Top songwriters will teach how it's done


POSTED: Friday, July 03, 2009

Hawaii-based songwriters will have a rare opportunity next week to learn from some of the best and brightest in both the local and mainstream music industries.

Honolulu Community College's Music and Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) Program will host its first songwriters workshop from July 10 through July 12 at the HCC campus. The event aims to connect award-winning songwriters with local music professionals and future generations of Hawaii-based artists.

“;The third tier we're trying to develop is the creative side,”; said Eric Lagrimas, instructor of music business at HCC and the first faculty member hired to be a part of the MELE program when it launched in 2007. “;A lot of people write songs and don't really understand the structure behind it.”;

Created with a combination of grant money, state funds and private donations, the MELE program started with classes in audio engineering and a general overview of the music industry. When school resumes in the fall, approximately 80 to 90 students will study the process surrounding the development, recording, production and marketing of a hit song.

“;I think the talent level is there,”; Lagrimas said. “;It's just a matter of providing the real-world guidance and developing partnerships within the music community.”;

ONE PERSON who will provide real-world guidance next weekend is Mountain Apple Co. CEO Jon de Mello.

According to the 13-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, the timing is right for a workshop of this caliber. He'll be joined by mainland-based songwriters Andy Dodd, Dennis Matkosky, Kristal Oliver and Adam Watts, along with three-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award recipient Craig Wiseman and local songwriters Noland Conjugacion, Puakea Nogelmeier and Manu Boyd.

“;We're dealing with a world market now,”; said de Mello. “;And we have more per-capita songwriters and singers and music people than any other state in the union.”;

While the emphasis will be on the songwriting process, participants will also receive advice on other aspects of the music business throughout the workshop. For de Mello, next weekend's $150 price tag is extremely reasonable for those serious about taking the next step with their musical careers.

“;There are some big concepts and big picture (topics) that are going to be presented,”; he said. “;At the end of the three-day period, they're gonna get a big lump sum of how to do it, from the writing all the way up to the marketing and the selling.

“;It's product development ... (and) it's going to be worth it.”;

Along with the workshop, participants will be invited to take part in “;Harbor Lights: The Songwriters Sing Concert”; at Aloha Tower Marketplace. They will also be able to take part in a private showcase and individual song critique sessions.

“;We seem to be getting the complete demographic,”; said de Mello of the artists who have signed up so far. “;We're seeing young kids from school all the way up to industry veterans. ... We (even) have a few heavyweights with five or six albums out, but they're still curious about the right way to structure a song.”;





        » Where: Honolulu Community College, 874 Dillingham Blvd.

» When: July 10 through July 12


» Cost: $150


» Info: 844-2344 or hsblinks.com/eu





        » Where: The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace

» When: 6:45 to 9 p.m. July 10


» Cost: $20


» Call: 528-5700