Oklahoma is becoming a place where people are no longer asking, “What is there to do?” and are now asking, “What shall we do?” To help decide what to do, Uncovering Oklahoma’s curated calendar of events features the best of the best unique events happening throughout Oklahoma. Whenever you’re looking for something interesting to do on the weekend or your day off, come here and find out what’s happening. Be sure to follow on Facebook or Twitter as events will often be shared there too!
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The fourth annual Oklahoma Songwriters Festival, co-presented by Grand Casino Hotel & Resort and the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, will take place Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, with a ticketed Friday evening fundraiser, a Saturday morning Songwriting Camp and the state’s one-of-a-kind musical round table, The Songwriter Showcase, on Saturday evening. Friday night’s dinner and entertainment will take place at Grand Casino’s Flame Brazilian Steakhouse on April 12 and Saturday’s programming on April 13 will take place at the iconic Tower Theatre located at 423 NW 23rd Street.
The Oklahoma Songwriters Festival was created in 2016 by Ada-native Zac Maloy, former singer and songwriter for The Nixons – an Oklahoma-based rock band that rose to fame in the 1990s – in an effort to highlight songwriters and the art of songwriting.
Each year Maloy returns home from Nashville, Tenn., to Oklahoma for the Festival, inviting award-winning Music City songwriters to join him in writing rooms and on stage for a weekend of celebrating a talented pool of artists who typically shine behind song credits. Local songwriters will showcase talents in a similar format and start the night off with original songs written and recorded in Oklahoma.
“Each year our songwriters are not only so candid and genuine in sharing their talents on our stage, but it’s their day-to-day work ethic and passion for the field that strengthens this genre year over year,” Maloy said. “Making for a better show each time. Here we are at year four and I honestly believe this is the strongest collective lineup we have ever had.”
Along with Maloy, this year’s Nashville-based songwriters include Oklahoma-native Brett James, ASCAP’s 2010 Country Songwriter of the Year (credits include Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Cowboy Casanova,” Kenny Chesney’s “Reality,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All,” and more), Tulsa born David Hodges, former member of Evanescence (credits include Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You,” Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again,” Christina Perri’s “Thousand Years,” Maren Morris/Vince Gill’s “Dear Hate,” and more), and Marcus Hummon, dubbed Nashville’s Renaissance Man (credits include Rascal Flatts’ “Bless The Broken Road, The Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Ready To Run,” Sara Evans’ “Born To Fly,” Tim McGraw’s “One Of These Days,” Wynona’s “Only Love,” and more).
In addition to The Nixons’ songs, Maloy has co-written songs for Carrie Underwood (Temporary Home), Daughtry (“Used To”), and other chart-topping artists such as Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Halestorm, 3 Doors Down, Jake Owen and David Cook.
The local set will comprise of Oklahoma’s own talented openers: Kinsey Charles, Graham Colton, Tyler Hopkins, Beau Jennings.
This year, Maloy has asked Chainsaw Kittens frontman Tyson Meade to perform a few songs alongside him, and Emmy Award-winning rapper Jabee Williams will perform one of his crowd-pleasing freestyle sets on stage in his hometown.
“My favorite part of last year’s festival was seeing the insanely talented Oklahoma-based songwriters singing and telling the stories behind their songs,” Maloy said. “This year will be no different. We’re going to have fun and we’re expanding into the art of hip-hop’s freestyle technique, why not? The venue at Tower is set up in a way that every seat provides a great stage view to the sounds and emotion dripping from the stage.”
Tickets for Friday evening’s dinner at Flame Brazilian Steakhouse at Grand Casino are $100 per person and include transportation to/from 21c Museum Hotel. Tickets may be purchased via RSVP at OSFoffice@icloud.com.
Before the Saturday evening showcase, the festival will include a Songwriting Camp, presented by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, in the morning at Tower Theatre, which will include an interactive panel discussion and Q&A with songwriters. A chance for a one-on-one mentoring session with both Hummon and Maloy will be given away to two attendees. The Songwriting Camp is free and open to the public.
The Songwriter Showcase will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at Tower Theatre, and will recall a presentation format frequently used in Nashville, called a “writer round.” This event will start with a local round, then the main event will feature the Nashville songwriters singing the hits they’ve penned and the telling of stories behind the music. The Showcase is a ticketed event ($14-$40) with a VIP option that includes preferred seating and a meet-and-greet with artists before the show.
To see a schedule of events or purchase tickets for the Songwriter Showcase, visit oklahomasongwritersfestival.com.