1) Sierra WestPresident
Profoundly cinematic, intensely intimate: the artistry of Sierra West reveals itself in essential melodies, vivid visuals and absorbing emotions. Deep vibe tracks and sparkling acoustic guitars frame the confiding voice of a singer-songwriter completely committed to the sincerity of her songs. Embracing change, she checked out possibilities for relocation. “San Diego had the most musical communities,” she remembers. “They all seemed fun and happy.” Sierra has made substantial in-roads: Winning “Best Singer-Songwriter” at the San Diego Music Awards and topping the winners’ list for the San Diego Songwriters Guild’s 21st and 22nd Annual Song Contests. With nominations including the International Songwriting Competition, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and OUTMUSIC, she was named one of the nation’s Hot 100 Live Unsigned Artists & Bands by Music Connection Magazine.
2) Mike WojniakVice President
Critically acclaimed for his unique orchestrations and “rich sonic palette,” Mike Wojniak is a prolific songwriter who began writing for his first band when he was 14 and hasn’t stopped since. As a solo artist, Mike has released three full-length albums independently, Follow the Crane (2008), Memento Vivere (2010), and Libero (2012); as well as a 4-song EP, Anima Mundi (2014) with the San Diego-based record label, Golden Wave Records. Mike’s latest single, Sail Away (2015) has been praised by critics as a “masterful” composition that is “elegant” and “perfectly balanced” with “positively haunting” vocals and “sweeping cello notes.” Mike is currently working on several projects, including a new full-length album expected to be released in winter 2017.
Mike is a seasoned performer who can often be seen gracing stages of all sizes across Southern California when he is not on tour. Having shared the stage with acts such as Patrick Watson, Red Wanting Blue, and Denison Witmer, Mike frequently tours as a solo artist, both domestically and internationally. Audiences delight in Mike’s masterful guitar playing, gorgeous vocals, and artful looping. Wherever he goes, Mike finds inspiration in his connections with the people and places he encounters, often composing early drafts of what later become his favorite songs while on the road.
3) Stacy Kim JohnstonSecretary
SDSG Secretary since 2014, Stacy is a Licensed Psychologist with her own private practice since 2001. Stacy enjoys writing songs that inspire others, enhanced by her psychology background and ability to connect well with human emotion. She performs regularly at Vigilucci’s in Coronado and occasionally at other venues such as wineries and retirement homes. Our Secretary regularly pitches her recorded songs in the hopes of getting picked up by a known artist so that her message can be far-reaching. But most of all, Stacy enjoys being a part of SDSG, where she can encourage newer and younger members to reach deep and be all they can be with their music contributions to the world.
4) John PapeWebmaster Treasurer
John is in charge of the website for the Guild. He is a guitarist, musician and songwriter. His band JonniMaxx started in the 80’s is a Pop/Punk group with a catalog of original songs is currently on an extended break His publishing company The Mediatunes Project has a catalog of instrumental music He has also written the book Building a House of Worship for church worship musicians. For anyone who want to learn more about songwriting John also own the website Learn How to Write Songs which include articles and tools to assist songwriters.
Cliff Keller is new to the Board of the Songwriters Guild but has been active in the music scene for 10 years. Cliff is also founder and organizer of the San Diego Songwriters MeetUp . He writes music, plays live, and records with his wife Karin and 4 other local musicians as The Kellers. Cliff is actively involved with the local film community and has had his instrumental music featured in over 20 local films and a national advertising campaign. He recently was commissioned to write two corporate theme songs, and a corrida song for the city of Irwindale CA commemorating their proud hispanic history. Cliff is a regular volunteer for the Music Therapy non-profit organization Resounding Joy, Org. and has worked in the tech industry for many years.
When the objective of learning to play acoustic guitar for the purpose of accompanying SDSG Secretary Stacy Johnston in live performances failed miserably, Jeff Caldwell’s final attempt to contribute meaningfully to the San Diego Songwriting Community was to dust off his rolodex and restore some decades old relationships from experiences in his formative years in the business side of music in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jeff’s achievements in this regard have been much more successful than his note fretting skills, having brought several special guests in to share experience with the Guild membership. During Jeff’s involvement in SDSG, he has introduced music insiders such as Mark Spiro, Jeff Paris, Robert Tepper, Craig Goldy, Tod Howarth, Mark Mazzetti, and Jermiaya Grabher as event hosts or members of our song contest judging panel. When he is not busy working through his funnel prospective SDSG volunteers, Jeff works as a technical sourcing manager for an embedded computer company.
Tolan Shaw is an award-winning artist who has risen in the Southern California music scene as a pop/rock singer-songwriter who will stop at nothing to build a career with his original music. Both a solo acoustic troubadour and the frontman of his own band, Shaw’s music is catchy and soulful, bluesy and melodic, poppy and sincere. It is also highly inspired by his yearn to travel and to learn about the world and its people.
