAnn, Ron got his first cut on her first album. They still remain close friends.

I encouraged DSA Member Rory Lee Feek (“Some Beach” recorded by Blake Sheldon) to showcase at the Dallas Songwriters Seminar where he made important industry contacts that led to a staff writing deal at Harlan Howard Music. He’s still writing in Nashville, had his own reality show about his farm just outside of Nashville, and was half of the duo Joey + Rory.

Amber Dotson, a demo singer for many DSA members and a member herself also showcased at one of the seminars. Amber was a Capitol recording artist in Nashville for a time.  And the list goes on. No doubt songwriters are connected to music industry contacts through events held by songwriter groups. Networking is a key to success in any business and co-writing can get you a step up in the business songwriting.

Moreover, songwriting groups prepare songwriters for that pivotal moment through encouragement, and educa-

tion. These groups work hard to bring in the best teachers of the craft for workshops, and offer song critiques in a

supportive environment, preparing you for the cruel world of the Simon Cowells. They give you key industry people to explain the business of songwriting and entertainment attorneys to explain the contract jargon.

They also offer performing songwriters supportive venues to hone your performance skills and try out your new songs. Furthermore, Your group will act as an advocate for your profession and rights. This is so important during these times when copyright values are being challenged. Together we stand, divided we fall.

In closing, Songwriter Groups consist of folks like you from all levels of competency who are committed to protecting the rights and future of the profession of songwriting, and to educate, elevate, and celebrate the songwriter and to act as a unifying force within the music community and the community at large. If you are not already a member of one, you are missing out on a big boost in your career and the chance to know other weirdos like you. Join one today!

The Dallas Songwriters is a non-profit 501 C3 organization dedicated to providing information about the craft and business of songwriting. All styles of music are welcome in the DSA, and membership includes writers of all ages. DSA’s monthly activities include meetings with guest speakers, song critiques, and performance showcases that are open to the public. In addition, the DSA supports and promotes workshops and contests and publishes a monthly newsletter.

Join. Learn. Collaborate.  Grow.

Our Founder, Barbara McMillen

Founding President Emeritus, Newsletter Editor, Administration & Song Contest Director Barbe founded the DSA in 1987

After running the group for several years as part of the now-defunct Texas Music Association. Currently a working Music Therapist, performer, and Associate Professor of Songwriting and Music Business at Collin College, Barbe is caring for the administrative duties and editing a newsletter for DSA. She is a member of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy. She has produced a number of albums for other artists and her own.

Her songwriting spans the genres of Rock, Pop, R&B to Americana. Her rock musical, Give Me A Break, has been performed in the metroplex and off-Broadway.

Barbara MCMillen

Singer,  Songwriter,  Teacher, and Musician Community Activist.