Sooner or later, all of us will try our hand at some songwriting. I actually believe we ALL have songs within us that are just waiting to come out, and whether you are an extremely disciplined “tunesmith” with a well-honed songwriting craft, or you are just a beginner stumbling upon song ideas right and left, sooner or later, you’d like these tunes to be heard!
And what I mean by heard is not just in front of an audience, but getting them to other artists who may possibly want to record them on their own projects, in addition to folks who may need material for commercials, jingles or even movie soundtracks!
It’s a very exciting prospect, the thought of your music being heard and recorded by others, and you’ll be surprised at how receptive outside parties can be. I know myself for example, that even though I am a person who steadfastly writes his own material, I am incredibly open to new songs and ideas that others may have, and have many times wanted to record great songs written by others who have not had them recorded yet. Perhaps this comes from the fact that I am an artist who also loves to do my own versions, or “covers” of other well-known tunes, but I am still just as willing to listen to new creations as well!
In places like Nashville, “Music City” itself, there is a more shall we say, “structured” approach to the presentation of songs to artists. There is an entire network of artists, managers, agents and publishers ready to listen, and they are always looking…Country music is famous for being very “songwriter driven”, and artists are always searching for that next big hit, as well as songs they can relate to for themselves. It’s amazing to think of how many tunes so seemed to be truly “of that artist”, but weren’t even written by them. That’s when you know it was a good song “find” for them, and that they chose wisely. I guess the key is to really be persistent, and if you get enough songs “placed”, you may be able to hook up with a big publisher who will keep sending you requests for your songs by artists just hungry for new material!
Regardless of all the ins and outs of the business, which we will also get into in more depth in future blogs, the most important aspect of this is fine-tuning your songwriting skills. It’s important to be the best you can be, and always stay true to your style. Sure, it’s a great exercise to write “for” someone, imagining if the song were for say, George Jones or Dolly Parton or B.B. King, but that is a “skill within a skill” and you never want to become a “copycat” writer, who thinks that as long as you write something similar to what an artist has already done, you’ll be successful! This happens way too often in the business in general, and it’ll always keep you one step behind everyone! So, stay original, hone your skills, and keep your ears open to what sounds good to you
when it comes to song ideas! More on this in future installments!