Steve Seskin

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Steve Seskin
Born (1952-03-31) March 31, 1952 (age 72)
OriginThe Bronx, New York City
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
Years active1971 – present
LabelsSony Records

Steve Seskin is an American singer, songwriter, and musician whose songs have been recorded by recording artists Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Tim McGraw, Collin Raye, and Mark Wills among others. The debut single from McGraw's Set This Circus Down, "Grown Men Don't Cry", was nominated for a 2002 Grammy award and also garnered the No. 1 position on the Billboard Country Single Chart in June 2001.[1] Seskin also is known for performing at schools in support of the Operation Respect/Don't Laugh at Me project,[2][3] named after "Don't Laugh at Me," a song he wrote with Allen Shamblin that was recorded by Mark Wills[4] and Peter, Paul and Mary, among others.

Seskin splits his time between touring, Nashville and Northern California.

Early life[edit]

Steve Seskin was born (March 31, 1952) in The Bronx, New York to parents Zelda (née Wein) and Irving Seskin. Seskin began playing guitar at 14 years old and started writing songs shortly after. He moved to San Francisco in 1971 and began his music career as a street performer progressing to festivals and clubs. There he met Ellen Seskin. They were married in 1981 and have one son, David.

After opening a concert for Crystal Gayle, she suggested that Seskin should go to Nashville to pursue songwriting, which he did.[5] During his first visit there in 1985, Seskin began with only one appointment with an ASCAP executive who subsequently arranged Seskin's appointments with several publishers.

Music career[edit]

Selected discography[edit]

Artist Song Title Credit Year
Reba McEntire Cactus in a Coffee Can Composer 2019
Crystal Bowersox Alive Composer 2017
Seth Glier Like I Do Composer 2017
Marie Osmond Music is Medicine Composer 2016
Seth Glier Electricity Composer 2015
Tom Beck (actor) Go My Way Composer 2012
Trent Jeffcoat Hero to Someone Composer 2010
Tracy Lawrence I'm Done Composer 2009
Kathy Mattea Right Out of Nowhere Composer 2005
Peter, Paul and Mary Don't Laugh at Me Composer 2005
Eidolon Live to Dance Composer 2004
Brian McComas I'll Always Be There For You Composer 2003
John Michael Montgomery Pictures Composer 2002
J. Michael Harter Hard Call to Make Composer 2002
Georgia Middleman No Place Like Home Composer 2001
Jerry Jeff Walker Every Drop of Water Composer 2001
Tim McGraw Grown Men Don't Cry Composer 2001
Johnsmith God Knows Why Composer 2000
Penny Framstad People with My Last Name Composer 2000
Toby Keith New Orleans composer 2000
Jerry Kilgore Cactus in a Coffee Can Composer 1999
The Oak Ridge Boys New Orleans Composer 1999
Olivia Newton-John Attention Composer 1998
Maria Sangiolo Something Real Composer 1998
The Wilkinsons Then There's You Composer 1998
Mark Wills Don't Laugh at Me Composer 1998
Jeff Wood Use Mine Composer 1997
Sid Spencer If You've Got Love Composer 1996
Paul Jefferson I'm Here Composer 1996
Ricochet (band) Daddy's Money composer 1996
Wilcox and Pardoe I Think About You composer 1995
Kenny Chesney All I Need to Know Composer 1995
Dennis Warner Skippin' Stones Composer 1995
Woody Lee I Like the Sound of That Composer 1995
Collin Raye I Think About You Composer 1995
John Michael Montgomery No Man's Land Composer 1995
Ricky Skaggs Every Drop of Water Composer 1995
Neal McCoy For a Change Composer 1995
John Michael Montgomery If You've Got Love Composer 1994
Neal McCoy No Doubt About It Composer 1994
Tim McGraw Welcome to the Club Composer 1993
Pam Tillis We've Tried Everything Else Composer 1992
John Michael Montgomery Life's a Dance Composer 1992
Darryl & Don Ellis It's Bigger Than the Both of Us Composer 1992
Neal McCoy Where Do Daddies Go? composer 1992
Karen Tobin Wedding Bed Composer 1991
Dr. Elmo Wedding Bed Composer 1991
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band You Made Life Good Again Composer 1991
Delbert McClinton That's the Way I Feel Composer 1990
Waylon Jennings Wrong Composer 1990
The Marcy Brothers You're Not Even Crying Composer 1989
Moe Bandy A Long Way From Lonely Composer 1989
Alabama She Can Composer 1989

Grown Men Don't Cry[edit]

"Grown Men Don't Cry", written by Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin was recorded by American country music artist Tim McGraw. It was released in April 2001 as the first single from McGraw's 2001 album Set This Circus Down. The song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart and peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100

"Grown Men Don't Cry" debuted at number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the chart week of March 24, 2001.

