Dennis Welch, a songwriter based in Austin, Texas has written more than 500 songs. His focus these days is not on performing but on getting his songs recorded by other artists and writing with other talented songwriters. Along those lines, he has recently had two of his songs used as album title tracks: “Why Not Me” by Tony Mantor and “Worth My Time” by Erica Nicole. His latest collection of songs, What Love Makes Us Do, is due out in September.
It’s clear that songwriting was something that came naturally to Dennis, despite not initially being able to accompany himself. “I always loved music, but growing up, I didn’t play an instrument of any kind. When I wrote my first song I actually wrote it a cappella. I was like I don’t even know what this is that I’ve done. I was just driving home from a date, and I heard this song and I started singing it. When I got home I wrote it down.” A coworker helped him flesh out the song and suggested he get a cheap guitar and get started learning to play for himself.
Another milestone in Dennis’s songwriting career came out of a misguided attempt to go big on a rock tour in the 1990s. After only three weeks on the road, he realized it wasn’t the kind of musical life he wanted to lead. He was fortunate to be working with a compassionate and wise manager at the time. “He said, ‘Well, sometimes the ladder of success is against the wrong wall. So why don’t you just come home’…I came home and he met me, and he said, ‘Look, whatever you do, please don’t stop writing. You’re a tremendous writer and I hope you continue to do that…” Dennis clearly took that advice to heart.
After releasing a few commercially-oriented albums after that, the now 65-year-old spent about 20 years writing without recording much of his output. It wasn’t until less than two years ago that he began putting his songs out again. “I feel like I’ve plugged into 220 and all the lights have come on … It’s great to be doing what I think is my best work.”
By Dan Walsh