Native Oklahoman and songwriter Zac Maloy will return to Oklahoma City June 1-3, along with fellow Nashville songwriters Marcus Hummon, Clint Lagerberg and Levi Hummon, for the second annual Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival, presented by Grand Casino Hotel & Resort. Says festival organizer Zac Maloy, “When we started this festival last year, we chose Oklahoma City as our home market because we saw the exciting growth taking place within Oklahoma music circles and were confident the community would support the effort. I’m happy to say it exceeded our expectations and we are thrilled to be back.”

The 3-day event culminates in a Songwriter Showcase on Saturday, June 3 at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab on Sheridan Ave. in Bricktown. Using a format frequently used in Nashville, these “writer round” performances allow each songwriter the opportunity to perform one of their original songs, often made popular by chart-topping artists, and tell stories of how the songs were created. Tickets are on sale at OklahomaSongwritersFestival.com. Tickets are $40 VIP or $25 general admission.

Says Maloy, “In a venue this size, it’s like having a handful of songwriters in your living room, talking about why we wrote each song, then performing that song live. As songwriters, we enjoy the interaction with the crowd and are excited to be back in Oklahoma City. As a native Oklahoman, it’s especially gratifying to see how the Oklahoma music scene continues to grow and thrive.”

About this year’s songwriters:

Zac Maloy – The former frontman of The Nixons, who released three albums on MCA/Universal Records and completed worldwide tours with Radiohead, Soul Asylum, No Doubt, KISS and Bush, Maloy has written with Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Blake Shelton, Jake Owen and Tim McGraw, and co-wrote “Temporary Home,” a #1 country song, with Carrie Underwood.

Marcus Hummon – Grammy winner and two-time NSAI Songwriter’s Hall of Fame nominee, Marcus Hummon songs have been recorded in multiple genres – pop, R&B, gospel and, most notably, country music. His best known hits include “Bless the Broken Road” (Rascal Flatts), “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Ready to Run” (The Dixie Chicks), “Born to Fly” (Sara Evans), “One of These Days” (Tim McGraw) and “Only Love” (Wynonna).

Clint Lagerberg – Grammy, ACM and Billboard Music Award nominated songwriter/producer, Lagerberg has been working in Nashville since 2005 and has had songs recorded by Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Josh Kelley. His first #1 hit was “Here Comes Goodbye” (Rascal Flatts) followed by a second #1 chart-topping song, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (Keith Urban).

Levi Hummon – Born and raised in Music City, Hummon has worked with notable songwriters including Jimmy Robbins, Shane MacAnally, Andrew Dorff, Josh Osborne, Jonathan Singleton and Nathan Barlowe, and wrote with legendary Steven Tyler on “Red, White and You.” Hummon has been busy performing and touring with the likes of Frankie Ballard, Kelsea Ballerini, Billy Currington, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Kip Moore, David Nail, Michael Ray, and A Thousand Horses. His new single, “Don’t Waste the Night,” was just released in late April.

In addition to the Saturday evening Songwriter Showcase, Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO) will co-host a sponsor reception with Dunlap Codding on Thursday evening and will partner with The Paramount OKC to host a Songwriting Camp on Saturday, June 3 at The Paramount Room, 701 W. Sheridan Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free to the public, the Songwriting Camp will include interactive panel discussions with some of Nashville’s most established songwriters, where attendees can learn secrets to successful songwriting, as well as gain insight into aspects of publishing, licensing and music business to enhance their craft.  The camp will also consist of an interactive-style workshop where Nashville songwriters will break down the specifics of how they wrote a few of their ‘hit songs’  for people like Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Dixie Chicks, Rascal Flatts and others.  Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions throughout the workshop. The Songwriting Camp will also include refreshments and great networking among peers. A few select attendees will also receive an opportunity to participate in one-on-one mentor sessions immediately following the camp – must be present to win.

