Our Mentors

Get songwriting guidance and career advice from the best in the business

Achieve your dreams faster and easier with the help of a professional mentor

Whether you want to fast track your songwriting development, get personalised songwriting feedback and tips, or make the transition to having a professional career, having a mentor walk beside you every step of the way, with advice, encouragement, guidance and accountability is going to help make your dreams a reality faster and more efficiently than if you were trying to do it alone. 

Learn from some of the best in the business! Many of our mentors are published, award-winning songwriters and internationally recognised artists who are ready to help you to achieve your songwriting and career goals. Having spent decades refining their craft, they have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share. What might take you years to figure out on your own, you might figure out in a session or two with your mentor.

Mentorship is included in our Songwriting Course for Adults  and Kids  which is the perfect place to begin if you are just getting started on your songwriting journey and need more hands-on support to establish a firm foundation. It covers the basics of songwriting and everything you need to know to start writing your first songs. 

And for songwriters who dream of being artists, mentorship is available as part of Level Up Club . This professional development program will guide you through current and best practice for releasing your recorded songs, touring and more with high quality personalised education and mentorship from professional artists and industry professionals.

Fastrack your success with the guidance of a mentor

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Mentorship is available as part of our Songwriting Courses and Level Up Club

Read more about each of our mentors below and check out some of their songs and career highlights 

Francesca de Valence

Course Creator & Lead Mentor

Francesca de Valence is a multi-award-winning Australian songwriter, founder of I Heart Songwriting Club, and co-founder of Whitsundays Songwriter Festival. With a heroic song catalogue of over 700 songs, 2023 saw Francesca co-writing with USA superstar Toni Childs, Aussie Bull sisters, Vika and Linda, and EMI sweetheart Mark Sholtez, as well as many cuts. Bryce Sainty released their song “When You Walked Into The Room” garnering over 250,000 streams in its first 3 months of release. Australian songbird Mirusia recorded and performed their song “Raise a Glass” on her Netherlands tour 2023. And young queer neuro-divergent Victorian artist who had over 250,000 Spotify streams on her debut album, Kaiyah Mercedes, has just released their co-written single “How to Get Over You”.

With a background in tertiary, secondary and primary music education (M.Mus, B.Mus, B.Ed), Francesca has written a monthly column for Songwriting Magazine UK, produced a fortnightly ABC Radio songwriting segment and continues to facilitate songwriting workshops nationally and internationally for organisations and PROs including APRA AMCOS (Australia/New Zealand) & IMRO (Ireland). She also hosts the inspiring podcast “The Magic of Songwriting” with over 20,000 listeners.  Through her visionary work as founder of the online songwriting club – I Heart Songwriting Club – Francesca is revolutionising the songwriting space, helping birth 25,000 songs and changing the lives of thousands of songwriters worldwide.

Simon Shapiro

Songwriting Course Mentor

I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!

Simon Shapiro is a classic story telling and award winning singer-songwriter, though best known for his work in support of other artists, writing songs with and for established artists such as Darryl Braithwaite, 1927 and Shannon Noll.

As a musician, Simon has toured with international acts including Martika, Limahl, 1927, Belinda Carlisle and shared the stage with industry giants such as Simple Minds, Roxette and Michael McDonald. Specific to country music, Simon co-wrote the hit song ‘Beyond These City lights’ which Jayne Denham took to the top of the country charts in 2013.

‘City Talks’ from Simon’s first solo album won the Park Music Film Music festival Gold prize for soundtrack and was described by the American film music magazine as “the best power ballad that Ryan Adams didn’t perform”. ‘Lover Of Life’ , also from Simon’s first solo album, was a finalist in the Nashville Songwriters association awards in the country music category.

Simon has won the Australian Songwriters association songwriter of the year, APRA songwriters award at MusicOz and was bass player for iconic Aussie band 1927 for 10 years.

Helen Shanahan

Songwriting Course Mentor

Helen Shanahan is a folk singer/songwriter from Perth, Western Australia. Helen’s observations and introverted reflections of everyday situations are beautifully captured in her music, which can best be described as contemporary folk/pop with a strong acoustic feel. Helen graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) majoring in voice. Helen was signed to Mushroom Music Publishing in 2015.

