THE 2019

The 2020 Songwriters


Nick Butcher is a composer/lyricist and actor. Following an extensive performing career in the West End, Nick is becoming one of the most exciting young contemporary theatre composers in the UK. Currently, Nick is under commission by two major UK producers to adapt a book and subsequent film for the stage as well as discussions to write for an upcoming American streaming network. Nick's YouTube channel featuring his original songs propelled him into the industry and led to his signing with top creative agents Curtis Brown. Nick ’s debut solo concert , Live at Zedel's, sold out in Spring 2019. Previously, Nick was a finalist in the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Competition two years running at the Garrick Theatre and Savoy Theatre; gained support from Cameron Mackintosh Foundation and Arts Council England; shadowed composer George Stiles on numerous projects . As an actor, Nick has worked on new musicals in the West End including Lend Me a Tenor, Half a Sixpence and School of Rock as well as major productions at Chichester Festival Theatre, Sheffield Crucible, Opera North and Barbican Theatre with directors including Olivier Award winning Timothy Sheader, Laurence Connor, Daniel Evans , Rachel Kavanaugh and Jo Davies. Nick has worked on four new major productions with Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

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Nono Chen, a Chinese singer-songwriter, producer, media composer, arranger, and pianist based in New York City. Nono started her stylistic expansion and sonic exploration under the influence of artists like Jacob Collier, Bruno Mars, and Dua Lipa. Her husky voice tells her personal stories over a remarkable variety of genres and styles. Her innovative and unpredictable musical moves often take her audience on an exciting and unique journey. Nono began playing piano at the age of four and was trained in classical composition at Shanghai Music Middle School. She went to Berklee College of Music in 2017 and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Writing and Production in 2019. She is now a Songwriting master student at New York University. Nono was named as a Mentee in the 2019 Society of Composers & Lyricists’ Mentor Program. She was the recipient of the 2018 American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers’ Ray and Jon Charles Scholarship for Vocal Arranging, the 2019 Berklee Contemporary Writing and Production Achievement Award, and NYU’s 2019-20 Paul Simon Scholarship. She was recently nominated to be the 2020 NYU Songwriting Scholar.

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Kate Cosentino is a guitar playing geek with a passion for moving others through music and art. Born and raised in Kansas City, Kate is now in her junior year at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee double majoring in Music Business and Songwriting. Her music is heavily influenced by jazz and other singer songwriters like Regina Spektor and Lianna La Havas. She has been playing guitar for 14 years and writing songs for 12. When Kate isn’t writing, recording, or performing songs about social justice, love or her nerdy hobbies, she designs and creates guitar straps for herself and other artists. Her amazing and supportive mother is her partner in developing her guitar strap and music apparel company “Big Chick Energy”. Kate hopes to promote diversity and equality as well as make people feel seen through her songs and straps.

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Indie folk-rock singer-songwriter Calista Garcia brings mix of complexity and sophistication to her confessional musings that carry a hint of pop and blues. Her style harkens back to ’70s classic acts such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, but with a fresh modern twist. A prolific songwriter who plays guitar, piano, ukulele, bass, mandolin and harmonica, Calista also writes for the stage, having completed her second classic-rock inspired musical, Crystal Skies, which premiered in April 2018. Crystal Skies is a 2020 finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theatre Conference. A soundtrack for Crystal Skies is in
progress. A member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, Calista is a 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Voice/Singer-Songwriter, a 2019 Strathmore Artist in Residence, a 2017 & 2018 Berklee Performance Showcase Winner, the 2017 Bernard Ebbs Young Songwriter of the Year and a two-time Grammy Foundation Young Songwriter Program Artist.

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Joriah Kwamé is an upcoming writer and performer from Kalamazoo, MI. Self taught, he has been writing since he was 10 years old. Earlier in life, Joriah wrote and produced commercial music, releasing an entire original album by the age of 13, entitled “Alive”. (Available on all platforms) Aside from commercial music, Joriah also found a deep passion for Musical Theater composition and has since written over 6 musicals, some of which have been produced/workshopped around the country. His biggest inspirations are Stephe n Sondheim, Lin Manuel Miranda, Jason Robert Brown, Jeanine Tesori and Dave Malloy. He is a 2019 Write Out Loud contest winner, and had his original song, “Little Miss Perfect” recorded and released by Tony Award Nominee Taylor Louderman. His mission statement is “Creating new musical theater that is intriguing, inclusive, and stirs social change. All are welcome.”


Oliver Labrador is a 2020 graduate from the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where he majored in Music Business and minored in Motion Pictures. He and his writing partner, Devin Weitz, finished their first full - length musical, Hindsight , in January of 2020 . Oliver has always been a musician but began writing original music his freshman year of high school where he performed with multiple band s . He is a classically trained trumpet player and is self - taught on drums and guitar. Oliver’s lifelong love of movies led him to focus on screenwriting and film production and has since taken his cinematic approach and applied it to the stage. His main screen writing influences include Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin and his biggest music influences include Dave Matthews, Jacob Collier, Eric Whitacre, and Duncan Sheik. 