OF+MO Director Tava Maloy Sofsky notes, “It is an honor to welcome Zac, Marcus, Clint and Levi to Oklahoma, and we are especially proud and excited to partner with them on the Saturday Songwriting Camp. Local and regional singer/songwriters can come learn (and be heard), which helps build our local music industry at a grassroots level. The Songwriter Showcase Saturday night is my personal favorite. So many friends and leaders in our community are still talking about last year’s show and how much they enjoyed meeting ’the real heroes behind the hits’ – in our own backyard.  There’s nothing quite like it!"

Presented by Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, festival sponsors include Oklahoma Film + Music Office, The Oklahoman, Dunlap Codding, The Paramount OKC, ACM@UCO and 21c Museum Hotel.

"The state of Oklahoma has a great tradition of music." -- Jim Beavers, Songwriter

Launched in 2016, the Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival brought talented local songwriters and prolific Nashville songwriters to Oklahoma City for three days of writing sessions, music industry panel sessions and songwriter showcases. The festival featured Kierston White, Andy Adams, Annie Oakley, JD McPherson, Marcus Hummon, Jim Beavers, Marti Fredrickson and festival founder and Ada, Oklahoma native Zac Maloy.

Video provided by Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO).

Levi Hummon set to play Oklahoma Songwriters Festival - June 3rd

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Born and raised in Music City, Levi Hummon has worked with notable songwriters including Jimmy Robbins, Shane MacAnally, Andrew Dorff, Josh Osborne, Jonathan Singleton and Nathan Barlowe, and wrote with legendary Steven Tyler on “Red, White and You.” Hummon has been busy performing and touring with the likes of Frankie Ballard, Kelsea Ballerini, Billy Currington, Hunter Hayes, Sam Hunt, Kip Moore, David Nail, Michael Ray, and A Thousand Horses. His new single, “Don’t Waste the Night,” was just released in late April.

Write back to the start: Nashville songwriter about No. 1 hits, Jim Thorpe and the inaugural Oklahoma Songwriter’s Festival

An interview with Marcus Hummon and the Oklahoma Songwriters Festival.  

By Nathan Poppe.  

Marcus Hummon writes hit songs but just not always for himself.

Hummon is based in Nashville, Tenn., and has written commercially successful hits for Rascal Flatts, the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks and a lot more country artists.

This weekend, he'll be workshopping and writing alongside several Okies and other Nashville musicians during the Oklahoma Songwriter's Festival. Also, he'll be performing Saturday evening at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab alongside the same combination of Oklahoma and Nashville talent. 

Hummon has struck a balance between art and commerce. For every hit song he's penned, he's got a musical, opera or any number of diverse projects going on at the same time.

It wasn't always so easy though. He initially couldn't garner much interest for "Bless the Broken Road," which he ended up winning Rascal Flatts a Grammy for Best Country Song in 2005. His big break came in 1992 after he speedily delivered a cassette tape to a Wynonna Judd recording session. That track became his first hit, "Only Love."

He spoke on the phone with The Oklahoman about his road to songwriting and what it's like to make it as a songwriter.

Q: You're fresh from writing a theatrical production based on an adaptation of Frederick Douglass' first autobiography, "Narrative of the Life of an American Slave." I understand you've also tackled a musical about famed Okie native athlete Jim Thorpe. Tell me more about that project.

Marcus Hummon: I'm a huge, huge Jim Thorpe fan, and it was first done many years ago, and back in 2011 here in Nashville at the Ford Theater (at the) Country Music Hall of Fame. We did it at Tennessee Performing Arts Center and then we did it off-Broadway. ... That was one of my biggest connections to Oklahoma, because in working on that piece I got to know Jim's daughter who passed away a few years ago, Grace Thorpe. We sent letters back and forth. I sent her a script, and finally I flew out and met some more of the Thorpe family.

So when Zac (Maloy) would talk to me about this and that we were gonna go out and do a songwriter's festival and that a lot of what it was going to be about was looking at Oklahoma writers and to inspire them — because there's been so many great Oklahoma songwriters in the national community; they have had such a huge impact — I just sort of jumped at the opportunity.

Q: A majority of the hit songs you've written have been made famous by popular country artists. Is this a genre you were intentionally aiming to get into or were you naturally drawn to it?

