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A  Songwriters perspective on American Idol

American Idol Myths

The Kelly Clarkson story

Songwriting Tools and Techniques


Grammy-Award-Winning Songwriting that Gets Results, Combining Arts, Education, and Community Outreach
Song Development - Music Production - Music Business Mentoring  - Recording -  Workshops - Artist Development

"One of the "Top 50 Innovators, Groundbreakers, and Guiding Lights of the Music Industry" -- Music Connection Magazine
"Bill Pere embodies the link between music and science" -- The New York Times
Bill is one of the songwriters on a 2012 Grammy winning  multi-artist CD


 at the national Independent Music Conference in Philadelphia, PA

President and Executive Director of the
Connecticut Songwriters Association

Founder and Chair, L.U.N.C.H.

Author "Songcrafters' Coloring Book"


Grammy Award
Bill with the Production team for the Grammy-winning "Best Children's Album",
54th Annual Grammy Award, 2012





           Bill Pere Receives an Immie Award,
           Philadelphia, PA, 2003



Originally from New York City, Bill Pere is one of today's most sought-after songwriting mentors, workshop presenters, and song critiquers.  He is the author of the internationally acclaimed "Songcrafters' Coloring Book: The Essential Guide to Effective and Successful Songwriting"   He travels coast to coast and is committed to helping artists create the best possible songs and achieve their goals.   Bill  is also in the forefront of social activism, as the Founder of  LUNCH, using the power of popular music to produce positive social action, carrying on the legacy of Harry Chapin.    Bill sometimes also acts as an official judge and critiquer for national and international songwriting and performance competitions, and is the Founder of the Voices For Hope vocal competition.    In addition to his distinctive 12-string guitar style,  Bill is also an  innovative producer and an expert Midi composer, with classical training in arranging for orchestra and theater.  He founded and runs the Connecticut Songwriting Academy.   In 2008, Music Connection Magazine named Bill as one of the "Top 50 Innovators, Groundbreakers, and Guiding Lights of the Music Industry". Bill was also featured on a special-edition Cheerios Box as a hunger-fighting hero.  He is one of the songwriters on a 2012 Grammy winning multi-artist CD.

PRESS ARTICLES  (hundreds more from pre-2004 in the hardcopy print archives)

here      for article on Bill's Grammy Award-1
here      for article on Bill's Grammy Award-2

For Feature Articles appearing in Circle! Magazine  
on Bill and his involvement with the music and Legacy of Harry Chapin 
    for Spring 2004               
here.   for Fall 2003

here    for 2011 Interview with Indie Connect Magazine
here    for 2010 Interview with GRIT PR

here    for 2010 Interview with the Purple Song Project
here    for 2009 Article on the release of Bill's songwriting book

here    for 2008 Music Connection Top 50 Innovators list (pdf file)
here    for Bill's appearance on a Cheerios Box
here    for 2008 Article on Bill's inclusion in Music Connection's TOP 50 list-1

here    for 2008 Article on Bill's inclusion in Music Connection's TOP 50 list-2
here    for 2008 Interview with Hartford Business Journal
here    for 2007 Interview with Songsalive!
here    for Interview with Entertainment Zone magazine
here    for the original 1982 article about the release of the original "Crest of a Wave" album

here    for 2007 CD Release Article for "Dare to Dream"
here    for 2006 Interview with Bill in Making Music Magazine
here    for  a look at the stories behind some of Bill's most popular songs
here    for a sample of where Bill has performed and given presentations
here    for a sample of what others have said
here    for a sample of Bill's awards and accomplishments
here    for a sample of the music professionals from whom Bill has learned
here    for a songwriter's perspective on American Idol


BILL PERE -- Interview with Entertainment Zone Magazine

Bill Pere is an award-winning singer-songwriter and producer widely known for his story-telling lyrics and songs with emotional and social  impact. Bill came to Connecticut in 1979, after growing up in and around New York City. He became a founding member  and President of the Connecticut Songwriters Association, and was appointed an Official Connecticut State Troubadour in 1995 by the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.  He was named Independent Artist of the Year at the 2003 Independent Music Conference in Philadelphia. In addition to his 16 CD's , 420 songs, and 20 original stage plays, Bill has written more than 100 articles on the craft of songwriting, which have appeared in many music business publications, including the international "Songwriters Market", "Indie Bible", "Song Connection",  "Songwriter Magazine", and many more.  He is the author the widely-used songwriting guide "Songcrafters' Coloring Book".

