DTSP Songwriters Festival Artist, Jeff Cohen talks about his songwriting process and what makes a Songwriter Festival so special.
Get another sneak peak of the DTSP Songwriters Festival with a FREE special happy hour performance on Saturday, July 20th at The Galley, 27 4th Street N. in St. Petersburg. Join us from 5 til 7 for an acoustic performance from Jeff Cohen plus giveaways and Funky Buddah Floridian drafts for only $5!
DTSP Songwriters Festival artist Jann Klose shared his thoughts about his songwriting process while walking through the streets of Downtown St. Petersburg.
Get a sneak peak of the DTSP Songwriter Festival with a special happy hour performance on Friday, June 28th at Ringside Cafe, on Second St. N in downtown St. Pete. Join us from 7 til 9 for an acoustic performance from Jann plus giveaways and Funky Buddah Floridian pints for only six-fifty!
by Karen Steinke
Saveyon’s little fingers thrash clumsily across the strings of the acoustic guitar, and he quickly looks up to songwriter Tim James to see if it’s OK.
“Keep going, you got it.” Another little boy, hearing music or something close to it, dances over with a big grin and feet flying in all directions. A few tiny hands in the back drop their crayons as curious faces look up from their craft table.
It’s about to start.
You don’t often find an award-winning songwriter enjoying the company of a group of toddlers and adolescent patients at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, but here he is, looking around for a moment wondering what he has gotten himself into.
James, who has written hit songs for country artists including George Strait, Trace Adkins and Billy Ray Cyrus, is in town from Nashville to promote the first Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival Nov. 1-3, which will benefit the Johns Hopkins All Children’s music therapy program.
Maybe that’s why he showed up to play a few of his songs for the kids, and invent a few new ones along the way, all while broadcasting into patient rooms for those too ill to make the elevator ride to the auditorium.
The kids who do show up are loving it, giggling every time James sings one of their names. But when he asks them to come up on the makeshift stage created in the Children’s Auditorium for this special event, they suddenly get shy.
“Me and Saveyon gonna sing this song …” James starts with a glance over to Saveyon, 10, who immediately buries his face in his arm and shakes his head, giggling. “If he don’t speed up, it’ll take too long …’cause I got to catch a plane tonight, got to get home to see my kids.” Saveyon sneaks a peek through an open elbow to see if the song is still about him but looks away quickly as soon as he’s spotted.
“We are just making it up as we go,” James says. “I’m just trying to make it fun, and get the kids comfortable with singing and even writing a few lines.”
James may not know it, but events like this are key for sick children—especially those like Saveyon who is inpatient long term for chemotherapy to treat his leukemia. It typically takes three years from start to finish. Events like this singalong offering a few moments of fun and normalization are shown to improve psychological and social health for frightened or stressed children.
But no need to worry about that now. James just started a new singalong.
“The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round….”
It’s a little young for him, but Saveyon can’t help but sing along.
Three-day music festival, presented by Funky Buddha Brewery, will bring more than 35 BMI songwriters to venues throughout Downtown St. Pete
Tampa, Fla. (May 30, 2019) - It’s an invitation to experience the stories behind the music that we love. This November, Cox Media Group and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) will partner to host the first-ever Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival (DTSP Songwriters Festival) presented by Funky Buddha Brewery. The three-day festival will be held November 1-3, 2019 and will feature some of BMI’s most promising up-and-coming songwriters and hitmakers in intimate live music settings at more than ten venues throughout Downtown St. Petersburg, a fitting location given St. Pete’s vibrant arts and cultural scene.
The announcement was made at a press conference detailing the event earlier today at St. Petersburg’s Duke Energy Center for the Arts/Mahaffey Theater. It featured a rousing endorsement by Mayor Rick Kriseman and a special performance by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Tim James. Thanks to the combined efforts of Cox Media Group and BMI, the event will allow more than 35 artists to share their songs and the stories behind them in acoustic storyteller-like sets. Performances will also be held simultaneously allowing fans to easily flow between artist experiences and venues.