Her debut album ‘Every Little Sting’ was released in May 2017, and was produced by Nashville producer Brad Jones (Missy Higgins, Bob Evans).  In 2018 Helen won the Western Australian Music Industry ‘Song of the Year’ award for her song ‘I Only Hide’.

2021 saw Helen learn the ropes of motherhood with her new daughter Bonnie, while singing backing vocals for international artist Tim Minchin and supporting Missy Higgins at the Fremantle Prison. Her sophomore album Canvas was released in 2022, described by Jeff Jenkins (STACK Magazine) as “poetic and damn near perfect”. 2023 saw Helen support the legendary Jackson Browne and homegrown legends The Waifs along with being nominated for WAM Folk act of the year. 2024 has seen Helen support Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil) and write for ARIA Award-winning artists Vika and Linda Bull.

Roz Pappalardo

Level Up Club Mentor

Roz Pappalardo is a force of nature. A distinctive and accomplished vocalist, songwriter, and creative producer, she is passionate about producing honest and compelling stories through music and theatre.  Her songwriting credits include solo albums, several records with folk act women in docs, and (more recently) a prolific duets collaboration with Anthony Dettori as part of the spacious, earthy alt-country duo Lontano.

She has also written and performed in a compelling array of musical theatre productions, has written songs for and directed major community arts projects like Soldiers Wife, Big Sky Girls and Songs of Murray Street. She has a day job as a cultural content programmer for major festivals and venues – for the last decade as Artistic Director of all of the arts and cultural venues in Cairns  Regional Council and currently Senior Producer, MONA (Museum of New and Old Art).  She wears many hats, and they all go very comfortably with cowboy boots.

Gretta Ziller

Level Up Club Mentor

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A critically acclaimed, classically trained artist, Gretta Ziller’s career to date has seen her accrue two Golden Guitar nominations, with her single 5,4,3,2,1 also currently sitting just shy of 500K individual streams on Spotify alone. Destined for a life in the creative arts, Ziller was able to whistle before she could talk, hailing as the token musician in a family of farmers and going on to take up the violin when she was just 3 years old. Picking up other instruments along the way, including the bagpipes, Ziller went on to complete a Bachelor of Music at Melbourne University, majoring in voice and starting her musical career as an opera singer and teaching the notoriously complex art that is the bagpipes.

Over the years, Ziller’s potent talents have garnered resounding praise with each new release, including two full length albums, an acoustic album and her debut EP which released back in 2014. Armed with a sharp self-awareness alongside her irresistible blend of modern Americana, blues and beyond, 2022 saw Ziller support Australian legends Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley for their Together Alone tour, a tour which remains one of her career highlights to date. But the talented Melbourne artist also continues to burgeon her own individual fanbase alongside her trademark sound, with the release of All These Walls set to stun both on and off the stage.

People are starting to take me seriously as an artist now. Doing this work has resulted in real momentum for my career and I love it. I am more confident than ever and I know that the music career that I dreamed of is really achievable for me now. 

Hannah Ana, Brisbane, Australia

My songwriting mentor always provides constructive feedback and knows how to support me in my weaknesses and highlights my strengths.

Liyah , Adelaide, Australia

The goal setting and accountability to taking action has had the biggest impact on my music business, and now, just 5 months into the program, I’ve actually released my debut single. This is my music dream and I’m now living it!

Jeremy Sullivan, Brisbane, Australia

I feel I have grown so much in confidence and in my songwriting ability due to the guidance from the course and my mentor.

Jo , Narooma, Australia

My mentor offered invaluable advice and guidance which empowered me to find the answers I need for myself.

Nuria, Hobart, Australia

The mentorship support I’ve received has taken me from being a dreamer to a doer.

Belinda Griffin, Cairns, Australia
My mentor’s feedback was detailed, caring, and supportive. This was targeted learning that I wasn’t able to find elsewhere.
Ella , Wollongong, Australia

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