Celebrating My Marvelous 2023

Another year has come and gone. Looking back, 2023 unfolded into a year packed with milestones and special memories. I’ve evolved as a songwriter, recording artist, author, and podcast host, and most of all, I’ve grown as a person along the way. Before I begin my 2024 chapter, I’m going to spotlight my highlights and proudest moments from 2023.

A Snapshot of My 2023

This year brought me unforgettable experiences in all areas of my creative life. Before I share my proudest moments from 2023, I wanted to give you a snapshot of my year.

As a songwriter, I attended music awards, did many interviews, hosted and produced radio shows, received airplay worldwide, played live, built relationships with others in the industry, and developed my artistry through writing, recording, and releasing new music.

In author land, I worked on my manuscripts, won my second NaNoWriMo, participated in writing conferences and courses, queried until I signed with my agent, made wonderful author friends, enhanced my editing skills through critiquing others’ work, and read outstanding books, since I believe reading is one of the best ways to improve as a writer.

Also, my adventures as a podcaster were highlights of the year. Along with Write on Track receiving a Josie Music Awards nomination, I reached 150 episodes, expanded my music industry network, grew as a host, and most of all, had incredible conversations with talented guests.

This is just a glimpse into my 2023, but since I write monthly wraps, all of my year’s highlights can be found on this page.

Now, I can’t wait to unveil my top moments from 2023.

Winning My First Music Award

On August 5, It Is What It Is won USA Female Album of the Year (Bronze) at the International Singer Songwriters Association (ISSA) Awards. Even though it’s been months since this special day, I still don’t have the words to express how much winning this award means to me. I’m forever grateful for this recognition and feel so lucky to have had the surreal experience of hearing my name called and accepting my first music award at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center in Atlanta. This moment was something I thought would only happen in my dreams, but the ISSA Awards made it a reality.

Demi Michelle is standing on the ISSA Awards red carpet with her crystal

Since my trip to Atlanta for the ISSA Awards was beyond perfect, I wrote all about it in this blog post, where I also shared lots of photos and videos. I can’t thank the International Singer Songwriters Association enough for creating such a wonderful community and presenting me with my first music award.

Signing With My Literary Agent

On November 10, I signed with my literary agent, Michelle Jackson at LCS Literary. After querying for nearly a year and four months and pitching three manuscripts, I finally got the offer of representation I had dreamed about for so long. Ever since I made the decision to pursue traditional publishing, I’ve had to overcome challenges, the querying process being number one on that list. Still, there are no words to express how I felt when Michelle told me she wanted to represent me and my stories. In hindsight, the struggles were worth it, since my perseverance led to this milestone. Now, I’m one step closer to becoming a published author.

Demi Michelle Schwartz Author Graphic
Young Adult Fantasy and Thriller Author
Represented by Michelle Jackson at LCS Literary

In the writing community, it’s tradition to share a How I Got My Agent blog post. Since I read a bunch of these while querying, it was surreal writing my own. I loved sharing my journey to literary representation, struggles and all. At the beginning of 2023, becoming agented seemed like a fantasy. It’s wild how so much can change in a year. I’m excited to see what’s next on my publishing adventure, knowing I’m represented by the best champion for my manuscripts.

Writing, Recording, and Releasing New Music

During 2023, I wrote some of my favorite songs, many of which I already recorded and others that I can’t wait to take to the studio next year. I feel like I’ve reached a point in my songwriting journey where I’m confident in who I am and what I want to say as an artist. This has made me beyond excited about everything I’ve been working on behind the scenes.

Also, nothing makes me feel more at home than studio days. My 2023 sessions at the Vault with my amazing producer brought me so much joy. I’m forever blessed that I get to create my music in such a wonderful place, and I’m looking forward to more studio days in 2024.

Demi Michelle and Bob McCutcheon at the Vault

Since my focus was on finishing my new album, I didn’t release much in 2023. Still, I’m proud of the three singles I shared with my Butterflies. One of the biggest challenges as an indie artist is dealing with the pressure of releasing consistently. It was important to me to drop new music, even though writing and recording took top priority this year. I’m so glad my new album is moving into the mixing stage because I can’t wait to shift my focus to releasing a ton of music in the new year.

Songwriting is truly a gift. Every day, I’m grateful for my craft and the comfort it brings me. Whether I’m pouring my emotions into a new song, having fun in the studio, or chatting about my latest release in an interview, songwriting continues to bring me special moments I’ll never take for granted. During 2023, I grew so much as a songwriter and recording artist, making me feel sure of myself and hopeful for the future. I’m looking forward to more musical magic next year.

Working on My Young Adult Manuscripts

This year, I dedicated so much time to my manuscripts. From January to October, I revised my Little Red Riding Hood reimagining, speculative thriller, and mystery. During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, I drafted a new contemporary fantasy. Finally, in December, I revised both of my fantasies. So, in short, I worked on my books every single month.

In 2023, I evolved so much as an author. Through working on my manuscripts consistently, embracing opportunities to learn more about the craft, and receiving feedback on my stories, I made my writing a top priority. I’ve always been a student at heart, so I never pass up chances to learn and grow. Reflecting on how far I’ve come since my first semester of my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University back in 2019, I feel beyond eager to see how I’ll continue to improve through my future experiences in the publishing world.

All of this being said, I’m already planning new projects. After I finished revisions this month, I spent the very end of 2023 working on two manuscript ideas. One is the locked room thriller I was originally going to draft for NaNoWriMo. After returning to my notes, I’ve decided to make it my first project of 2024. The other idea I started developing is a fantasy with an original magic system and mythology centered around music. I can’t wait to write this one too when the time comes.

So, all in all, 2023 was a wonderful year for my writing. From working on four manuscripts to developing ideas for two future projects, I’m proud of how much time and effort I dedicated to my author dream.

Being Added to My Middle School’s Wall of Fame

I’m going to wrap up with one of the most special experiences I’ve ever had in my life. After I won my music award, my seventh grade chorus teacher reached out about getting me featured in the Wall of Fame in my middle school. I was officially added right before Thanksgiving, and I got the opportunity to visit the school on December 18. Along with seeing myself in the Wall of Fame, I spent time with some of my teachers and the performing arts students. This unfolded into such a meaningful day I’ll never forget.

Demi Michelle by the Wall of Fame

I put together this blog post, sharing all the details about being added to the Wall of Fame and my visit to the middle school. After a year full of milestones and so many highlights, being added to the Wall of Fame really put into perspective for me how far I’ve come since I started chasing my dreams.

2023 was a year full of magic. Every single memory I made this year will always hold a special place in my heart. I’m glad I took the time to celebrate this year before flipping the page to 2024. Now, I’m ready to step into the new year as an award-winning songwriter, agented author, and dreamer, since if there’s one big takeaway from 2023, it’s that anything is possible.