“BMI is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group for the Downtown St. Petersburg Songwriters Festival,” said Dan Spears, Vice President of Industry Relations at BMI. “This festival is about bringing people together through music while highlighting the great bars and restaurants that St. Petersburg has to offer. It also gives our talented songwriters a platform to perform and share the stories behind some of their biggest hits while stimulating the local economy and giving back to the BMI-licensed venues who support them. We’re looking forward to three days of great music!”
“St. Petersburg’s fun, funky and eclectic vibe make it a natural home for America’s next great songwriters festival,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “When combined with the city’s art and culture scene, and scenic beaches just a short drive away, the DTSP Songwriters festival is bound to become a destination for visiting fans and locals alike.”
The DTSP Songwriters Festival is largely free to the public to attend, with the exception of a few select shows that will feature headlining artists. Singer-songwriters will be announced and added to the event lineup each month leading into the Festival and a portion of the proceeds from headlining events will benefit the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Music Therapy Department.
“Creating experiences that connect fans and artists is at the heart of what we do at CMG,” added Dan Connelly, CMG Director of Special Events. “The DTSP Songwriters Festival represents a tremendous opportunity to establish St. Petersburg’s next heritage event while also impacting an organization that is using music to empower children undergoing medical treatment in our community.”
In conjunction with the announcement of the DTSP Songwriters Festival, Cox Media Group will launch Songwriter Radio on the 107.3 HD-2 channel. This station will showcase music from participating event singer-songwriters, featured interviews from songwriters detailing their craft, as well as segments highlighting festival venues and the invaluable contributions being made by the music therapy department at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
ABOUT COX MEDIA GROUP
Cox Media Group (CMG) is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company. The company’s operations include broadcast television stations, radio stations, daily newspapers and non-daily publications. Additionally, Cox Media Group operates the National Advertising Platform businesses of CoxReps, Gamut and Videa; and offers a full suite of local and regional advertising services through its Local Solutions and Ideabar businesses. For more information about Cox Media Group, please visit www.coxmediagroup.com.
Celebrating over 78 years of service to songwriters, composers, music publishers and businesses, Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) is a global leader in music rights management, serving as an advocate for the value of music. BMI represents the public performance rights in 14 million musical works created and owned by more than 900,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers. The Company negotiates music license agreements and distributes the fees it generates as royalties to its affiliated writers and publishers when their songs are performed in public. In 1939, BMI created a groundbreaking open-door policy becoming the only performing rights organization to welcome and represent the creators of blues, jazz, country, and American roots music. Today, the musical compositions in BMI’s repertoire, from chart toppers to perennial favorites, span all genres of music and are consistently among the most-performed hits of the year. For additional information and the latest BMI news, visit bmi.com, follow us on Twitter @BMI or stay connected through Broadcast Music, Inc.‘s Facebook page. Sign up for BMI’s The Weekly™ and receive our e-newsletter every week to stay up to date on all things music.
ABOUT TIM JAMES
Grammy Award-winning songwriter Tim James is the co-writer of the five-week #1 “My List” by Toby Keith, the Bucky Covington Top 10 “It’s Good To Be Us”, and the smash debut from the Lost Trailers “Holler Back”. James has had over 50 major label cuts by artists such as Alabama, Darius Rucker, Craig Morgan, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, LeeAnn Womack, Joe Nichols, Buddy Jewel, Josh Turner and contemporary Christian artist Point of Grace. James penned the Trace Adkins single “All I Ask For Anymore”, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song of 2009, and the 2010 Billboard song of the year and #1 “Love Like Crazy”, by Lee Brice. “Love Like Crazy” was nominated for ACM Song of the Year in 2010 and broke a record for consecutive weeks on the charts. James also wrote the Rodney Atkins single “He’s Mine”, the George Strait #1 single “Give It All We’ve Got Tonight”, and the title track and single from the Darius Rucker album “Southern Style”. James also penned the single, “Either Way”, from the Grammy-winning Chris Stapleton album entitled “From A Room, Volume 1”.