DENTON, Texas (UNT) – A Radio, Television & Film senior who has been playing guitar since she was 11 recently took first place in the UNT Fine Arts Series 12th annual Songwriter’s Competition, receiving an invitation to the legendary Kerrville Folk Festival that hosts more than 100 songwriters over 18 days in May and June.
Ellie Meyer, from Colleyville, has been writing songs ever since she learned to play guitar and says that doing so helps foster a sense of unity and rapport with others.
“You never know how something you write will affect others – you may connect with someone you’ve never met,” said Meyer recalling how she played at a high school talent show and a father who had recently lost his son told her that her song spoke to him. “Something I write for myself, it may end up connecting with other people.”
Of the two songs she wrote and performed for the 12th annual Songwriter’s Competition, Meyer said she likes “Never Gonna Let You Go” the best. The song is faster and fun – like her music-writing style, which usually starts with Meyer playing a bit on guitar, beat boxing, then adding more to the music.
Although songwriting and playing is a hobby right now, Meyer hopes to one day write and perform for herself or others and use her music abilities in her career.
In addition to winning the invitation to perform on the Campus Songwriter Stage during the first weekend of the Kerrville festival, Meyer won $500 and an invitation to play in Dallas at the Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse Series.
Second place winner: Jordan Burchill, senior, from Fort Worth
Burchill, a jazz guitar major, started writing songs his freshman year of high school as he was going through a tough time without many friends. Although he writes songs in several genres, including instrumental jazz, his passion is writing folky, story songs.
“Songwriting and performing are very important to me because it’s how I make a living,” said Burchill, a freelance musician. “This music thing is my life and my love. I know I will be writing and singing songs and playing guitar for the rest of my life.”
Though it can be difficult at times – it takes a lot of practice and working on songs until he’s found a “good” one – Burchill feels grateful for the hard work he’s achieved through songwriting.
Up next for Burchill is a show at Hailey’s in Denton on May 25. More information on his upcoming performances and music can be found at Facebook.com/jordanburchillmusic.
For his second place win, Burchill received $250 in the 12th annual Songwriter’s Competition.
Third place winner: Kelsey Henry, sophomore, from Denton
Henry, a digital retailing major, learned to play guitar while on the road. No, she wasn’t on tour with a band – her family had picked up and decided to live in an RV for a few years. She was homeschooled – or, roadschooled – and along the way, a man in California taught her how to play.
Although she said she wrote “some bad songs at first,” Henry is now combining her music skills with her digital retailing skills to highlight her best pieces. Seven of her early songs are available on Amazon.com, CDBaby.com and iTunes.
Henry, who said she wants to include music in her life, preferably as a career, has worked with DentonRadio.com and has profiles on Facebook.com/KelseyHenryMusic and Reverbnation.com/kelseyhenry.
“I also recorded a few acoustic tracks with Greytone Records in March,” said Henry.
Although she didn’t win the competition at UNT, Henry said she definitely wants to participate again next year.
For her third place win, Henry received $125 in the 12th annual Songwriter’s Competition.