These past few months, I've been aware of several friends of mine, finally making a very painful decision for them, and having to move BACK to their home towns after, in some cases, decades in Nashville.
The life of a Nashville songwriter is a glamorous parade of hit songs, money, No. 1 parties and awards shows ... or at least, so country music fans think. While those things can and do happen, the reality of the average songwriter's career in Music City is a much darker picture in 2016.
A lot of reasons people get hung up on lyrics is because they are trying too hard to make a "statement" in each line. The result is usually very poetic lines that really don't mean a lot past a few words strung together.
"I just want to write my songs" or "I just want to do what I do.." are some of the 'most often made" comments I hear from young and newer songwriters or artists that are trying to find their way into the music business. They just want to "be who they are" and be paid for it.
What a wonderful occupation songwriting is simply for the fact that you can't show anyone how to do it.
If I were manufacturing a car I could show you how it was done, but with songwriting there is no manual.
I’m in a continuous dialogue with writers and artists literally across the world in the importance of “building teams” in their approach to music. Too many feel that the industry, publisher, producers, labels, agents, managers, etc.
We see it all the time. Someone posts on Facebook or Social media the big news that they are “HEADED TO NASHVILLE” and very excited for their trip. And of course everyone wishes them luck, “Always Knew you’d make it” messages…” pretty much the same all the time. And it IS GREAT!
After passing the 55 year mark as an active songwriter who truly hasn't done anything else since i was 17, it really isn't about SONGWRITING anymore,.what comes out of me has morphed into a different art form rather then the usual crafted three minute song,..
I am involved with and go to a LOT of shows with newer or less experienced writers and artists, who get up on stage, ramble on insesstantly, never seem to make a point and their SONGS do the same thing. When you are PART OF A SHOW, you have to keep that in mind .
I talk a lot about different subjects here, but since I am getting to doing my workshops next week, thought I review my overall approach and let some people start thinking about it. As always, anything I write is meant to share and pass on. Some people cut and paste it and that is fine.
"Hey man, can I give you a CD?" is the cry from every new person (and quite a few old hands) coming to this and any other town where there are "outsiders" trying to approach "Insiders" (I use that term laughingly, but it is the perception), at any show, festival, interview, conversation, etc..
This is for the people who consider themselves primarily "writers' as opposed to "Artist/Writers." In other words, people who are writing for other people to do their songs. There was a time when this was very prevalent, there were “Songwriters” and then “Artists.
This is a companion piece to the one a bit ago on SONGWRITERS FESTIVALS. If you are a writer, artist, parent of those people or just someone interested in helping the arts, hate somethings about the current music scene or just want to be involved, this is FOR YOU. All else, skip away.
This is mostly for people trying to "find a way into" the music industry, to understand songwriting, to learn more about the craft, and all aspects of where we are in this era.
The Internet is FULL of writers and artists. Approximately ONE BILLION SONGS A MONTH go up on the Internet.
The word, "outlaw", pertains to someone who is "outside" the box of conventional "laws" when it comes to creating art, or "True Art as I like to call it.,, The problem with Laws of any kind when it comes to ART, Is that you can so easily create another box, and not see it..
Guitars, or any other instrument for that matter just don't bulldog their way into our lives; Musical instruments are the "PLAY HARD TO GET BABIES", of all time,..they defy being tamed,.they are obstinate, unwilling, unbending, and initially cold barren objects until they sense their practitioner
There are entrances into things,..secret passages that wind there way into simple mysteries,.pathways that can lead a man or woman in to inexplicable earthly freedoms,..for a musician there is only one way in to the throne room of the great abstract reality called God,..
There is a great secret among songwriters,.kind of like hyroglyphics inscribbed on walls of deep under water caverns,.. even the most pragmatic dictatorial anal- retentive formularistic hack songwriter will ascribe to what I'm going to say,..
For any musician, the HOLY GRAIL is THE NAMM SHOW. That is the Yearly new music merchandisers convention where EVERY NEW PRODUCT, GADGET, GUITAR, PA, KEYBOARD, LIGHTS, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, and ever major product is unveiled. There are two. One in Los Angeles, and one here in Nashville.
I talk here and on other forums about all things music, and questions always come up with people, "HOW DO I MAKE MONEY AT THIS?" Invariably, people want to know where is the money. In far too many things music, IT'S NOT THERE.
"Imagination running wild ever since I was a kid
I could tell you crazy stories about things I never did
Spinning tires, breathing fire, dancing on thin ice
You'd have thought I'd done it all and seen most places twice..."
When people enter the world of Nashville, and in fact pretty much all of music these days, particularly if you are trying to “up the level of your odds”, by expanding your chances, they find themselves in a co-writing session.
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.
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.
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 hea
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?
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.