I just wanted to give you an update on my song, “When Your Lips Are So Close,” cut by Canadian artist, Gord Bamford. Since it was released as the lead-off single from Gord’s “Country Junkie” album in September 2013, it’s had a great run. It hit #1 in November of 2013, has been certified as a gold single, and was nominated for two Canadian Country Music (CCMA) Awards for Single Of The Year and Songwriters Of The Year. While it didn’t win Songwriters Of The Year, it DID win Single Of The Year at last night’s CCMA Awards! Congrats and thanks to Gord and Byron Hill, our cowriter and the coproducer on the project!
With the win last night, I thought I’d re-post this Cut Study for the song. Enjoy!
I’m blessed to have written Gord Bamford’s new single, “When Your Lips Are So Close.” Gord is a hit artist on Sony Canada who is nominated for seven Canadian Country Music Awards. If all goes according to plan, he’s going to debut our song on the 2013 CCMAs. Today, I’d like to briefly discuss how I got the song cut and what you can learn from it.
I networked my way to the artist.
I started writing with hit songwriter, Byron Hill, back in 2004. It wasn’t until later that Byron became Gord’s producer. Because Byron and I had written several good songs together and he trusted my skill and work ethic, he felt comfortable bringing me into a cowrite with him and Gord.
I asked for the cowrite.
Byron and I are buddies, but he and Gord had a good thing going before bringing me in. I already knew Byron pretty well, but I still used a patient approach to getting in the room. It took months, but that’s okay. You want to be persistent, but you don’t want to push too hard and make your contact uncomfortable. You don’t want to lose the contact.
I did my research.
When Byron said he’d hook up a cowrite with him and Gord, I got copies of all of Gord’s records. I listened and wrapped my head around Gord’s brand- what he likes to sing about and his lyrical “voice.” I also talked to Byron about what works well for Gord.
I did my pre-writing.
I started an idea called “On My Best Days” and tailored it for Gord. Gord and Byron liked the idea and the sketch I brought in, and we finished it. It was an album cut on Gord’s album, “Is It Friday Yet?”
I didn’t get lazy.
Even though they cut the only song we’d written, I didn’t assume they’d call me up when Gord was writing for his next record. Every once in a while, I mentioned to Byron how much I’d love to get back with Gord when he was in town to write. After several months (and a couple of cancelled trips), we were back on the books.
I did more research and pre-writing.
I didn’t assume that Gord wanted or needed more of the same. I asked Byron what they wanted for Gord’s next album. Based on what Byron told me, I spent a few hours on my own looking through my ideas and adapting a few for Gord. I ran them by Byron, and he liked two of them, “When Your Lips Are So Close” and “Nights Like You.”
I focused on the artist’s needs.
Byron and I originally thought “Nights Like You” would be a midtempo, but Gord liked it as a ballad- he thought it would really connect well with his audience. Well, he’s the successful artist, and nobody knows his fans like he does, so I’m not going to argue with that. (He cut that song, as well.) We also worked to make sure “When Your Lips Are So Close” fit where Gord wanted to go and sat really well in his voice. Thankfully, it worked out.
So, three cowrites with the artist and producer, and three cuts and one single- I’ll take it! (I wish all my other artist cowrites worked out this well.) So, here’s what I learned from this experience:
Use patience and persistence in your networking. Do your research on the artist. Pre-write. Don’t get lazy. Focus on the artist’s needs. Of course, there are never any guarantees in the music business, but I believe this process gives you a better chance of success. Good luck!
Thank you so much, Byron Hill and Gord Bamford, for writing with me and doing such a great job on our songs! I’m honored to be a small part of your success!
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