In the past few years, Shaw focused heavily on songwriting and performing nationally and internationally, releasing singles and quality music videos which have gained the attention of radio and industry ears. Highlights include receiving regular radio play for songs off his 2015 release “Chin Up,” being included on the list of 91X San Diego’s top 91 songs of 2014 for his song “Eyes,” and successfully booking and performing a 5 week U.S. tour, a 2 week Mexico tour, and a 2 week Canada tour in 2015. Shaw’s strong songwriting also led him to multiple placements and licensing deals with various TV networks and companies, including ABC Family, Jimmy Kimmel Live, MTV, and Verizon Wireless. Shaw has shared the stage with international acts such as Gavin Degraw, Nate Ruess, Jason Mraz, and Switchfoot.
2015 brought a “Best Pop Album” San Diego Music Award for “Chin Up,” multiple sold out shows, and Shaw’s first major festival appearance at San Diego’s KAABOO Festival, alongside names like The Killers, Ben Harper, and Zac Brown Band. He was also named an official Taylor Guitars artist, and in the end of 2015, Shaw linked up with Taylor and GoPro, among other local brands, to create a Travel-Music video series called Wandersong- a project which would take him to 9 countries in Southeast Asia to write songs and release videos “following the inspiration of a traveling singer-songwriter.”
2016 was a year of brand new travel-based songs and content, new collaborations, and constant performing and writing for Shaw, and 2017 will bring new music and touring, with the hopes of inspiring a broader audience with his craft, and giving back to his community.
Mark HattersleySDSG Advisor
After winning SDSG’s 1993 Song Contest, Advisor Mark Charles Hattersley served as Guild VP from 1994-95 and President from 1995-97. A versatile composer, keyboardist, vocalist, producer and engineer with a rare combination of technical and creative abilities, Mark has written, recorded, produced and performed with national and local artists including The Miracles (Smokey Robinson), Kevin Cooper (Ike Turner), Jaime Preciado (Pierce the Veil), Marcel and James East, David Van Such (Markus Van Such), Randi Driscol, Steven Ybarra, Diane Waters, Rebecca Jade, Tripp Sprague, Kirk Cumming, Mark Chosak, Ignacio “Nacho” Somers, Patrick Moraz (Yes), Tim “Fig” Newton, Brian Darnell, Greg White, Jr., Larry Groupé, and Sully Sullivan. Mark’s recorded compositions have been heard in countless productions and promotions including HBO, ESPN Sports, Access Hollywood, National Enquirer Television, Seattle Seahawks post-game show, Biography, Wild About Animals, My Classic Car, Pep Boys National Ad Campaign, Northwest Airlines and many more. Mark composed and produced “Right Place, Right Time,” Tony Gwynn’s 3000 hit tribute for the Gwynn family, distributed by Cox Cable and the Padres. Documentaries he has scored include Freshwater Seas – the Great Lakes, produced for Detroit Public Television by Lindsey Haskin. On the live front, look for “Hats” performing in West Coast music festivals and making special appearances on keys with Sully Sullivan and Blue Eyed Soul. His comprehensive understanding of audio and acoustics underpins the design of his recording facility, Rancho Bohemia Studios RBohemia.com , and his diverse musical background is reflected in his productions covering a broad range of genres, from folk and Americana to jazz, hip hop, pop and rock & roll. Mark has continued to support the Guild over the years and appreciates the great work being done by the current Board.
Diane Waters continues on her musical journey! July 1st, 2011 took 2nd place for the 1st Annual Singer/Songwriter Contest at the San Diego Fair. Two time Grand Prize winning songwriter in the Durangosong Write With a Hit-Maker Song Contest. Also a 2010 SDSG Songwriters Performing Songwriters Contest 1st place winner. Platinum Winner in San Diego Songwriters Guild 2008 Songwriters Contest. Plus, additional credits include an HONORABLE MENTION in the prestigious CMT/NSAI 2009 Songwriting Contest, etc… Diane Waters is serving up Pop/Country/Rock originals with a little edge and a lotta hooks. Diane was recently featured on San Diego Living Channel 6. She’s performed locally at: Humphrey’s Backstage Lounge, Onyx Room, Genghis Cohen – Hollywood, Poway Center for the Performing Arts, Lestat’s West, Carlsbad Wine Merchants, Claire de Lune, Twiggs Tea & Coffee, Java Joe’s, The Rhythm Cafe’ and even the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville! Diane has received airplay on 102.1 KPRI Homegrown Hour, 92.5 FM and 95.7 FM in San Diego. She was one of twelve singer/songwriters selected for the First Annual Jeffrey Steele Boot Camp in Nashville, Tenn. in 2006. She continues to record and perform regularly and has numerous songs towards a new CD release. Previous releases include “Thirsty Children”, recorded and produced with Josquin des Pres as well as “Live at the Rhythm Cafe’ Unplugged” Genre: Pop/Rock/Country Diane has had the opportunity to write with hit songwriters, Walt Aldridge, Gary Baker, Tim Johnson, Matt Evans, Sandy Ramos, Liz Hengber, Richard Harris and many other talented writers in both Nashville and LA and San Diego