The guy who wrote Selena Gomez’s ‘Fetish’ is from Ocean Springs. Hear him and other songwriters this weekend

Brett McLaughlin
Brett McLaughlin

The Mississippi Songwriters Festival kicked off its eighth year Thursday night in Ocean Springs, offering “some of the best music you’ve never heard,” as organizers say.

This year’s event features nearly 100 professional and aspiring songwriters from throughout the nation performing at venues in Ocean Springs through Sunday.

“A lot of the songs you will hear are the same kinds of songs being pitched to record labels and artists,” said organizer George Cumbest. “In two or three years, you’re likely to hear them on the radio.”

For instance, Cumbest noted that country songwriter and musician William Michael Morris performed “I Met a Girl,” which he did not write, at the festival in 2014 and he later recorded it as his debut release. It went on to become a No. 1 hit in October 2016.

Songwriters participating in this year’s festival cross many genres, including pop, Americanna, country, blues and rock.

Among this year’s performers are Brett McLaughlin of Ocean Springs who has had recent success in the pop music world, penning songs such as “Fetish” for Selena Gomez, “Hide Away” for Daya and Troye Sivan’s album “Youth.”

Also performing will be Brett Jones of Warm Springs, Georgia, who was a staff songwriter for Ronnie Milsap and has written songs, including “Cover You in Kisses,” for John Michael Montgomery and “You Gotta Love That” by Neal McCoy.

Cumbest said the Mississippi Songwriters Festival is just the capstone of programs and offerings of the non-profit Mississippi Songwriters Alliance, which has 600 members throughout the nation.

The Alliance conducts the “Songs and Stories” series, which features songwriters telling the stories behind their songs the third Thursday of each Month at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs.

Members get an industry-insider newsletter and other benefits, and the alliance offers an educational program at area schools to introduce students to songwriting concepts through songwriting workshops. The program also provides guitars and ukuleles to the participating schools.

Workshops are a part of the festival each year and this year’s workshops to be held Saturday at Gulf Hills include, for a fee, one on industry-knowledge and another on song structure and lyrics.

This weekend, however, will mostly be about live performances and showcasing singers and songwriters sharing the fruits of their craft.

All performances are free and the schedule is subject to change.

Mississippi Songwriters Festival 2017

Thursday, Sept.14

​Mary C

​7 p.m.: Songs & Stories: Tommy Barnes; Karen Reynolds; Sean Gasaway

Boots & Spurs — Kickoff Party

8:30 p.m.: Tall Boys

9:30 p.m.: Anywhere But Here

Friday, Sept. 15


​MC — Johnny Mire/Host — Patricia Chapman

​5:45 p.m.: The Loving Apparitions; Ian Phillips; Jade Sanders

​6:50 p.m.: JP Miller; Kat Taylor; Kristian Cowart

​7:55 p.m.: Christina Christian; Nick Biebricher; Kenzie Chapman

9 p.m.: Bob Regan; Johnny Mire; Tony Haselden

​10:45 p.m.: Justin Fobes; Nick Branch; Sharon

Moore ​Boots & Spurs

​​MC — Buck Allen/Host — Ashley Garner

​5:45 p.m.: Tony Cobb; Mike Lockey; Dixie Lee Stradtner

​6:50 p.m.: Rick Adams; Judson Smith; Justin Fobes

​7:55 p.m.: Amanda Jones; Bicycle Jones; Dave Stover

9 p.m.: Brett Jones; Tommy Crawford; Mark Muleman Massey

​10:45 p.m.: Buck Allen; Eric Welford; Christina Christian

Mosaic/OS Plaza

MC — Sydney Beaumont/Host — Michael Hughes

​5:45 p.m.: Jeremy Eisler; Jennifer Hurley; Eddie Miller

​6:50 p.m.: Danielle Thomas; Dustin Steen; Amelia Presley

​7:55 p.m.: Dana Woods; Summerlyn Powers; Sydney Lett

9 p.m.: Brett McLaughlin; Sean Gasaway; Derek Pardoe

10:45 p.m.: Beaumont-Hughes Band

Murky Waters

MC — Sherri MarengoHost — Trey Davis

​5:45 p.m.: Kevin Edwards; Ed Kontour; Kay Khoury

​6:50 p.m.: Natalie Kirk; Talbot Pearson; Tim Rogers

​7:55 p.m.: Robert Daniels; Jamey Shannon; Ronnie Davis

9 p.m.: Abe Partridge; Grayson Capps; Karen Reynolds

10:45 p.m.: Sarah Peacock; Brandon Green; Amelia Presley

Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria

MC - Chancy Rogers/Host - McKay Lee Bray

​5:45 p.m.: Collin McLeod; Savanna Jones; McKay Lee Bray

​6:50 p.m.: Corey Dean; Ryan Barrett; Anna Alford

​7:55 p.m.: Gene Smith; Savannah Smith; Corey Perrillioux

9 p.m.: Greg Barnhill; Troy Martin; J Edwards

Julep Room

MC - Taylor Craven/Host - Donna Brewer

​5:45 p.m.: Vance Williams; Jamey Shannon; Nick Biebricher

​6:50 p.m.: David Gautreau; The Mosleys

​7:55 p.m.: George Lee; Chris Hergenroder; Shane Theirot

9 p.m.: Tricia Walker; Taylor Craven

10:45 p.m.: Johnny Barbato; Drew Blackwell; Robert Daniels

Perfecto Cigar Shop

MC - Reggie Bates/Host - Robert Joseph

5:45 p.m.: Darrell Wallace; Eric DiSanto; Kristin Courville

​6:50 p.m.: Terry Cherry; Richelle Putnam; Jessie Howell

​​7:55 p.m.: Reggie Bates; Barry Hebert; Kris Jordan

9 p.m.: Tommy Barnes; Mark Sherrill

10:45 p.m.: Michael McCall; Randy Soboul; Robert Joseph

Aztecas Restaurant & Cantina

MC — RT Hall/Host — Carrie Lynn Stanford

​5:45 p.m.: Don Smith; Telly Luke; Kelly Parfait

​6:50 p.m.: Lucy Rose George; Katie Jones; RT Hall

​7:55 p.m.: Carrie Lynn Stanford; Darren Camp; Ron Johnson

9 p.m.: Double Dee; Marc-Alan Barnette

Saturday, Sept.16

9 a.m.: Workshop (Gulf Hills): Marc-Alan Barnette,

“Navigating Nashville And Beyond”...

