Six Things I Had To Do Before I Played the Grand Ole Opry

A few years back, I had a career moment when I was invited to perform a song I’d co-written on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. While, of course, I want to believe the song, “The Snow and Three Thousand Miles,” that I co-wrote with the evening’s performer, Mindy Smith, was well-written, it occurred
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What Making It in the Music Business Looks Like

Having written hundreds of songs over fifteen years before one of my songs was recorded by an artist on a major label, I had a lot of time to think about what “making it” in the music business meant to me. Looking back now, it’s easier to appreciate that even though the outside world couldn’t
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Why Songwriters Should Diversify

Looking back on twenty-five years as a songwriter, I’ve come to realize that a big part of the reason I’ve been able to do it for so long has as much to do with my ability to diversify my musical pursuits as it does with my songwriting ability. Another way to put this is that
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Five Things I’ve Learned About Songwriting from the Masters

One of the more daunting things I’ve come to realize in my years of writing songs is that when it comes to getting cuts, you’re not only competing against all the songs being written currently but also against every song that’s ever been written. Fortunately, to balance that out, we also have the opportunity to
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Three Situations Where Songwriters Should Think Twice

The blessing – and curse – of pursuing success as a songwriter is that songwriting success often represents the equivalent of a dream come true. While it’s wonderful that as songwriter’s we’re pursuing our dreams, the danger is that we’re often susceptible to less-than-well-intentioned people hoping to take advantage of our somewhat blind enthusiasm and
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A Primer on Tension and Release in Your Songwriting

Tension and release in songwriting uses the same mechanics as good joke telling. The way you let your story – in your song or joke – unfold is what sets the table for a satisfying hook/punchline. The difference is that songs not only have words to do this but also a melody. When lyric and
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Should Songwriters Put Their Songs Out There?

One of the questions I get most from beginning songwriters is whether there’s any risk or problem with getting their songs out there on social media, streaming services, websites or any other ways that songs can be heard by (hopefully) large numbers of people. It’s an interesting concern to me because, in my experience, the
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A Few Tips on Writing Lyrics to An Existing Melody

More often than not, songs seem to come together as a gradual and simultaneous creation of lyric and melody. Maybe a snippet of melody has been running around in your head with a bit of lyric attached. Or maybe you’ve got a title or hook idea that has a bit of melody to go with
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A Discussion About Co-Writing Percentages

In songwriting, as in any creative endeavor, there’s a delicate balance between art and commerce.  While writing songs is, at its core, an act of artistic expression, it also marks the creation of what attorneys refer to as “intellectual property.” So, given that there is property ownership involved, the questions on the table are how
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What You Can-and Can’t-Do with Your Finished Song Demo

Running a recording studio for the past two decades, I’ve recorded songwriting demos for GRAMMY-winning songwriters, major music publishers all the way down to first-time songwriters. One of the things I’ve noticed is that for newer songwriters there’s often confusion about what a demo can be used for. Strictly speaking, your professional song demo is
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