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. Sign up for our November 3rd workshop at this link.

Chris Shawblackandwhitelookdown

Chris Shaw has been a staple in the music scene in Columbus for 15+ years starting out in high school playing drums in a rock band that produced two records, moving to play drums in Andy Shaw Band, fiddle in Shaw Brothers, singing/writing/guitar playing in a 10 piece soul band called Topher James and Biscuit Brigade, and guest spotting in several recent projects including Doc Robinson’s latest ep “Muscol Sessions 2″. 

Dominique LarueOhio Music Photographer

Born and bred on the north side of Columbus, Ohio, Larue was greatly influenced by Gospel and R&B, but it was her older brother who introduced her to Hip Hop. Influences from A Tribe Called Quest, Fugees, Outkast, Def Squad, and Busta Rhymes and it was in her elementary years that she realized just how influential her brothers music had actually been. At 7 years old, Larue made her first attempt at writing a rhyme, “I will never forget that day because it was the first day of the rest of my life.” And although Larue does not remember the song she and her friend wrote, if it hadn‟t been for that song, she wouldn’t be rapping today. She has released several records including in 2015 when she joined forces with legendary Hip Hop pioneer Monie Love, MyVerse, and Carolina Dirty to form the rap supergroup Heresy. Their self-titled EP released in August 2015.  Recently a song of hers was placed in a movie called, “The Challenger,” starring Kent Moran and the late Michael Clarke Duncan released in 2015. She has landed placements on VH1, MTV, TLC, Fox, Oxygen, The CW and HBO as well. Read more on her Facebook page here.

Peggy Elliott_DRM5404

Peggy’s Bio: Peggy Elliott has been in the music industry for over 50 years. She is from southern Ohio, Eaton, received her undergraduate degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education at Ohio State and has a Masters in Conducting from Cleveland State University. Throughout her career she has worn many hats including singer, actor, dancer (tap dancing with Gene Kelly and Tommy Tune), and musical director for many musical theater productions all over the country. As a vocalist, Peggy has soloed as a Lyric Soprano with various choruses through out Ohio, singing Brahms, Beethoven, and Faure Requiems. She is an accomplished teacher presiding over the professional development of music teachers as a music administrator for Cleveland City Schools and has coordinated music events all over Ohio. She has served on committees with International House of Blues, the Education Committee of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/John Lennon Recording Bus, and the Cleveland Hard Rock Café.

Jon Elliott


Jonathan Elliott is a singer-songwriter best known for his work as the lead vocalist of Columbus based roots-rock band, The Floorwalkers. Raised in a musical household and classically trained, Elliott has grown up performing and singing many styles and genres of music in choral, live-band, and theater productions and ensembles. Always naturally gravitating toward the soulful sound of R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, and jazz music. As a child, Elliott’s parents owned an operated a fine arts studio in his hometown of Chardon, Ohio. There he took dance, art,and various music lessons beginning his passion for the arts and performance. In 2001 Elliott began writing songs and collaborating with fellow high school classmates, Ben Meinhold, Tom Lasky and Kerry Henderson. Together they would relocate to Columbus, add guitarist/vocalist Theo Perry and Keyboardist Todd Hamric and start recording and performing as The Floorwalkers. Since then, they have toured regionally and built a solid grassroots following in the midwest and southern United States. Elliott and his bandmates pride themselves in their eclectic songwriting and their ambition to write songs in multiple styles of popular music. Together they have crafted a sound and an energetic live show that is uniquely and sonically their own. (614) Magazine’s Readers Poll voted the Floorwalkers Best Band, and they were named to The Hot 17 in 2011. Columbus Alive has called them “One of Columbus’ most beloved bands”…“A band the hipsters, hippies, and bros can all agree on.” says, ”Jon Elliott’s voice seems limitless with each song.”Aside from his work with The Floorwalkers, Elliott also lends his vocal talents to other Columbus musical acts The Middle Rats and PopGun, and is a frequent guest vocalist with The Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

Jesse Henry12188004_10153189943435233_800587404253220740_o

Jesse Henry is a songwriter, teacher, and Dean of the Rafiki School of Music in Kenya. He’s a dreamer who navigates all genres, and leads some of our city’s most unique groups.  The SpikeDrivers, Stutterfly, The Royal Tycoons, The Field Dogs, among others. Jesse’s life experiences melt into the mood of his songs. A former iron worker, mennonite jazz student, and conservatory of music scholar, Jesse has spent the last ten years training and crafting his music style in Columbus through close friends and some of the community’s highest level of musicians.

Eric Gnezda12029638_1024780657568641_1705066488013204663_o

Singer-songwriter Eric Gnezda performs regularly at The Bluebird Café in Nashville, and is the recipient of the Ohioana Citation for Music Composition, joining Michael Feinstein, Chip Davis (founder of Mannheim Steamroller) and Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane. His work has been heard on ESPN, NPR, ABC Radio, Nickelodeon, and in local media markets worldwide.  Also an accomplished public speaker, journalist and television producer, Eric received an Emmy nomination for a story he produced in Europe for American television. Based upon his work as a songwriter and producer, he conceived the popular Columbus music show, Songs at the Center, which airs weekly on WOSU TV, immediately following Austin City Limits. The show has been renewed for a second season, and, in addition to premiere regional acts, has featured Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Oates, and Grammy Award Winning songwriter Don Henry.  Eric also coordinates and hosts Songwriter Showcase at Natalie’s. Now in its third year, the Showcase features some of the finest songwriters in America.  His song, Is This America, was a featured segment at the Citizens’ Symposium on Civility in Washington D.C., and he has written themes for Special Olympics Ohio, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Race for the Cure, and other organizations.  As a keynote speaker and workshop trainer, Eric has presented to hundreds of companies and associations throughout America, from IBM, to General Electric, to Wendy’s International, to Oncology Nursing Society, to the World Gathering on Bereavement.  When he’s not writing songs, speaking or performing, Eric teaches speech at his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University. Whether on the stage, radio, TV, or in the classroom, Eric entertains and inspires his audiences. Notable upcoming dates: Songs at the Center taping, Columbus, Sept. 17 The Bluebird Café, Nashville, Oct. 11 Songwriter Showcase at Natalie’s, Columbus, Nov. 12