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About Debra (lyrics): Though her career would lead Debra on a journey through television and the entertainment industry, her passion for music was always along for the ride.


Born and raised in New York, Debra graduated from Syracuse University, and enjoyed a successful career as a television producer on programs such as the Daytime Emmy Awards, Wolfgang Puck, Dr. Phil, Fox Sports News and ABC’s Wide World of Sports.


The compelling drama surrounding the ‘thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat,’ evoked a sense of storytelling in Debra, revealing a truth and authenticity that would later be infused into the vibrant scenarios of her songs.


While launching the National Geographic Channel, Debra’s colleague introduced her to multi-platinum lyricist, Marty Panzer (Barry Manilow, Kenny Rogers, Disney).  That life-changing moment unexpectedly launched her into the wide world of songwriting. 


After winning the Concord Records & Barry Manilow Songwriting Scholarship - four times, Debra took a sabbatical from her television career, and left the "Dr. Phil" show to focus on songwriting full time. She proceeded to win the Grand Prize and Lennon Award in the prestigious John Lennon Song Contest, and was commissioned by the Federal Trade Commission to co-write catchy commercial jingles for AnnualCreditReport.com, which won the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Public Service Announcement.  

From there, UCLA Extension commissioned her striking anthem, THIS IS OUR TIME, as their Official Graduation Song. The song received it's WORLD PREMIERE at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, performed by Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys).


TV placements soon followed as Debra's songs have recently been featured in the CW Network's primetime show 90210, NBC's primetime drama THE EVENT, E! Entertainment's KOURTNEY & KIM TAKE NEW YORK, the SPEED Network's NASCAR RACE HUB, and the UK's IT'S ONLY THE BEGINNING.  


In addition to co-writing songs with actor/composer Don Grady (My Three Sons, Disney) for his BOOMER: JazRokPop EP, Debra's lyrics have illuminated the lights of Off-Broadway in the short musical, THE DEPENDENTS.


She is currently the lyricist of TURMOIL! A New Musical, and continues to make her mark writing songs with command and vision for the pop, dance, country and Hot AC markets.


To contact Debra, please visit her website:  debragussin.com




About Rik (melody): Rik was an English major at Queens College in NY, while performing in several Beatlesque bands during the week and playing with New York’s top event bands on the weekends. After graduation, Rik used his knowledge of music and language to capture a thought and create a mood in 30 or 60 seconds, writing and singing jingles for television and radio.


Some notable projects were for Nissan, Avon, Miller Beer, Foster Farms, Three Musketeers, and Coca-Cola. Although he was enjoying some success with these musical advertising endeavors, he relocated to Los Angeles to work with one of his previous songwriting partners Bob Wirth.


While you might remember some of the above mentioned jingles, Rik is probably most known for the theme he co-wrote with Bob and sang to NBC’s series Silver Spoons starring Ricky Schroeder. This led to scores and themes for many other series including Punky Brewster, Jack Klugman and John Stamos series You, Again? and Matthew Perry’s first sitcom Second Chance.


Rik, and co-writer Debra Gussin, are honored and proud to win Songdoor's prestigious Grand Award!  Previously, they won the Grand Prize and Lennon Award in the John Lennon Song Contest (country category). Rik continues to perform weekly at various events throughout the Southland.

To contact Rik, please visit his website:  rikhowardmusic.com



Congratulations to Debra and Rik, and to all of the great Category Winners ...

see you in April for the SongDoor 2013 competition!


Access to your free SongU.com all-access trial and free songwriting
software will be
emailed to all entrants by Friday.


Debra Gussin & Rik Howard

California, USA


Is That You?(see more below)




Debra Gussin and Rik Howard

Is That You?

(California, USA)



Jamie Nattier and Bob Bishop

Love Grows Wild Out Here

(Illinois, USA)



Chee Yih Lee

Memories of Life

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)



Justina Shandler

If You Ever Miss Me

(Virginia, USA)



Nick Roy

Great Ole Tree

(California, USA)



Debra Gussin and Stacy Hogan

Do U Miss The Heat?

(California / Tennessee, USA)


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Honorable Mentions

The 2012 SongDoor Winners!