Hummon: No, I wasn't specifically drawn to country music as a kid. I just grew up in a family that loved music. My parents were very musical. My dad was a state department guy working at economic development overseas, so we grew up in Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Philippines and Saudi Arabia. We basically traveled, mostly overseas, until I was 17. As far as my early connection to Nashville, there was probably Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell records. Those are records that I remembered and love. ... I realized that Nashville, particularly in the late '80s, when it was exploding, it was really song-based. You needed to be able to play and you needed to be able to actually sing. It's not smoke and mirrors. I fit in, but it did take a little while, and then I had ... a couple publishers actually tell me to leave. (Laughs.)

Q: So why didn't you get out of town?

Hummon: I kind of looked into myself and asked, "Why should I stay?" I mean, what is it that I resonate with? And it was the love of songs. The actual musicians. The connection between songwriting, storytelling and what we do with our hands with these wonderful instruments. In that sense, I fit in just fine.

Q: You've had a lot of luck with your songs performing well commercially. Does hitting No. 1 on the Billboard charts feel like the end goal? What does that milestone actually mean as a songwriter?

Hummon: I would be a liar if I didn't say that the thrill of a No. 1 record is really extraordinary. I remember the first time it happened and ... it's an extraordinary feeling, but it's definitely larger than that, because it's truly a way of life. I supplement my activities as a songwriter by being a playwright. You know, opera is related to me, I've written a couple of operas, and the nature of living within music, living within lyrics within the structure of a song, expanding a song, an album, thinking of that as a canvas, thinking of writing as a kind of lifelong meditation. Songwriting can be a way to take a prismatic look at the world around you and process your feelings. ... It's a way of life, and it's a way of growing as a person, I hope.

Q: What's the draw to coming to Oklahoma for this festival and working on songwriting sessions with Oklahoma-based artists?

Hummon: I'm always interested in being around young writers these days — I'm 55, so it seems like everyone's young. I sometimes describe writers as professional dreamers, and in that sense they play a really important part in culture, and so I always enjoy meeting new writers. Getting to share the stage with some Oklahoma writers, that's probably the thing I'm gonna look forward to most. Just to hear what they have to say, and hopefully some of what they have to say will have a distinctively Oklahoma taste, like a flavor. I wanna experience that.

Zac's podcast with OKC the KATT

PodKatt Episode 2: Stories of Katt Past – Zac Maloy of the Nixons

Listen to the full podcast here.

Posted on April 13, 2016

   On April 12th, 2016, The Katt’s Jake Daniels sat down with Zac Maloy, who returned to the KATT, after several decades to discuss how his music has been finding it’s way into the heart of millions of music fans who don’t even know it. In large part, thanks to some help from the KATT during the early years of his career in the Nixons and how the little band from Oklahoma influenced some of today’s popular recording artists like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, David Cook, Skillet and others. Zac also took the time share about the inaugural Oklahoma Songwriters Festival at the end of April. Checkwww.oklahomasongwritersfestival.com to learn more. #ACM@UCO #OKLAHOMASONGWRITERSFESTIVAL #KATT40

‘Anything can happen’ at Oklahoma Songwriters Festival

April 5, 2016

Songwriter Zac Maloy said he hopes to meet many talented people at the inaugural Oklahoma Songwriter Fest this month. (Provided)

Growing up in Oklahoma, Ada native Zac Maloy couldn’t have known he would become a “professional songwriter.” Now, living in Nashville and with a fair share of hits to his name, he still doesn’t like the term.

“Professional songwriters,” Maloy said with a laugh. “It seems kind of funny to say that because we’re all a bunch of dudes sitting around in Converse tennis shoes and jeans trying to find new ways to rhyme with love, but whatever.”

Maloy will be bringing several of his denim-wearing dude brethren to OKC this month for the inaugural Oklahoma Songwriters Festival from April 28 to April 30. With special events lined up for each of the three days, Maloy said the festival will seek to connect artists with fans of songwriting as well as help guide young performers, writers and production specialists looking for future opportunities.

“It’s for anyone who loves music and who wants to hear stories behind songs,” Maloy said. “It’ll be a creative weekend where anything can happen.”