Bill is also the Founder and Executive Director of LUNCH (Local United Network to Combat Hunger) which uses the power of popular music to produce positive social action. Bill writes and produces original concert and theater event, involving professional artists and kids in shows to raise money for agencies that aid the hungry and the homeless.

ENZM caught up with Bill and had the opportunity to ask some questions:

ENZM: Have you always loved music and wanted to be involved in music?

BILL: As a young child, there was always music in the house, as my father loved stereo equipment and always had records or jazz radio stations playing. Listening to all those jazz rhythms gave me a good rhythm sense which made me sensitive to the natural rhythm of words. I believe that maintaining a natural language cadence in a lyric is a key to good musical storytelling. I'd usually run around the house singing words that I made up, so I guess I was a natural songwriter from the outset. I had my own sound-on-sound tape recorder at the age of 7, which was new technology at the tine, so I've always felt at home with recording and studio production.

ENZM:  How did you get started in music?

BILL:  Every Christmas brought some new toy instrument under the tree, so I tried most everything, at least for a little while. In 4th grade I took up clarinet, but found that reading music and playing stuff other than what I wrote myself was not as creatively rewarding. And besides, the wooden reed tasted awful and I couldn't sing with an instrument stuck in my mouth. I didn't seriously take up another instrument until I was 13, and that was because when a 13 year old boy sees a bunch of 13 year old girls screaming at any guy with a guitar, that provided incentive to get serious. We cobbled together a group of the neighborhood kids, using oatmeal boxes as a drum set, my $13 Sears guitar with 5-strings, and charged a nickel for a our first concert (and that was definitely overcharging…).

We learned very quickly that it was not as easy as we thought to play other people's songs, so we made up our own. My friend and I were the primary songwriters, and we wrote about 25 songs, which I still have on tape to this day – and which are all incredibly bad. This is how I learned to tell aspiring writers what NOT to do when I teach songwriting workshops. But the die was cast, and from the time I first picked up a guitar, I was a songwriter.

: Who encouraged you? Who influenced your career the most?

BILL: My songwriting is clearly divided into seven phases, where I can see changes in style and level of sophistication. The early songs were simplistic, but not bad by 13 year-old standards or for 1960's garage band music. The next phase was the sappy teenage love song era, but the songs seemed to go over really well with my fellow teenagers, so that was encouraging and I continued writing. Later, in college, I moved into more sophisticated chord progressions, and started writing storytelling lyrics. It was during those years as well, following the release of the Who's "Tommy", that I began writing for the stage. My first stage play was a complete rock opera. Although I've produced 23 original stage plays, that first one was the most elaborate, and I've actually never fully staged it, but I hope to at some point.

After college, I  made some inroads in the New York area with publishers, but it was slow going.  Upon moving to Connecticut in 1979, I happened to find a notice in the newspaper saying that a new songwriters association was forming. I got in on the ground floor of the Connecticut Songwriters Association (CSA) and I have to say that working within the organization has opened so many doors for me, in ways that I never would have thought of if I had tried to continue on my own.

I've had opportunities every month since 1979 to work closely with and learn from some of the greatest songwriters of all time -- Grammy Winners, Tony Winners, Emmy Winners, Platinum recording artists, and top industry pros.  A list of these great mentors is at my website   Most of the things I am doing now have been made possible by networking through  CSA.

Also, I began writing my articles on songcrafting, and these captured the attention of many  industry folks.

:   Who are your favorite artists?  What professionals have influenced your music?

