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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Songwriter gives harmonic advice to musicians

Mary Dawson addresses South students on business strategies such as how to succeed in the music industry and etiquette. 

Photo by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Mary Dawson addresses South students on business strategies such as how to succeed in the music industry and etiquette. Photo by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Mary Dawson addresses South students on business strategies such as how to succeed in the music industry and etiquette.  Photo by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
Mary Dawson addresses South students on business strategies such as how to succeed in the music industry and etiquette.
Photo by Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

By Martin Paredes/south news editor

A songwriter and author stressed pursuing excellence, maintaining a work ethic and establishing credibility among other things during the inaugural Student Songwriters Club meeting Jan. 27 on South Campus.

Mary Dawson, who wrote How to Get Somewhere in the Music Business from Nowhere with Nothing, educated and advised students on the music industry as a whole as well as the do’s and don’ts for up-and-coming musicians.

“Things are happening in Texas that are just stunning,” Dawson said. “Personally, I’ve believed this for many years, that this is going to be the next big boom in music right here.”

Dawson, who is also president of the GQK Music Group of Dallas, expressed her admiration for songwriters’ organizations.

“I think this is really the beginning of something great,” she said. “When songwriters find each other, stuff just happens. It’s just kind of magic. The vibe is in the air, and you never know what’s going to come next.”

William Brown, a South psychology assistant professor and the faculty advisor of the association, also talked about the impact an organization can have.

“There’s a lot of opportunities that kind of come to you by virtue of being a group and an organization,” he said. “A lot of times songwriters have difficulties having their songs demoed. We have the resources around various campuses to have that done. As an organization, you can ask and make arrangements to get your songs demoed. You can’t do that as an individual.”

Dawson was also adamant that to be successful, an understanding of what and why something else is successful is necessary.

“Have your radio set on every kind of genre of music — country, classical, pop — and then study the songs that are No. 1 on the top 10 of that particular genre and try and figure out why people are buying those things,” she said.

Packing everything up and going for broke in a major music market is an all-too-common mistake, Dawson said.

“People say you should move to Nashville or move to LA or move to New York depending on what kind of music you were writing,” she said. “Well, think about it. You move to one of those places, leave your friends and family, get a job at IHOP where you’re just one more songwriter in the huge fishpond of songwriters, but nobody knows who you are.”

Dawson suggested growing locally and flat-out working hard as more effective ways to find success as an artist.

“The most credibility that you can gain is right here in Tarrant County, where you live right now, in your hometown,” she said.

Dawson explained that people did not want to necessarily hire the most gifted, but rather, “they are looking for the ones that are the most determined to succeed and be excellent at what they do.”

Club vice president Jason Feingold said he enjoyed her discussions.

“It brought an introspective view from creative and business aspects,” he said.

Feingold said there were advantages of bringing songwriters together.

“It will bring like-minded people with the same interests together. Furthermore, it could open the door for collaborations and the external input, which so often writers and artists need,” he said.

Student Christopher Thompson liked the concept of a songwriters club.

“I think the TCC student songwriters association shows potential for being a great resource for TCC students who write songs or who are involved in making music in general, and I think it can help my music reach a larger audience,” he said.

Brown is “pretty sure” that the next meeting will be held the third week of February.

“Given how difficult it was for some students to make it to this past meeting, we will likely meet at a different time,” he said.

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