I’m always looking for new creative solutions to common songwriting problems for my clients. Sometimes this takes me pretty far outside my own experience and beyond songwriting resources to explore how other creative types deal with their particular road blocks.
One of my go-tos over the years has been Twyla Tharp, the famous American dancer and choreographer. Her book “The Creative Habit” is full of some useful info that easily translates for songwriters and artists.
“He got lucky. That will never happen again.” After celebrating my first number one song, “Beautiful Mess,” a friend of mine told me that a big successful songwriter spoke these words about me. I can’t blame him, he had been writing big songs for years and he’d seen a lot of young writers come and go. He understood that while it’s not easy to write a hit, it’s even more rare to write another one. If you don’t believe that, there are lots of examples of one hit wonders to back up his theory!
Here is a veteran songwriter Kurt Fortmeyer who was kind enough to sit with me and explain how songwriting really works in Nashville.
His story is of packing his things and coming to Nashville to write songs. Kurt has an earthy down home goodness to his soul.
Songwriter Colton Jones asks Music Row veteran Bobby Rymer, for some tips to help songwriters who want to make it their career.
This discussion is a wealth of information for the songwriter who wants to make it here in Nashville.
Barbara Cloyd is one of Nashville's treasures who runs the Bluebird Cafe.
Here is a lady who knows her business and is nice enough to pass on her experience.
Listen to this video and learn some tips and tricks to be professional when onstage.
I recently hosted one of my monthly BMI Nashville Songwriter Workshops where each of the fifty attendees had an opportunity to pitch one song to a successful publisher. As is typically the case at these workshops, with few exceptions, every song played was perfectly crafted. The writers have mastered the use of current song structures; the lyrics made sense and were well written; rhymes were where my ear expected them to be; and the melodies worked well with the chords—avoiding any dissonance. Yet the publisher took copies of only five songs—ten percent of those that were pitched.
Over the last decade of working with some of music’s top producers, recording artists, and songwriters, I started noticing similar personality traits and habits of these highly creative people. These professionals possessed a certain mindset that allowed them to perform at a high level and do it effortlessly. Their personal habits funneled their energy into a kind of creative vortex. I’ve listed 7 of these habits here. There are more, but these are the 7 that almost all of these pros had mastered.
Singer-songwriter Mike Cullison is used to hearing his work defined in painterly terms; music journalists commonly pull out such metaphors when trying to describe songs. But with his new album, The Barstool Monologues, it’s almost as if he’s working in the 3D style of sculptor J.