Tom Ling is a writer and lyricist who trained at University of Birmingham and continued studying musical theatre at the Guildford School of Acting. Tom has co-written numerous songs with composer Nick Butcher which have featured in his successful YouTube channel, including their musical short film, Loved Before. His other work includes: Techies: The Musical, which achieved a sold-out run with “audiences laughing loudly” (British Theatre Guide) at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe and featured in Broadway Baby’s Top Ten New Musicals; The Cereal Cafe, a new musical about the 2015 Shoreditch gentrification riots-which was professionally workshopped at The Other Palace in 201 9 and gained international media coverage and a sold-out run; Grandma Claus, sold-out UK tour; co-writing credits on Nick Butcher, Live at Zedel's. Tom was recently part of the Goodspeed Musicals 2020 Writer’s Colony, working on a brand-new commission for a leading West End producer. He has also lectured on musical theatre writing to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s YCP.

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Samantha Margret is a singer-songwriter and producer. Raised on an eclectic mix of country lullabies, folk songs, and radio pop, Samantha’s music seeks creativity, originality, and sometimes even a good giggle. Her soulful ballads convey the power of the female voice, and tell stories about mental health and acceptance, and her uptempo pop songs are not afraid of a good time. Samantha released her single, Anxiety Lies, in November of 2019. She is a co-host of the bi-monthly writers round Music City West and host of the weekly, zoom writers round Music in the Time of Corona. Other recent projects include songs for the Bushwick Bookclub, and the music for the musical Valley of the Dead.

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Ian Miller is a St. Louis-born, New York-based singer-songwriter and pianist who draws on funk, gospel and soul stylings to write songs that are candid and hopeful. Ian is also a professional music director for theater, and he is passionate about collaborating with writers and performers to bring stories to life. His debut EP, In Between, was released this March and is available on all digital platforms.


Juliette Reilly is an “indie pop-timism” singer/songwriter from NJ who strives to inspire young women around the world to stand up for themselves. She stays active on YouTube and social media with interactive music video campaigns to involve her fan base of almost 300,000. Several of her songs have been featured on Billboard, iTunes and Apple Music charts, as well as on SiriusXM, YouTube series' with over 1,000,000,000 views, MTV shows, and as theme songs for non-profit organizations. Her most recent EP, ”Love You Good Bye,” is an 80's pop "feel good" breakup concept album, which cracked the top 100 on the iTunes pop charts.

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Max Runham is a singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist from Kent, UK. Brought up listening to an eclectic mix of Blues and Rock&Roll, his music is rooted in a driving rhythm. Max trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College and worked as a professional actor in the UK doing a vast amount of work in regional touring theatre productions for the past 8 years as well as appearing in various TV roles. Over the past year, he has put his acting career on the back-burner to focus on music full-time; forming a band and playing the London circuit. With influences from Carole King and Ray LaMontagne to Vulfpeck and Louis Prima, his music has taken on a unique shape; blending elements of old school soul and characterful playfulness with a modern, funky drive. Max was born with one arm which threw him into unknown territory with learning instruments. Through years of perseverance and experimentation, he’s honed in on what feels like a very characteristic sound. Max hopes to go on to become a recording artist touring and recording full-time.


I’m Zach Seals, I’m a 22 year old singer/songwriter originally from Baltimore, MD and I specialize in making dramatic indie pop power ballads and sad bops you can twerk too. I’m currently a 4th semester student at Berklee College of Music and a 2 time National YoungArts foundation honorable mention award winner. Current discography includes my First EP “It Was Never That Deep” available on all streaming platforms and a few other singles on SoundCloud. 


Devin Weitz is a recent graduate at the University of Miami (Frost School of Music), where he studied film scoring and songwriting. He and his writing partner, Oliver Labrador, have finished a full-length original musical, Hindsight, set to premier in 2020. Devin has composed for several years, developing an affinity for theater writing freshman year of college. In high school, he was nominated for two National Youth Theater awards playing lead roles in Inherit the Wind and The Wiz . Devin also records music as an artist, releasing an EP titled “Faded Blue” in December of 2018 and releasing a single called “Move On” in May of 2020. Devin hopes to become a successful musical theater composer, writing Broadway shows for years to come.

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The Gender Gnomes are the NY/Philly based duo of singer/actor/flutist/ukulele-owner Rachel Weisbart and guitarist/bassist/trumpeter/saxophonist/mandolinist/everythingist Patrick Oberstaedt. Rachel has a BM in Music Theatre from Oklahoma City University and Pat just graduated from Temple University with a BM in Jazz Bass and Music Education. They have 2 EP’s available on all major streaming platforms. The first, "Introducing The Gender Gnomes," was recorded by the professionals over at Cambridge Sound Studios in Philadelphia. The second, "Re-ntroducing The Gender Gnomes," was recorded in Pat’s parents’ basement utilising children’s instruments left down there from Pat’s childhood. They’re equally proud of them both. Their most recent work is the completion of a 2000 piece puzzle which they refuse to take apart and have affectionately named “Deborah."

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© 2020 by The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project