BILL:   There were three distinct influences that shape the sound and style I have today. The first, in 1967, was the 12-string flat-picking style of Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. That is primarily how I play, and I use a 12-string guitar most of the time. The second influence came in 1971. I was still in the sappy-teenage-love-song phase when I discovered the Jimmy Webb/Richard Harris albums. Jimmy Webb's chord structures and orchestrations led me to take courses in orchestration and music theory and this remains the primary influence on the harmonies, counterpoints, and timbres that I use in my studio productions. The final piece came in 1972 when I heard a song on the radio called "Taxi". Harry Chapin's story-song opened my eyes as to how cinematic song lyrics could be, and from that time on, I moved into writing character-driven story lyrics that I hope will leave a lasting impact. Harry of course also had an impact in showing how popular music could be used to address social issues, which is what I do now almost exclusively.

In terms of other artists I like to listen to, I'd have to say The Association, Billy Joel, John McCutcheon, Moody Blues, Guess Who, the Who, and Three Dog Night. Also, there is a great deal of current independent music out there which is excellent. A lot of it is in right there in CSA.  I have to say I don't find much of the current pop mainstream to be lyrically interesting, although there is always an abundance of very well-written country songs , and of course great Broadway lyrics like "Wicked" or "1776".    The focus of much of the current pop and mainstream stuff seems  to be on production and mass marketing rather than on the craft of songwriting.

:  In 2002 you had 2 new CD's come out. Can you tell our readers about them?  What kind of music was featured?

I've done 12 CD's since my first recording in 1981 (the first two were vinyl, and since re-done on CD). Having written more than 400 songs, and more always coming, I have far more material than I'll ever be able to record, but I try to get a CD out at least every 18 months. I'm usually working on 3 or 4 simultaneously, because all my CD's are themed – that is, the songs all share at least one common thread. In 2002, I finished "High School My School", which I had been working on for 3 years, and I released "Christmas Eve on the Poor Side of Town" as well. This is the second time I've had two releases in the same year. "High School My School" I feel is one of the best works to date, as the songs all look at different aspects of that experience we call High School – the highs and lows, the pain, joys, and sorrows. High School is something that all teenagers through adults have experienced, and many adults have children in high school dealing with issues, so the songs can touch a wide audience. The desire to do this album came after the Colombine shootings, and I felt I needed to articulate many of the pressures and stress that today's teenagers deal with. I had two children in High School while I was writing these songs, and I work with hundreds of kids in my school programs. I felt that these things had to be highlighted. The music on this CD has a bit more edge and less orchestration than on some of my others, to go with the subject matter.   I'm pleased that the title track has been in the top 10 on several internet radio charts for more than 3 years,  and the CD was recognized as a valuable suicide prevention resource. 

"Christmas Eve on the Poor Side of Town" contains three of the best story songs I've ever written, and I think "The Crib in the Creche" is generally considered one of my top two or three songs of all. This CD was also a chance to feature some of the kids I work with, and I was pleased to be able to record a song that was written by a fellow CSA member, Joe Manning.

: Your lyrics are haunting, powerful, heartwrenching, on the High School, My School CD. They really choked me up, especially in "Most Likely To Succeed". Do your songs come from personal experience?

BILL: Thank you – I take it as the greatest measure of success if someone says they feel a strong emotional response to a song. That's what I try for when I write. The fact that you pinpoint "Most Likely to Succeed" is gratifying, as I targeted that song as being the heart of the collection. It's the "single" from the album. In terms of writing from personal experience, people always ask me that question – I think they believe that because so many of my characters are dealing with personal tragedies, that my life must be a constant disaster. The answer to the question is that all of my songs are in fact based on true experiences, but not always mine. I've interacted with thousands of kids over the years, in my volunteer work in group homes and social service institutions, in schools, and youth groups. They share their very compelling tales with me, and their situations become those heart wrenching songs that you refer to. I put myself in their place and try to see how the world must seem to them. This is similar to what Harry Chapin would do, in that many of his story songs are based on true incidents, but they would be things he'd read about or hear about. He had a gift for really capturing the essence of the experience. In addition, I write from my experiences in New York City, seeing homelessness and poverty almost every day.

: You have written for the stage. How did you get started doing this?

