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Meet the Board: Chris Klimecky

25 May Posted by in Blog | 1 comment
Meet the Board: Chris Klimecky
 

Chris Klimecky, Executive Director of Songwriters in Seattle, describes his own musical development as, “a long, slow evolution – even after 30 years, it is an inspiring and surprising process!”

Here’s his story in his own words:

Songwriting started for me when I was around 12 years old as a family collaboration activity where I grew up in northern Michigan: My older brother, Pete, wrote lyrics and I wrote the music. He also played bass and my cousin played drums while I did guitar and vocals in our band. During holidays when we could get together we’d set up a 4-track tape machine and record as much as we could – this went on through high school and the only shift in college was that we went into nicer studios. Once in a while I’d write a song all on my own, but for the great majority it was a collaboration, often with a keyboardist as well contributing on the musical side.

Even when that “team” finally dissolved in the late 90’s after releasing two albums, I had enough lyrics from my brother stashed away that upon first moving to Seattle, my first solo album, Marooned, consisted of similar collaborations – I simply considered myself to be a music writer, not a lyric writer. I took about five years off after that release to start a family and dig into my career as a videogame producer.

When I returned, I sought out new teammates for collaboration and discovered a nascent Songwriters in Seattle group. What I found there were people who opened my mind to new directions, new genres, and new ways of collaborating I never would have considered in my previous songwriting time. I also discovered I had learned over the years what makes good lyrics, and had something to say myself, which led not only to my editing those lyrics that were given to me to work with, but writing more and more myself. Over a three-year period I put together my most diverse group of songs in my catalog for my second solo record, Bankrupt Generation.

This period of exploration actually resulted in intense focus afterward. I had confidence and vision for what I wanted to do musically and was driven to put together a new set of songs and recordings that reflected that vision with high quality. While there have been fewer songwriting collaborations since, they still play an important part of my most recent album and my current work. As I now do it all for charity, my “why” for writing, recording, and performing has become more meaningful, emotional, and personal. I continue to find joy and fulfillment in songwriting and collaborating.

I was growing up in the music scene just as the industry/business side was falling apart due to the shift from people buying records/CDs to getting music cheap/free online. By the time I had something to offer there was no longer investment in young artists and artist development because there was no longer money to be made selling records. Though I spent many years in frustration over this situation, it resulted in experience that I could use to help others to perhaps have a better opportunity.

Having always been a part of music and arts organizations (both private and larger public orgs/schools), I began to see that there was a possibility that community could play some of the role of support system that record labels previously handled. As Songwriters in Seattle grew and developed, it became more and more apparent that we were onto something with that line of thinking. Songwriters have the tendency these days to hole up in their homes or apartments with their instruments and computers, and just “DIY.” I know, I did it myself for a number of years. What Songwriters in Seattle offers is unlike anything else I know of in the area for encouraging and supporting creativity, the creation of art, and the support of independent artists. I think it’s really important work and I am proud to play a part in making it function and helping it grow.

Some unexpected benefits of taking on this role (as board president) are discovering what a huge, wide range of independent talent we have in the area. It feels almost infinite! With so many great surprises and great people I’ve met through the years, it has really been fun and inspiring. It has definitely motivated me to think about how we can be a force for elevating these talented artists and allowing them to do more of what they are capable of doing. It’s so hard, so time consuming, and so expensive to be an independent artist – they need all the support they can get in order to keep developing.

To help Songwriters in Seattle become even more effective, the two most important words for members are: SHOW UP! If everyone even picked one event per month to attend, we would have an elevated presence in the community. It would be more likely that each person could connect with someone who could help them personally. Share your knowledge, share your talent… this is not a competition. There is no one golden trophy to fight for – everyone’s on their own journey and we all do better when we help each other out.

Logistically, if someone wanted to be more involved, we can always use more volunteers to host events, manage our online presence (which helps foster participation), contribute to the newsletter, coordinate instructors, festival communication, etc. There is far more to do than myself and the current board members can handle.

Songwriters in Seattle is still a young organization (nine years total, six as a 501(c)3 non-profit), so there is still a lot to do in order to reach the potential of the impact we can have. One aspect of our long term vision is for us to have our own central location (in addition to events around the city, of course). There are multiple purposes for this – teaching space, collaboration space, recording space, “artist hangout” space, performance space… a true multi-purpose community location that represents and supports the needs of the organization and the artists we work to elevate.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or professional (or seeking to be professional) artist looking to develop your full potential as a songwriter, we at Songwriters in Seattle believe we are creating the stepping stones to help inspire, motivate, and elevate you to a more fulfilling musical life. If you think that’s as important as I do, we could use your help in continuing to move toward that vision. We simply need volunteers who share this vision and would be willing to put the time in. Thank you!

Chris Klimecky
Musician & Producer

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.
  1. Larry G Schwantes07-14-17

    Just signed up, and looking forward to collaboration with other music artists.

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