Chart (2001) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 25

Don't Laugh at Me[edit]

"Don't Laugh at Me", written by Allen Shamblin and Steve Seskin, was recorded by American country music artist Mark Wills. It was released in July 1998 as the second single from album Wish You Were Here. "Don't Laugh at Me" was a number 2 hit on the Billboard country charts. The song received Country Music Association nominations for Country Music Association's Single, Song and Video of the Year in 1998.

"Don't Laugh at Me" debuted at number 69 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of July 18, 1998. The song peaked at number 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart on October 10, 1998.

Chart (1998) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[8] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 73
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[10] 2


  • Sing My Song Book & CD - A Kid's Guide to Songwriting - 2008[11]
  • A Chance to Shine Book & CD - 2006[12]
  • Don't Laugh at Me Book & CD - 2002[13]
  • Songwriting and the Guitar - 2000[14]


Seskin teaches songwriting workshops throughout the U.S. as well as teaching songwriting courses at San Francisco State University, The Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting School and The Rocky Mountain Folk Festival. He has played an active role as a songwriting teacher and mentor at West Coast Songwriters Association since 1988 and Nashville Songwriters Association International since 1995.[15][16][17]

Operation Respect Don't Laugh at Me[edit]

Seskin is the co-writer of “Don’t Laugh At Me”, the song that was the impetus for the Operation Respect program and organization, co-founded by Peter Yarrow.[18]

Operation Respect, a non-profit education and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the social and emotional growth of children and youth, was founded in 1999 by Peter Yarrow of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, and Dr. Charlotte Frank. Operation Respect was first inspired by a moment between father and daughter (Bethany Yarrow), a singer and activist who told her dad that he had to hear a song called Don’t Laugh at Me. She believed that it was exactly the kind of movement creating music Peter, Paul and Mary stood for. Written by Steve Seskin, now an Operation Respect Board Member, and Allen Shamblin, the lyrics of Don’t Laugh at Me is Operation Respect's theme song and classroom-based curricula. Since its inception, their speakers and performers have addressed over 500,000 educators, educational leaders, parents, students, policy makers and community members throughout the world.

Kids Write Songs[edit]

Seskin is the founder of Kids Write Songs, a songwriting workshop teaching creative expression to children of all ages as well as teaching them to create their own songs that address issues that affect bullying, respect, peer pressure, diversity, and self-esteem. Workshops consist of 3 to 4 sessions with about 30 students each session.[19]

The Parkland Project – Wake Up America[edit]

The Parkland Project, a youth-inspired songwriting initiative, released original songs at the National Association for Music Education National Conference. The tracks tell of the surviving students’ deep trauma from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day, Feb 14, 2018 and reflect a commitment to the student-led movements dedicated to stopping the killing of their classmates and peers, and the passing of gun laws to do so.

Written and composed by the students of Parkland, Florida, with the guidance of noted songwriters such as Steve Seskin and Peter Yarrow and music producers affiliated with Operation Respect, the album, Wake Up, America, its title track, followed by compositions, Song for the Silenced, Transparent, Valentine’s Day, Change the Ref, We Got the Power, Armor Off, Watering Can Full of Tears, The Children Will Lead the Way, and We Need was released. Proceeds from the songs benefit Shine MSD and Change the Ref, Parkland-based organizations providing art-based trauma informed therapy and advocates of gun-violence prevention.[20][21]



  1. ^ [1] Billboard Country Song Chart for 16, June 2005]
  2. ^ "Broadway World interviews Steve Seskin and Seth Glier at Kerville Folk Festival". Broadway World – By Kathy Strain. June 3, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "Creating Compassionate, Safe, Respectful Environments - Operation Respect". Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Singer-songwriter Steve Seskin's recipe for compassion". Radiance Magazine – By Toby Bielawski. 1999. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  5. ^ "Nashville Comes to Pacifica With Songs in the Round". Pacifica Tribune Mercury News – By Toby Bielawski. January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2020.
  6. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 7026." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 26, 1998. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "Mark Wills Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Mark Wills Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Sing My Song - A Kid's Guide to Songwriting". Amazon.
  12. ^ Seskin, Steve; Shamblin, Allen (2006). A Chance to Shine. Tricycle Press. ISBN 1582461678.
  13. ^ "Don't Laugh at Me Book & CD". Publishers Weekly -.
  14. ^ Songwriting and the Guitar. Hal Leonard Corporation. 2000. ISBN 9781890490287.
  15. ^ "Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriting School - Steve Seskin". –.
  16. ^ "Country Music Hall of Fame - Songwriter Session - Steve Seskin". –.
  17. ^ "Bluebird Café Nashville - Writers Night with Special Guest Steve Seskin – Hosted By Steve Goodie". –.
  18. ^ "Steve Seskin". Operation Respect -.
  19. ^ "Songwriter Steve Seskin Inspires Students to Write Songs About Respect - Park Record - By Scott Iwasaki". September 12, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  20. ^ "PARKLAND STUDENTS RELEASE WAKE UP, AMERICA - Operation Respect". WRCB TV – By. November 11, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  21. ^ "The Parkland Project Wake Up America - Operation Respect". PR Distribution– By. November 11, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2020.

External links[edit]