Original song opens doors for CSULB graduate student

When Cal State Long Beach graduate student Amy Gordon wrote an original song about new opportunities she didn’t expect the lyrics to apply to her after becoming a finalist in the 2012 SongDoor International Songwriting Competition.

“I wasn’t expecting anything, so I was really excited,” Gordon said.

Gordon was one of the five finalists in the pop music category of the competition for her song “One Door Opens (Another One Closes).” Her music composition professor Martin Herman said that Gordon, who arranges, composes and performs her own music, is a gifted and multitalented composer and musician.

“I offered input, but it really came from her,” Herman said of Gordon’s song. “She is the creative force behind it.”

Herman said that the competition, which was created in 2006, is highly reputable among songwriters. According to Herman, there are three rounds in the competition and there are six categories: Christian, country, instrumental, pop, rock/alternative and soft rock.

“I think it is terrific because songwriters don’t get enough recognition,” chair of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Carolyn Bremmer said via email. “This shows her diversity as a composer.”

Herman said that the first round is a basic screening round, which is followed by a second round that narrows the competition down to five finalists in each of the six categories. Winners from each category are then chosen.

“She made a tremendous cut,” Herman said. “It speaks to the quality of the students we get in the program.”

Gordon’s song speaks to her generation, reminding others that lost opportunities leave room for new chances. Her lyrics include somber lines like “Remember the first job that you loved so much, and then you were let go,” that are backed up by reassuring affirmations like “You don’t know what’s in store for you.”

Her theatrical composition supports the storytelling by providing energy-filled hooks and rolling tempos for the lyrics to sit on.

“She is really multitalented on so many levels,” Herman said. “I know she will really go places.”

As a finalist, Gordon said she received a subscription to the SongDoor website that provides her with tools like expert feedback, courses and other additional resources for songwriters. She said that the competition was a validation of her music skills.

“I was very flattered,” Gordon said. “It was just a nice push to continue doing what I’m doing.”

Gordon’s music can be heard on her Soundcloud account here.

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