Songwriter Mersaidee Soules is championing a local chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International to keep original music coming out of Northeast Mississippi.

TUPELO – They say the best way to become a songwriter is to keep writing songs.

That’s not something Mersaidee Soules struggles with.

Since moving to Tupelo via Canada, Los Angeles and then Nashville, Soules has sought out new avenues for her musical talents, from performing with Tupelo Community Theatre to participating in live music festivals.

But it’s songwriting that has captured her imagination the most since her youth, and that’s something she wants to give back to her new community. Soules has started a local chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide writers and musicians opportunities to learn more about the craft and the business.

“I want to see a bigger, independent community grow out of this,” Soules said. “We’re a music town. I’m a big Elvis fan, and always have been. So is my dad. It’s cool to think of what has come out of here and what continues to. I want to help people so more music comes out of here.”

The mission of local NSAI chapters is to meet fellow songwriters on a regular basis, receive and give feedback, participate in creative lessons and be a part of a community of songwriters. More than 130 chapters have been created across the U.S.

“This is something I wish I had growing up,” she said. “They teach you techniques that are useful.”

All ages and all genres of music are welcome at the meeting, from rap to country. Soules believes all different types can benefit from the program.

“If you have a passion for writing music or lyrics and don’t play an instrument, that’s fine,” she said. “Someone else may come that can play but doesn’t write. That’s great. We want you to come because we can marry the two together to collaborate. I’m seeking to help people learn the craft of writing through NSAI, because they have all the educational opportunities to help.”

Soules noted many opportunities for musicians in Northeast Mississippi, from songwriter nights to programs like “Local Licks” on Z98.5 FM radio. This is just another offering she hopes will bring people together for the good of music coming out of this area.

“Let’s grow something here,” she said. “There are so many aspects of music locally that we can really create our own Nashville here in Tupelo.”

The next NSAI local chapter meeting is Monday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Link Centre in Tupelo. It is free to attend. Additional meetings will be the second Monday of every month. All are welcome.

For more information, you can contact Mersaidee Soules’ page on Facebook. Twitter: @wderekrussell

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