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Denny Burgess bio
Denny Burgess

Roxanne Kiely bio
Roxanne Kiely

President of The Songwriting Society Of Australia


I believe in music and I believe in people. These are the driving forces in my life. We can make a difference to the lives of others through the way we value them and through the music we make.


I'm a child of the world, a cosmopolitan in the truest sense. My Asian and celtic roots have informed a lot of my beliefs and perspectives about people and the world. The music that became embedded in me in my formative years was eclectic and multicultural.. My environment has included classical, early folk/pop like the Kingston Trio right through to Bee Gees, Stones, James Taylor, Carole King, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Roberta Flack, Petula Clark, Roachford and Van Morrison.


Songwriting Society of Australia logoAs President of the Songwriting Society of Australia (SSA) I have essentially taken on a mentoring role to help others fulfill their desire to write and perform their own songs for a range of purposes right through to those with professional aspirations. This work is a great joy and the passion of my life.


Out of my work with other organisations with similar missions and goals we together came to recognize the need to develop a common voice to support the many Australian songwriters who were largely frustrated by the lack of opportunities for writers of original songs.

As the Australian Songwriters Association (ASA) and Songsalive! helped strengthen our working relationship we approached APRA with our idea for an organisation to champion the cause of Australian Songwriters nationally and internationally. So after much collaborative work The Australian Songwriters Official National Group ( ASONG ) began with with significant support from APRA and our respective grassroots organisations. We believe we are helping begin a better future for Australian songwriters.


I was very much a child of the sixties and before, whose early life context accessed the music that was forming what we today call 'rock and roll', contemporary or modern music.

I arrived in Australia in 1964 the year the Beatles hit Australia and their music was a significant influence on me and the world and so began my love affair with music and music writing.

I Initially, I reworked the Beatles et. al. as the first steps as an emergent song writer, aged ten. More exploration till I finally wrote a song that I entered in the St Joseph's College songwriting contest gaining s highly commended from Col Joye in 1969. Next it was in a folk/pop group doing covers of Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers with classmates Simon Chan and Ken Sealy winning both the St Joseph's College Talent Quest in 1970 and the prestigious Sydney Catholic schools in 1971.

The Uni years involved exploring writing in the Blues genre and my first love ballad 'Girl In A Corner'. Upon graduation it was a mixture of rugby songs, covers, originals with 'Cruised Into Town' and lots of ABC books songs for my students.

Next I met Vee Mallard an exceptional songwriter, playwright and feminist who introduced me to the SSA in about 2000. This became the most productive writing time for me and really developed my skills and exposed me to lots of other singer songwriters and it is the path I'm still on and the song January Girl was a product of this fertile journey. I enter the sixth year of my Presidency of the SSA even more excited.

Finally I met Denny Burgess and Roxanne Kiely, my fellow Directors of ASONG about six years ago. We believed in the same stuff and work hard for singer-songwriters and together we are more than the some of our magnificent parts. We believe our dreams will come true. We are a team!

We believe that 2009 the year of ASONG's launch will bring many benefits to Australian songwriters as we lead the process of elevating the presence of Australian songwriters and original Australian songs nationally and internationally.

Future Vision

I want to continue to help my organisation the SSA help songwriters but as with my vocation as a school Principal I want to offer leadership with the other members of ASONG and APRA for building exciting pathways and opportunities for all Australian songwriters. We can do it and we are going to make many fantastic things happen for those in our care as songwriters.

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