American Idol, The Voice, et al, are music talent shows that had us glued to our TV screens but another show which is emerging to at least rival their success is Songland, a show which is not just about singing but songwriting – a part of music that most times does not get as much credit as it deserves. Songland, following its premire in May 2019 has so far recorded very positive reviews with viewers becoming increasingly curious about the show including its judges and producers.
The NBC show for aspiring songwriters provides an avenue for four aspiring songwriters to showcase their skills per episode, out of which 3 of them qualify after the initial round and get to work with established producers on the show to create hit songs, which are then performed by well-known artists and a winner is picked at the end of the show.
The show was conceived and created by David A. Stewart after he came to the realization that songwriting as an art was dying in America, and that something had to be done to groom songwriters of the future to create songs that would stand the test of time. The first season had 11 episodes, and NBC renewed the show for the second season on September 10, 2019.
Does Songland Have Judges?
Songland is a television show that was set up to discover, nurture and promote upcoming songwriters and they do have 3 well-qualified panelists, who you can aptly call judges as well. Songland‘s judges are Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean, and Shane McAnally. These three judges bring their wealth of experience both as singers and songwriters to the show. Here is a look at the profile of each of Songland‘s judges.
Ryan Benjamin Tedder
Tedder was born into a Christian home on June 26, 1979, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father, Gary was a preacher and his mother was a schoolteacher; his parents encouraged him to learn how to play the piano at 3, and he taught himself how to sing also a few years later.
He attended Colorado Christian School, Colorado – where he became friends with Zach Filkins, who would become his future bandmate. He graduated from Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma and he started his self-taught and mentor inspired songwriting, music composing and singing career. Today, he has become a well-respected singer, songwriter and record producer. He is the lead vocalist of the pop group, One Republic, formed one year after he graduated from Oral Roberts University in 2002.
He has worked as a songwriter and producer for notable artists such as Beyonce, Adele, Backstreet Boys, Charlie Puth, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and several other A-list musicians and singers. He wrote songs such as Beyonce’s Halo and Apologize one of the most popular songs by his band One Republic.
Ester Renay Dean
Also known as “The Song Factory,” Dean is the only female judge on Songland. She was born on April 15, 1982, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was raised by her mother, Hester. She is the youngest of her mother’s five children. Singing and writing music was Ester’s escape from a life of poverty, bullying, and intimidation. But rather than resorting to violence or other vices arising from her poor background, she resorted to expressing how she feels through music, and sang to “free her soul”.
Ester’s singing skills among the crowd at a Gap Band concert caught the ears of music producer Tricky Stewart – who gave her an opportunity to become a better songwriter and singer, after listening to her original songs while also falling in love with her voice. Ester has today grown to become an actress as well, having featured as Cynthia Rose Adams on all the Pitch Perfect movies; she also does voice-overs for animation films as well. She has written songs for and worked with artists such as Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Usher, Drake, Kelly Rowland, just to mention a few.
Shane McAnally is a singer and songwriter – who prefers the country music genre and is a record producer as well. He was born in Mineral Wells, Texas on October 12, 1974. He was already an award-winning, chart-topping artist before he decided to go full-fledged into writing songs for other artists and producing their records. He has written songs and/or produced records for artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, Sam Hunt, Walker Heyes and a host of others.
Who are the Main Producers of Songland?
The main producers of Songland are Ester Dean, Ryan Tedder, and Shane McAnally; all who double as judges on the show. The show’s executive producers are Maroon 5 frontman, Adam Levine, Audrey Morrissey, Dave Stewart, Chad Hines, and Ivan Dudynsky.