Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more. He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.
There are a few very, very successful writers that make a killing, but most writers can’t feed their families on JUST songwriting. I know a lot of songwriters which are “slash” songwriters. They are songwriter/waiters. Songwriter/producers. Songwriter/demo singers. Songwriter/mentors. Songwriter/real estate agents. Certain exceptions are writers who are young, single, and can live on very little- thanks to sharing rent with roommates. Others have spouses with solid incomes. But the vast majority of songwriters just don’t maintain a strong income over a long period of time.
For example, I was blessed to have a hit with Alan Jackson. Then came marriage, and after Emily finished up school, we had two incomes. Then came our son, Ozark (yes, that really is his name). It is very important to both of us for Em stay home with Ozzy, so that certainly changed the math. We were blessed that Emily was able to take Oz to her job as a nanny for a while. Then that job ended for her not long after I left a publishing deal. And now we have a 2nd baby on the way, due in March of 2014.
A publishing draw does NOT pay enough to feed a family of four unless you’re willing to live in poverty. And while I’ve gotten cuts, cuts that aren’t singles are pretty much just for bragging rights. Therefore, I had to take a full-time job in the summer of 2013. I’m still in the game, writing with some major label artists, pitching songs, getting some cuts, etc. But it’s mostly nights and weekends right now. It definitely makes things more difficult, but it’s best for my family at the moment. We’ll see where God takes us.
If you’re preparing to make a run at a professional songwriting career, what is YOUR slash? Are there certain skills you can develop or a business you can grow which will give you both enough time and money to devote to your songwriting? It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth building something for the long haul.
What did I miss? Anything you’d like to add or ask? Leave a comment!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com