It happens a good deal. An old friend of mine contacted me about helping her with a song written by her husband, who passed away some time ago. It is a "Military" type song, and while I have not heard it yet, I am sure it is a very special song. She wanted me to help her get it "out there" and while I will do what I can, the reality is that it is difficult to get any song "out there" in any fashion, particularly, one that is from a while back.


Last week, I posted five guidelines I share with people I work with about the demo (recording) process. For those of you interested, having children, relatives, friends, taking the plunge along the musical Yellow Brick Road, this might give you some things to think about.
Feel free to post comments or ask questions. I don't know it all, but I DO KNOW PEOPLE WHO DO!


It used to be that every writer would write songs, do rudimentary, work tapes, with an acoustic guitar, or piano, and be able to wander around the vaunted halls of publishing offices, playing either live, or their “tapes” (that’s how long ago that was), and artists, producers, or labels would hear the song, take in the studio, and BINGO, magic happened. HIT SONGS!!! Well, yes and no. In some cases, in the very early days, that happened.



In the current era of music, one of the most common events for performer and writer wanna be’s are OPEN STAGES, OPEN MICS, SONGWRITER’S NIGHTS OR SHOWCASES, as well as the dreaded AUDITION process, for everything from reality shows, contests, and the first and continuous steps of a performing music career. And you get ONE CHANCE TO MAKE A BAD FIRST IMPRESSION. So best to prepare. Just like a sports team getting ready to go out on the field, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

Networking in Nashville

So you get invited to a party in the music business, or a conference/workshop, a #1 party or other music industry function and you want to do the right things at these events, but what are they? Research the people that will be at the event in advance – if it is a #1 party, find out who are the writers and research the writers and publishers to learn a little about them in advance Arrive on time for the event – to make the most of the networking.

I’m in my eighteenth year of teaching BMI’s Nashville Songwriters’ Workshop. In those classes I’ve listened to 40 to 50 songs at least 10 times a year. I did some math: I’ve reviewed more than 8,000 songs—and that does not include the songs I critiqued in the master classes, song camps, and workshops I’ve taught throughout the world.


I continually talk about KEEPING IT REAL when it comes to approaching the music industry. Most people who come into this really have very little idea of what is achievable and what is improbable. And it is difficult to be encouraging, while at the same time warning people about jumping off cliffs due to overreaching expectations. But there are ways to be productive and move forward while being aware and cautious. Like everything, music has to be approached carefully and methodically, because it is going to TAKE A LONG TIME no matter what you do. It is designed that way.

Clay Mills

Throughout my 20 years as a professional songwriter, I’ve noticed there isn’t always a large difference in talent level among creative people. Why, then do some songwriters seem to have an over abundance of fans buying their music while others struggle to sell the first song? The answer is there is not a huge difference in skill most writers pocess, but there is a little. And that extra 5% makes a BIG difference. Skilled songwriters share some common mental habits. The good news is that these habits can be adopted through practice.

By Dave Isaacs

I walked into my first writers round on my very first trip to Nashville eighteen years ago. There were four songwriters on stage in a line, and everyone was playing and singing together. I loved the energy and the way everyone's participation lifted the song. I've been to a whole lot of songwriter nights since then, and seen a lot of magic moments like that. But if you play writers nights, you know that unless there's a band doing the round together you're generally going to hear one person play at a time.