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Meet the Board: Griffin James

28 Jan Posted by in Blog, Newsletter | Comments
Meet the Board: Griffin James

With the desire to build a more friendly and welcoming community through our volunteer efforts, Songwriters in Seattle would like you to get to know our volunteer leaders. This month we’d like to introduce active Board Member, host of the monthly networking meeting, and newsletter editor Griffin, in his own words:

I began plinking around on piano as soon as I could reach the keys. I received an electric air-powered organ for my 4th birthday and have been playing daily ever since. Though I started composing in my early teens on both piano and guitar, my first formal training came in college where I took almost every music class available. During this time I both formed a rock band and became more interested in recording and production. After college I opened an early digital project studio and ever since, have been recording myself and others with an effort towards refining my skills and creating professional quality productions.

I discovered long ago that I could not make a steady living recording others and that trying to do so took the joy out of it and turned it into work. So, now I typically offer my skills free of charge. All I ask is that you treat my time like it is very expensive. If you do that I will give it to you for free.

Some people say that my sound is stuck in the 80s, but my skills are definitely not. I’ve graduated from reel-to-reel and analog 4-track, to ADAT digital 8 track, and now to hard-drive based digital recording using a DAW, Sonar Platinum on Windows PC.

More of a composer than a lyricist, I have little difficulty deriving chord progressions and melody. However, words come with much more difficulty and most of my favorite songs came by inspiration and luck, rather than perspiration and hard work. I enjoy collaborating with lyricists because they fill the hole in my skillset, and hopefully I can fill a gap in theirs.

Born and raised in South King County, I’ve lived here all of my life. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love the rain, the trees, the ubiquitous green and gray of the Northwest. The perpetual bachelor, I am a single parent to an adult son, Alex, who plays piano, drums, and a little guitar.

I spent many years bouncing around, testing out careers in engineering, cartography, performance, management, instruction, and many less glamorous jobs. Having finally settled down, my day job for the last decade has been working for large tech companies, where I have been technical artist, composer, programmer, author, editor, webmaster, and a multitude of other technical and creative roles that fall under the title ‘Writer’. Because I work from contract to contract, I frequently have long vacations between assignments, during which time I typically concentrate on helping others develop their music.

You can find samples of songs I have written and recorded myself, as well as a smattering of songs I’ve produced for others at the following sites:


Soon after joining Songwriters in Seattle, I attended one of the open board meetings that occur every January. I enjoyed the informal attitude of cooperative leadership and community so much that I continued to attend as many board meetings as I could ever since. I just started helping in whatever capacity I could, and I feel like I have been of some value to the organization. I’ve sat on the Highline College Computer Information Systems advisory board for more than a decade and am currently the chair. However, Songwriters in Seattle is a whole different beast. Sitting on the board at Highline College is professionally rewarding, but helping to guide Songwriters in Seattle is rewarding on a more personal level. I get great joy from our successes, and I look forward to being a part of this organization for the rest of my life.

It’s difficult to predict what comes next for Songwriters in Seattle. We continue to grow in numbers, but the actual volume of engaged and participatory individuals is not as great as our membership tally might suggest. However, I have hope that our continuing efforts to provide quality activities that help foster the music community in and around Seattle will lead to continued expansion of both membership and services.

I look forward to a day when we have a venue of our own, a ‘clubhouse’, with tons of live music, food and drinks, practice/meeting rooms, and regular instructional and cooperative activities. I see it in my mind’s eye as a place that will allow people of all cultures and backgrounds to cooperatively share knowledge and collaboratively compose in a safe and friendly environment. It is my fervent desire to guide our organization towards this and other high-reaching goals. I’m confident that as an organization, together, we can make this happen.

SiS Administrator
Songwriters in Seattle is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with over 3,000 supporting the community of Pacific Northwest songwriters through events that foster creative development, collaboration, music education, and performance.

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