BILL: I always enjoyed going to musicals, and my uncle was an accomplished Broadway writer.  As a child, I recall hearing discussions of drafts of scripts which later became real Broadway plays.  When I was studying orchestration in college, I thought the best way to actually use it in real life would be to write a musical. "Tommy" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" had just come out, and those were influential in getting me started. I took some independent courses in writing for stage, and I'd go to all the rehearsals and performances of our college musicals to watch a different aspect from backstage -- conducting, lighting, stage logistics, etc. That's how I learned. In putting on my own plays, I've learned what it means to direct and produce as well. Also, if you really want to see well crafted lyrics, look to Broadway. The lyrics in most musicals are generally more sophisticated from a song crafting perspective than pop lyrics.

ENZM:  What productions have been your favorites and are you working on one now?

BILL: Of all the plays I've written,  two are serious, and all the others are light-hearted parodies of pieces of pop culture. This is to give it family appeal, and to balance the sometimes heavy message in our songs.

We've spoofed things like the X-files, the Wizard of Oz, Gilligan's Island, the Three Stooges, Camelot, Star Trek and Star Wars, Superman and Batman, Reality TV,  Harry Potter, and more. It's all designed to be family fun and to allow participation at all age groups. I'm always working a year ahead, and we try to do 1-2 stage shows every year, in addition to concerts.

: Please fill our readers in on the LUNCH program, I know you are founder of this program and it is a wonderful program.

BILL: LUNCH (Local United Network to Combat Hunger) is the culmination of all my creative efforts, coupled with social action. In 1989, I started preparing for a one-time event in 1991 to benefit local hunger agencies, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Harry Chapin's death. Harry was a founder of World Hunger Year. I worked through CSA to produce the event and it was a great success, raising about $20,000. I had so many people asking to do it again, that it became a regular event, and LUNCH expanded to become an independent nonprofit organization offering a year-round program where we mix professional artists and kids and do concerts, plays, and a summer camp, to raise money for social service agencies and to provide community outreach opportunities for kids through music. We've raised almost $1,000,000 and have had more than 3,000 kids in our events. All my CD's are produced in partnership with  LUNCH, providing opportunity for young talent to do studio work, and all profits go to the organization. Through this work, I've had the good fortune to meet and become friends with the Chapin family, and to take part in their annual Chapin Music Festival
 in Canada.     At the Hard Rock Cafe in New York, at a performance by the Chapins,  LUNCH was recognized by World Hunger Year as an innovative grass roots solution to hunger and poverty.
For a complete look at LUNCH through more than 700 photos, visit the website at All of the CD's are available there, as well as on and
i-Tunes.  My primary distribution, besides live shows, is digital marketing, through many different outlets.   I get downloads from all over the world.

LUNCH is open to all who have a song in their heart and a desire to help others. Anyone who might like to be involved can contact me through the website. We have some kids who drive from 1-2 hours away several times a week for rehearsals. We are happy to do a benefit show  anywhere we are invited to go.

ENZM:  Is there anyone you work with consistently, and who would you recommend in the business?

BILL: Although I am a self-contained writer, I do like to collaborate with others on various projects, and I do highly recommend collaboration for any artist. My co-writing with fellow CSA member Les Julian yielded the song "Donkey In a Ditch", called by Parents Choice Magazine "the best children's song about a moral dilemma ever written".  Developing a wide people-network is a powerful key to success. I work regularly with people from the Songwriters Association, and I would recommend that any aspiring songwriter or performer become involved with their nearest regional songwriters group, especially one that offers constructive, objective critique. An artist who avoids objective feedback cannot improve.  A good songwriters association can help direct you to other professionals that could best help you achieve your individual goals. I've been a Director of CSA since 1980, and it has been the single biggest factor in helping me achieve my goals.   I regularly teach collaboration workshops coast to coast, and have seen some amazing songs created by folks who had never met before.

ENZM:  What's next for you?

BILL: I am currently working on several collections of new songs -- "College Collage", "Rural Mural",  and "Let Me Count the Ways". Also, I work with other writers and artists to produce their projects for them, and to develop new young artists.  Then  there is the continual preparation for the annual Holiday Show, which is a stage play, speaking engagements, summer camp, and assorted concerts and school programs. Occasionally, I try to sleep.




Connecticut Songwriting Academy
PO Box 511, Mystic CT 06355
 e-mail:  info @ ctsongwriting . com