1 p.m.: Workshop (Gulf Hills): Ty Taylor,

“Creative Writing for the Acoustic Guitar”...

***Youth Showcase (Tom’s Extrteme Pizzeria)

Hosted by Carrie Lynn Stanford

2 p.m.: Jade Sanders; Kristian Cowart; Kenzie Chapman; Collin McLeod

​3 p.m.: Summerlyn Powers; Savanna Jones; Lucy Rose George; McKay Lee Bray

4 p.m.: Sydney Lett; Savannah Smith; Katie Jones; Jenna Guidry


​MC — Danielle Thomas/Host — Carrie Lynn Stanford

​5:45 p.m.: Jenna Guidry; Natalie Kirk; Collin McLeod

​6:50 p.m.: Carrie Lynn Stanford; Summerlyn Powers; Katie Jones

​7:55 p.m.: Johnny Barbato; Tony Cobb; Eric Busch

9 p.m.: Double Dee; Taylor Craven

​10:45 p.m.: Danielle Thomas; Rick Adams; Darren Camp

Boots & Spurs

MC — Reggie Bates/Host — Eddie Miller

5:45 p.m.: Kris Jordan; Ryan Barrett; Anna Alford

​6:50 p.m.: Randy Soboul; Darren Camp; Nick Branch

​7:55 p.m.: Reggie Bates; Eddie Miller; Barry Hebert

9 p.m.: Derek Norsworthy; Brandon Green; Brett McLaughlin

​10:45 p.m.: Abe Partridge; Sydney Beaumont; Michael Hughes; Amelia Presley

Mosaic/OS Plaza

MC — Nick Biebricher/Host — Christina Christian

​5:45 p.m.: Terry Cherry; Richelle Putnam; Ronnie Davis

6:50 p.m.: Nick Biebricher; Christina Christian; Abe Partridge

​7:55 p.m.: JP Miller; Kat Taylor; Kristian Cowart

9 p.m.: Sean Gasaway; Mark Sherrill:; J Edwards

10:45 p.m.: Justin Fobes; Sarah Peacock; Nick Branch ​

Murky Waters

MC — Amanda Jones/Host — Patricia Chapman

5:45 p.m.: Ian Phillips; Tim Rogers; Sydney Lett

6:50 p.m.: Judson Smith; RT Hall; Colin Lockey

​7:55 p.m.: Sydney Beaumont; Michael Hughes; Kenzie Chapman

9 p.m.: Greg Barnhill; Tommy Crawford; Mark Muleman Massey

​10:45 p.m.: Amanda Jones; Bicycle Jones; Dave Stover

Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria

MC — Scott Stradtner/Host — Donna Brewer

​5:45 p.m.: George Lee; Eric DiSanto; Kristin Courville

6:50 p.m.: Don Smith; The Mosleys; Ron Johnson

​7:55 p.m.: Sharon Kay Moore; Sydney Lett; Talbot Pearson

9 p.m.: Karen Reynolds; Tricia Walker

Julep Room

MC — Mike Lockey

5:45 p.m.: Sharon Kay Moore; JP Miller; Kat Taylor

6:50 p.m.: Darrell Wallace; Amelia Presley; Corey Perrilloux

7:55 p.m.: Kevin Edwards; Ed Kontour; Mike Lockey

9 p.m.: Matt Hoggatt; Johnny Mire

10:45 p.m.: Vance Williams; David Gautreau; Buck Allen

​Perfecto Cigar Shop

MC — Robert Daniels/Host — Dana Woods

5:45 p.m.: Talbot Pearson; Eric Welford; Jamey Shannon

6:50 p.m.: Kay Khoury; Jeremy Eisler; Dana Woods

​7:55 p.m.: Buck Allen; Telly Luke; Shane Theirot

9 p.m.: Troy Martin; Marc-Alan Barnette; Derek Pardoe

10:45 p.m.: Robert Daniels; Chris Hergenroder; Johnny Barbato

The Shed

MC — Darryl Meadows/Host — Robert Joseph

4 p.m.: Corey Dean; Michael McCall

​4:40 p.m.: Dustin Steen; Vance Williams

5:20 p.m.: McKay Lee Bray; Savanna Jones; David Gautreau

6:20 p.m.: Gene Smith; Savannah Smith; The Loving Apparitions

​7:20 p.m.: Jade Sanders; Lucy Rose George; Robert Joseph

8:20 p.m.: Tommy Barnes; Brett Jones

​​Sunday, Sept.17

Mosaic/OS Plaza

12 Noon: Gospel Presentation, Bro. Gary Knight (Message)

1st Set: Reggie Bates; Timothy Johnson

2nd Set: Amanda Jones; Dana Woods

3rd Set: Taylor Craven; Double Dee; Mark Sherrill

2 p.m.: Grand Finale, Lineup TBA

Drawing: LR Baggs Venue

http://www.mssongwritersfestival.com Subject to change