Co-writing: The art of sharing your heart felt ideas with another person and trusting the two of you will create songwriting magic. This can be tremendously rewarding and often frustrating. But there are some guidelines to make this experience more often than not a great one.
By Gary Burr Songwriting Master Class • August 19, 2016
Writing a song is an amazing and mystical process. It's also roll-up-your-sleeves hard work and involves a great deal of headache-inducing staring at a blank page (or a computer screen for you "kids").
1) Verb tenses changing or going back and forth in a weird way. This is one of the mistakes I see most often when critiquing song lyrics. Switching between past, present and future can really mess your lyric up if you are not super clear about what is going on.
Throughout my 20 years as a professional songwriter, I’ve noticed there is not always a large difference in talent level among most creative people. Why, then do some songwriters seem to have an over abundance of fans buying their music and other writers struggle to sell the first song?
The landscape of the music industry, though constantly changing, remains steady on several key ingredients that consistently produce the songs we hear every day. Reversing the steps from songwriting to radio-ready, one element we tend to see commonly is the collaboration of several songwriters.
I’ve been asked several times about my experiences in Nashville. So, from the prospective of a fledgling songwriter, who lives 2500 miles from Nashville, and who tries to make the trek a couple of times a year, here’s what I discovered.
When you come to Nashville, if you want to make connections in the music industry, don’t go around handing out CDs of your music to anyone who will take one. It will make you look like an amateur and you won’t be taken seriously.
Seeking out criticism of your songs can feel like asking someone to trample on your dreams. Like, “Hey there, here’s something I put my entire heart and soul into. I’d love for you to tear it apart for me!”
Songwriting is such a tricky and elusive art to pursue and sharpen. It's an individual process, and there's no right or wrong way to write. Oftentimes, songwriters will find a process or writing style that works for them and stick to it.
As a songwriter, Leon's songs have hit the charts across all genres and have been covered by a diverse range of artists. Ray Charles recorded 'A Song For You', B.B. King had a hit with 'Hummingbird', The Carpenters with 'Superstar' and Joe Cocker with 'Delta Lady'.
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.
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.
Here is the amazing Dwayna Litz singing " I Forgive You" off her new CD .
Dwayna sent me her new CD to review the music and let her know what I thought.
below is the review. You will see that I liked it quite a bit. This is a great collection of songs well worth the listening.
Each fall Nashville Ear awards the Best of the Best honor to the songwriter that we feel stood out with exceptional songwriting and performances. Please join us in congratulating this years award winner Kurt Fortmeyer for the year 2014.
Learning how to finger pick your songs adds a depth and quality that cannot be achieved with a flat pick.
I am not sure if you songwriters know about James Taylor's guitar lessons. They are all free
.He shows how he finger picks all his favorite songs.
Here is veteran songwriter Barbara Cloyd from the Bluebird explaining how the "business side" of songwriting works. She is just full of good information and suggestions for the starting writer as well as good things to check for the veteran songwriter.
Writing songs is an art that must be learned. There are several constants in writing that will help in the successful completion of a good song. Jerry Cupit is a veteran Nashville songwriter who has written a great book on songwriting.
Here are some tips from a veteran songwriter/host on how to conduct yourself and what is important when trying to get your songs heard in Nashville.
Barbara Cloyd gives tips for playing open mics and writers' nights in Nashville, TN.
Bellamy Baylor was singing up a storm at the Pavilion Coffee House last night while another storm was raging outside. Bellamy was in rare form performing her passionate vocal arrangements of her original songs. Here is one song I have heard her do before.
Here is one of the finest blues guitarist I have run across in my travels. Bex Marshall has a firecracker personality that is blowing up in every town she plays . From London to Russia and back through Brazil and all over the USA is a normal year of gigs for Bex.
We had several really talented singer/songwriter ladies put together a show called "Girls with Guitars".
Lee Anna Culp played a set of her original songs for us.
She has a wonderful voice singing her well written songs.
Lee Anna is joy to watch. This is a set of 15 min.
I originally met Crystal at Richards Cafe. Besides being a very pretty lady with a firecracker personality she has some special vocal talents that need to be addressed. The first time I saw her play some of her original songs I was amazed.
Here is Lisa Sanders who was in Nashville while recording a new CD. She was nice enough to grace us with her presence and music. She has been writing for many years and spends her time touring between New York and San Diego playing shows along the way.