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.
What’s the story of the first song you ever wrote?
Did a light come on, telling you, “This is what I do!” Or did the songwriting bug slowly creep up on you? Did you ever play it for anyone? What do you feel about that song as you look back on it now?
Here’s my story:
It was Christmas of 1994. I was back home in Batesville from college at Arkansas State. It was my sophomore year. My buddy, Tim Meitzen, had gotten a guitar for his birthday, and he was starting to play and sing. He was still back in high school, but we knew each other and were friends from church.
Me, I had been writing poetry since my senior year in high school. Bad poetry, mostly venting about unrequited crushes, etc. I had also been writing short stories- mostly superhero adventure stuff. It was an outlet, and fun, but I didn’t consider myself a “writer” really. Or at least, I didn’t know what to do with it.
Anyway, Tim and I got together over Christmas, hanging out at his house. He had started songwriting a little bit. I showed him a “poem” I had written called, “Waiting On Wings.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but the structure of the poem was just like the structure of a song- it had verses and a repeating chorus.
Tim liked it, and he stole the melody off something else he had been working on and applied it to my poem… which was now a lyric. It was a ballad about a girl named Julie who had always been waiting on her wings. “Julie’s just an angel who is waiting on her wings – waiting for her chance to soar above all earthly things.” Each verse told a different story from her life, and (you guessed it) ended with her old, dying, and waiting on Heaven.
Sad, sweet, ballad… does that sound like your first song?
Tim put that melody on my words, and I was hooked. It was such a great feeling to have my words sung back to me! My short stories were in a notebook at home. My poems were in a notebook at home. But this SONG… this song was being sung out into the world! Tim could play it around the campfire with our buddies- which was way cooler than me reciting a poem to a bunch of 18 year old guys out in a field at 2 in the morning.
It wasn’t a very good song. It was okay, but miles away from anything professional level. Of course, we didn’t know that- we thought it was great!
After that night, I still wrote a poem or two, but I mainly wrote song lyrics. I was hooked on hooks… and I still am.
What about you? I’d love to hear your story!
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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter
Brent Baxter Music: http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com
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