The Columbus Songwriting Workshop strives to take songwriters to the next level. We pick songwriters that know their craft and are pros typically working songwriters that have many strengths. Each workshop we strive to empower our instructors to share their version of success to attendees. Pre-Register today for a discounted rate at this link today.


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Jess Baldwin’s voice has been described as “world class,” “effortless,” and “pure beauty.” She appeared on American Public Television’s “Songs at the Center” in 2018, performed on Mountain Stage in 2013 with The Fields of Gettysburg, won Best Cover Song in the 2015 and 2017 Ohio Music Awards, and was a quarterfinalist in the 2015 and 2017 American Traditions Competitions. As an artist, her eclectic style melds indie and chamber pop with soul and R&B, living somewhere between Regina Spektor, Lake Street Dive, Becca Stevens, and Laura Mvula.  

As a teacher, Jess has extensive training in vocal pedagogy and voice science. After earning her master’s in classical vocal pedagogy, she turned her focus to working with singers that are traditionally ignored or misunderstood by academia, including those in pop, rock, country, R&B, soul, indie, and more. She now teaches at the CCM Voice Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University, where voice teachers come from all over the world to learn how to work with non-classical singers. She loves helping people take the mystery out of singing to find the magic in their voice.

RJ Cowdery3231810 

Rj Cowdery has solidified her place in the world of performing singer-songwriters, garnering accolades at Mountain Stage NewSong, Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, Wildflower! Arts and Music, Rocky Mountain Folk Festival, and Sisters Folk Festival. She plays a clean guitar, flat picking or strumming, stringing chords together to develop melodies built like a proverbial brick house and pours over it all with a voice like butter. Her lyrics are sincere and plainspoken, inviting you to lean in hard and come out the other side changed.

Eric Gnezda42

Singer-Songwriter Eric Gnezda is creator and host of the American Public Television series, Songs at the Center, based in Columbus, and airing on more than 300 stations coast to coast.

A regular performer at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, Eric is a recipient of the Ohioana Citation for Music Composition, joining Michael Feinstein (American Songbook), Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane), and Chip Davis (Mannheim Steamroller).

An Emmy-nominated TV journalist, Eric has seen success with a wide range of songwriting styles – from inspirational anthems, to country, to comedy. Eric and his work have been featured on media around the globe, including ESPN, Entertainment Tonight, and NPR (Car Talk, and All Things Considered).

His latest single, “Separation,” was named one of the Top 25 Songs of 2018 by Detroit Radio’s Phil Maq, of WFHR-FM. |


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At age 7, Billy Zenn stepped onstage for the first time—as a ventriloquist.  The instant darling of the service lodge circuit, Billy and his dummy performed comedic scripts—with song breaks—penned by his grandfather.  Countless talent shows and chicken dinners later, The Beatles arrived on the Ed Sullivan Show. Billy’s career as a variety performer was over in an instant—his dummy consigned to storage, replaced by an electric guitar and the company of some school mates.

Billy kept at it.  He began working weekend club dates in the late 60’s and never looked back. Somewhere along the line he started crafting his own songs, drawing from the pastiche of influences around him and culling the best of those into a distinctive writing style.   

With four CD’s and a live DVD set under his belt, Billy continues to follow his muse.  Lately, he has happily assumed the role of producer for several up-and-coming performers, producing CD’s for Grace Adele, Craig James, Mark Hunter and more.

The ShawsShaws

Chris Jim and Andy Shaw (as pictured) are founders of the workshop. The two brothers and dad Jim play in the Andy Shaw Band together and have been pillars in the Columbus music scene for years growing community through events like this workshop, song shares at many venues, house concerts, Wafflepalooza, We Are Columbus SXSW, and many more. Working to develop a strong local scene that connects artists together to bring their craft to a higher level is their mission.


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