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Honolulu Community College sponsors its first songwriters workshop

First Annual MELE Songwriters Workshop, July 10-12, features local and national award-winning songwriters and industry professionals

Honolulu Community College
Keala Chock, (808) 844-2344
MELE Program Coordinator
Posted: Jun 18, 2009

HONOLULU — Honolulu Community College‘s MELE Program will host the First Annual MELE Songwriters Workshop, July 10-12, bringing together award-winning songwriters from the mainland with local music professionals and business leaders for three intensive days of seminars, panels, critiques and networking.

"There has never been anything like this gathering of songwriting talent in Hawaiʻi," said Ramsey Pedersen, one of the co-founders of MELE—Music & Entertainment Learning Experience.

The national songwriters participating in the workshop have combined sales approaching $200 million and work in many genres including pop, rock, urban, country, and Disney film/TV. Among those participating are:

  • Disney hit makers Adam Watts and Andy Dodd, who have sales of over $40 million worldwide, with songs on "Hannah Montana," "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock." Their song, "Beautiful Soul," (Jesse McCartney) received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Pop Award in 2006;

  • Dennis Matkosky, writer of such mega-hit songs as "Maniac" from the movie "Flashdance." He has sales of $60 million, and has written for artists ranging from Diana Ross to Clay Aiken, James Ingram, LeeAnn Rimes and Keith Urban. His songs have been in the Top 10 of Billboard charts in jazz, R&B, adult contemporary, country, rock, pop, Christian and gospel;

  • Craig Wiseman, a three-time winner of the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award. His song for Tim McGraw, "Live Like You Were Dying," won the 2005 Grammy for Best Country Song. He also has song-of-the-year winners from the Country Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music. His publishing company, Big Loud Shirt, founded in 2003, has had eight No. 1 hits; and

  • Kristal Oliver, a prolific songwriter, performer and producer from the Philadelphia urban music scene who has written for and sung with The Cheetah Girls, Diddy, Danity Kane, Heather Hedley, Kerri Hilson, Raheem DeVaughn, Cassie, Skillz, and Blake Lewis.

The impressive lineup of national songwriters will be joined by accomplished local songwriters Noland Conjugacion, Puakea Nogelmeier and Manu Boyd, and Jon De Mello, founder and CEO of The Mountain Apple Company, the leading record label in Hawaiʻi, which distributes locally created music in 88 countries worldwide, including Brother Iz‘s "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," from the first Hawaiʻi-produced platinum CD.

Workshop participants will learn how these highly successful professionals got started, how the writers honed their craft, what goes into structuring a great song, and what it takes to bring a song successfully into the world of the music industry.

In addition to the sessions on the art and craft of songwriting, the workshop includes song critiques, a participants‘ song showcase, and essential information about contracts, royalty structures, management, and dealing with record labels and music publishers.

"MELE exists to teach all aspects of the music industry—creative, technological, and business," says Keala Chock, who coordinates the program at Honolulu Community College. "The long-term vision is to strengthen the production of music in Hawaiʻi—to teach the crafts and skills and disciplines essential to creating music that can thrive in the global business of the 21st century, making its mark in the world for the benefit of Hawaiʻi."

Registration for the workshop is now being accepted online at A complete schedule and information on participating speakers is also available online.

There will also be an opening night concert, "Harbor Lights—The Songwriters Sing," at Aloha Tower Marketplace on Friday, July 10. Tickets for the concert are available to the general public for $20, and can be purchased online via the "registration" page at

The Songwriters Workshop is co-sponsored by the ASCAP, Outrigger Enterprises Group, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), and the Mountain Apple Company.


The Music and Entertainment Learning Experience (MELE) is a program that provides training to develop artistic creativity, entertainment business expertise and technical production skills. In partnership with Nashville‘s Belmont University, MELE students can earn dual credits at Honolulu Community College and Belmont University, with the option of transferring into Belmont‘s four-year degree program. More information about this program can be found at


Honolulu Community College is an open door, comprehensive community college that offers a broad range of liberal arts courses and 24 career and technical education programs. The college is an integral part of the University of Hawaiʻi System. Students have direct transfer to UH Manoa, UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo to complete their four-year baccalaureate degree. Students enjoy high-quality education at very affordable tuition rates and receive instruction in small classes taught by well-credentialed faculty who are dedicated to excellence in teaching.

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