Q&A: Singer-songwriter Chris Gelbuda on bringing ‘Nashville Writer’s Round’ to Hamilton

Singer-songwriter Chris Gelbuda will bring some of his hit songs the stage at the Fitton Center on Saturday night. He will be joined on stage by fellow songwriters Carey Ott and Tim Fagan.

Gelbuda is probably best known for his work with Meghan Trainor. He co-wrote and produced “3 A.M.” and “Just a Friend” on her multi-platinum debut album “Title.” He also produced the hit single, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” featuring John Legend, which went to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Top 40.

Other artists Gelbuda has collaborated with include David Shaw, Darius Rucker, Lady A, Neal Francis, Robert Randolph, Lee Brice and Billy Currington, to name a few.

The Journal-News caught up with Gelbuda by phone in a Q&A to find out more about what he’s been working on as well as what we can expect from the Nashville Writer’s Round.

Nashville Writer’s Round featuring Chris Gelbuda with Carey Ott and Tim Fagan will be at the Fitton Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Ave. in Hamilton.

The cost of tickets are $32 for members and $39 for non-members. The event is sponsored in part by Matandy Steel. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to www.fittoncenter.org or call (513) 863-8873 ext. 110.

Question: Chris, tell us about yourself and what you do on a day-to-day basis.

Answer: I’ve been a staff songwriter in Nashville for about 15 years. Basically, my job, and maybe a few hundred other people in Nashville, our job is to show up every day, together with other writers and artists and try to help major artists build their repertoire with quality songs. Today, I have an artist coming to write, and on Thursday and Friday, I have an artist coming over. My job is to sit down and help these people write the best songs they can.

Q: What kind of show will you bring to the Fitton Center this weekend?

A: Usually, these writer’s rounds consist of giant hit songwriters who get up there and play their songs that everybody’s heard of. I do the songwriter’s rounds a little bit differently. I don’t just bring out country singers. I bring out people that work in pop, and in other genres, because I just find the shows to be more exciting when it’s not just one genre. Basically, I’m bringing out a bunch of great writers with me including Carey Ott and Tim Fagan. Carey is originally from Chicago and he’s an Indy/rock writer. Tim won a Grammy in pop music, and he works in a couple other genre’s too. I’m trying to bring a nice diverse group of folks, musically, and get people excited about hearing some cool songs.

Q: I know you’ve written for quite a few artists like Meghan Trainor, and Darius Rucker, and the list goes on. Can you tell us about a few of the songs you’ve written?

A: Sure. My biggest break in the music business, obviously, was meeting and working with Meghan Trainor over the last 10 years, and it’s opened up a lot of doors and opportunities, but I also hold a lot of the music I’ve written with Hamilton’s own David Shaw very dear to my heart because he’s one of the most talented human beings that’s ever walked the face of the earth. That makes me really excited to come to Hamilton because I know that’s where Dave’s from. But, yeah, the songs I wrote and produced for Meghan still tends to be a lot of the most recognizable stuff that I play when I go out and it’s pretty exciting because me and Meghan both got signed to the same publisher at the same time. We both packed up everything, and left our respective hometowns, and came to Nashville at the same time, so her songs are always dear to me because of how our lives have changed so much since the world’s got to hear them, especially for me, since I just sat there and wrote it, and watched go off and become this megastar. It’s very surreal to have someone go from your little East Nashville house to being a judge on “The Voice,” or whatever she’s on.

Q: How did you and David Shaw meet?

A: We met on the floor of a Grateful Dead show in Chicago, and my buddy said, ‘hey, you guys should write a song sometime,’ and we were both like, ‘yeah, totally,’ and we actually did, and we ended up having a really magical musical relationship, and a really important friendship for me. He’s a very special guy.

Q: What can we expect from the Nashville Writer’s Round?

A: So, the format is everybody takes turns, we go in a circle, and we play songs, and we try to make people laugh. We tell some of the stories behind the songs, so it’s not just about that three-minute performance. It’s about the whole situation, because I think a lot of people don’t understand where some of these songs come from. Our goal is to shed some light on it, not only to entertain people that are there to hear the songs, but to help any aspiring songwriters understand where a lot of this stuff comes from, because this can be very daunting at first to get started. The more you do it and talk about it, the easier it becomes to understand. We will all be telling stories, and playing along with each other, and bolstering each other’s songs.

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