To put on the event, Maloy has brought in some of his closest songwriting associates, including: Marcus HummonJim BeaversGraham ColtonMarti Frederiksen and J.D. McPherson. The weekend will feature several songwriting workshops as well as evening performances.

NonDoc is a sponsor of the event.

“The shows, I think, are going to be eye-opening for fans of music to see these writers talking about their music,” Maloy said. “The whole goal originally was really two parts: To entertain with the public events but to also create an artery to Nashville.”

But the festival will also offer Maloy an opportunity he hasn’t had in a decade.

“At the end of the show Saturday night, I will be joined onstage by Jesse Davis and John Humphrey who, along with myself, were three of the founding members of The Nixons,” Maloy said. “We have not shared the stage together in over 10 years. We’ve been batting around a Nixons reunion for years, but it’s just hard with all our schedules.”

For more information, visit OklahomaSongwritersFestival.com. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Meet the Oklahoma Songwriters Festival open call winners.

Oklahoma Songwriters Festival has chosen 3 amazing singer songwriters from Oklahoma to participate in the writing sessions offered over the 3 day event.  The talented writers chosen are Daniel Walcher, Sophia Babb and Grace Babb.

What we saw in these writers:

Annie Oakley's Sophia and Grace Babb

“Hearing Sophia and Grace sing gave me the same kind of feeling as when I heard The Civil Wars for the first time. Insane melodies and haunting harmonies. But buried inside are really beautiful songs."



Daniel Walcher

“Sometimes killer singers worry me because they can mask a not so good song. But at the core of Daniel’s songwriting is honesty. And great writing. You can just feel it. I think the experience he will get from working with some Nashville writers is going to be awesome for all involved."

Meet Marcus Hummon - set to participate in the festival.

Marcus Hummon has been called Nashville's Renaissance Man. He has enjoyed a successful career as a songwriter, recording artist, producer and studio musician, playwright and author. His songs have been recorded in Pop, R and B, gospel...and most notably in country music. His country discography reads like a 'who's who' list of country notables over the last 15 years...Rascal Flatts, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Brooks and Dunn, Tim McGraw, Wynona, Sara Evans, Alabama, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Brian White, Leann Womack, Patty Lovelace...to name a few.

Six of his songs have charted #1 on Billboard, Radio and Records or Cashbox. BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD (Rascal Flatts), COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY, READY TO RUN (The Dixie Chicks), BORN TO FLY (Sara Evans), ONE OF THESE DAYS (Tim McGraw), and ONLY LOVE (Wynona). Several of his songs have been nominated for Grammys, ACMs and CMAs. In 2005 BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD won the Grammy for Best Country Song. Along the way he has garnered numerous BMI awards and been named Nashville's Best Local Songwriter 5 times by The Nashville Scene.

A great article on the Oklahoma Songwriter's Festival

Inaugural Oklahoma Songwriters Festival set for April.

by Brandy McDonnell  Published: March 22, 2016

The inaugural Oklahoma Songwriters Festival is set for April 28-30 in Oklahoma City.

Festival founder Zac Maloy, who grew up in Ada and is now a Nashville, Tenn.-based writer, will bring a handful of his accomplished songwriter friends in from Music City for three days of writing sessions with local songwriters, panels and small concerts. The evening shows will be one-of-a-kind events for the state of Oklahoma, where the audience will be able to sit back and listen to the writers of some of music's biggest hits, sing their tunes and tell their stories behind the songs.

"Part of our goal is to create momentum and broader relationships for the Oklahoma music community, while at the same time providing a unique set of shows not commonly available to the local music fan in Oklahoma," said Maloy in a news release.

Set to join Maloy for the three-day event are Jim Beavers, who co-wrote “Red Solo Cup” by Oklahoma-based superstar Toby Keith and “Watching Airplanes” by Gary Allan; Marcus Hummon, who co-wrote “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts (which includes Picher guitarist Joe Don Rooney) and “Cowboy Take Me Away” by the Dixie Chicks; and Marti Frederiksen, who co-wrote “Jaded” by Aerosmith and  “Undo It” by Checotah native Carrie Underwood, among others.

Check out the full article here.