The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriting Intensive

2024 Songwriters

Jonah Broscow

Jonah is from Oakland, CA and is currently a freshman at Indiana University where he is planning to build his own major around musical theatre composition. He discovered his passion for songwriting during his sophomore year of high school and graduated from the songwriting program at Interlochen Arts Academy in 2022. He is also a performer and has performed in the Broadway National Tour of Pippin and the world premiere of The Man In The Ceiling (Bay Street Theater)Besides writing and performing, he loves playing tennis, watching Reality TV, and making kale smoothies. He is honored to be a part of this Intensive, and can’t wait to work with the incredibly talented students and faculty.

Paola Cruz

Paola Cruz is a Honduran-Salvadoran American singer/songwriter from Charlotte, NC.  She received her BA in Sociology, Anthropology, and Spanish at Wofford College and is currently pursuing her MM in Music Composition and Songwriting at New York University. During her undergraduate career, Paola worked on an ethnographic project as International Presidential Scholar, a scholarship awarded by the President of Wofford College to one student per year who demonstrates “global intellectual curiosity.” Paola travelled to Honduras in January 2023 for her project. She interwove her passion for songwriting and her interest in qualitative research and ethnographic writing by writing a series of songs about her family’s intergenerational trauma, presenting themes of self reflection, pain, love, and forgiveness. She is part of NYU’s first mariachi band, Las Violetas, and is currently in a performance residency with the Civilian Hotel in Manhattan, where she performs her original work and contemporary covers with her own twist.

Peyton Herzog

Peyton Herzog is ecstatic and grateful to spend a part of his summer at the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriting Intensive! He is a Mexican-American Actor/Singer-Songwriter who grew up in San Jose, California. He graduated from Texas State’s BFA Musical Theatre Program in May 2023. He has been writing an original musical alongside Eden Witvoet, another participant of JMF’s Songwriting Intensive, for three years and hopes to share it with the world sometime soon. His specialties lie in lyric composition as well as melodic structure of pop-based musical theatre. When not creating, you can find him running through Central Park blasting bops from the Early 2000s, which is his favorite genre of music. @peyton.herzog

Dewey Huang

Zhengchun ‘Dewey’ Huang (@deweytruhart) is a Chinese singer-songwriter-producer with a unique journey. Transitioning from Economics & Statistics, he is now pursuing an MM in Music Composition and Songwriting at New York University. Honing his craft under the mentorship of renowned songwriter-producers Phil Galdston and Barry Eastmond, he has been recognized as one of the few first-year students receiving a Scholar Award from the Songwriting Hall of Fame. Ever since his dual-degree undergraduate program at the University of Birmingham and Jinan University, Dewey has been developing comprehensive songwriting skills through tons of projects. His original work has been featured in the University of Birmingham’s Lunar New Year Festival (‘Jasmine,’ 2022) and in the final of the Songwriting Contest held by Southern Metropolis Daily, a major newspaper in China (‘Pomelo,’ 2021). He received the 2021 All-University Star of Art Award and secured 3rd place in the final ranking. Before moving to New York, Dewey chose to take a gap year studying at Beijing Contemporary Music Academy to attain a certificate in Jazz Studies. He studied jazz harmony and arranging with Dr. Chang Su, China’s first DMA in Jazz Studies (University of Northern Colorado). With six years of production experience, Dewey specializes in R&B, neo-soul, funk, and jazz-hip-hop. He is a proficient guitarist, vocalist, and arranger.

Chloe Meinershagen

Chloe Meinershagen is currently a Junior pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre at Texas State University. Chloe grew up surrounded by a family of musicians, playing the piano and violin from a young age. Chloe began loving theatre and attended an Arts Magnet High School, picking up the guitar along the way. In 2021, Chloe was named a Silver Finalist for the National Young Arts Musical Theatre Competition and wrote a song for the program. Since then, Chloe has loved songwriting and co-founded a Singer Songwriter Club at Texas State University for theatre students to share their music. Chloe loves performing theatre and has been in many plays and musicals at TXST.

Makena Metz

Makena Metz is an LA native who writes for the page, screen, and stage. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from Chapman University. Makena is a proud member of The Dramatist Guild, ASCAP, Women in Animation, Maestra Music, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists. Recently, Makena was selected for the Paramount/MTV Entertainment Group First Time Composers Program and participated in RespectAbility’s Virtual Entertainment Lab as a TV Writing Fellow. Last year, Makena’s songs premiered in the Emmy winning show Hamster & Gretel on Disney Channel and on Disney+. Makena is an alum of Sam Carner’s Musical Creators Institute Program and New Musical Inc’s CORE Curriculum for Musical Theatre Writing. Find her work on Coverfly, New Play Exchange, or Chillsubs and follow her @makenametz on social media, and check out

Nina Osso

Nina Osso is a musical theatre writer and performer from northern New Jersey. She’ll graduate from Boston Conservatory at Berklee in May with a BFA in musical theatre, songwriting concentration. Previous musicals for which Nina has done book, music, and lyrics include “AMERICAN SIREN” (previously known as “SIREN”), which received a full production through Boston Conservatory’s student programming in April 2022 and was an O’Neill NMTC semifinalist the same year; “A Love Story (With Supernatural Roadblocks)”, which appeared in the Emerging Artists Theatre’s New Works Series in 2019; and “Monster”, which was set to appear in the New York Theater Festival in 2020. She recently hosted “The Songs of Nina Osso” at 54 Below. She is a moderator of Maestra Music’s Student Maestra group, as well as a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. 

Bryce Palmer

Bryce Palmer is a bookwriter, composer, and lyricist originally from Chicago. He holds a BA in Theatre from Vanderbilt University and a BM in Music (Voice) from Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. He is currently a student in NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program and a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Composer/Lyricist Workshop.

Alyssa Payne

Alyssa Payne is a singer, dancer, actress, and lyricist/composer from Atlanta, Georgia. Her musical compositions are a joyous celebration of the human experience, painted with melodies that range from whimsical to soul-stirring. She has performed her original music at 54 Below, Don’t Tell Mama, The Ivy Room, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Boston. She is a part of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop and is currently working as Shaina Taub’s assistant on Suffs. She gives all thanks to God, friends, and family for pushing her to be where she is today. @alyssathepayne

Eden Witvoet

Eden Witvoet is thrilled to have been chosen for the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriting Intensive! A recent graduate of the Texas State BFA musical theatre program, Eden is a performing artist, musician, and songwriter, currently living in New York City. As a writer, she is a piano-based composer of both pop and musical theatre songs. Her debut singer/songwriter EP “The Piano by the Window” was released in April 2022, and can be streamed wherever you listen to music! Later that year, she completed her first full length musical project in collaboration with another member of this year’s JMF Songwriting Intensive, Peyton Herzog. To learn more about Eden, you can visit her website:

Back to Songwriting Intensive